New York Jets 2021 Season Recapby Ryan Moran January 14, 2022 0 comments
The New York Jets rung in a new era in 2021. In the first year of the new program, many challenges inevitably took place. The team finished the season with a 4-13 record. This was the 11th year in a row that the Jets missed the playoffs. However, the youth movement that occurred this year brought some excitement. The team played hard until the end of the season. It leads to optimism for the team heading into next season.
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What Went Right
The Jets had the youngest roster in the NFL in 2021. Many of these young players played well. The Jets 2021 draft class looks like the best they have had in a while. It was led by Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore, and Michael Carter. All four of these players brought excitement. The Jets had three young cornerbacks show promise in Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, and Carter. The offensive line this season improved drastically. Along with Vera-Tucker, George Fant, Morgan Moses, Connor McGovern, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif all gave solid contributions.
What Went Wrong
The defense the Jets fielded this year was the worst in the NFL. They had an awful four-game stretch in the middle of the season. Their talented front underwhelmed both stopping the run and getting after the quarterback. The youth the team had was also going to make this season a long one. There were some low moments for both the inexperience amongst the coaching staff and younger players. Lastly, the Jets had another year filled with a ton of injuries.
Team Award Winners
MVP – George Fant
In his second year with the Jets, Fant played incredible football. After signing a three-year deal in free agency of 2020, expectations for Fant were unknown. This year, he essentially played all of his snaps at left tackle. He played exceptional ball. In pass protection, he was amongst the best left tackles in the league all year. His athleticism fits the zone running scheme offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur designs. When Fant was out with injury, his presence was clearly missed. He gave Wilson a reliable blind slide blocker. Fant was the best player on the Jets in 2021.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Alijah Vera-Tucker
The Jets made a great move in trading up to secure their long-term left guard in Vera-Tucker. He was billed as one of the safest players in the draft and got off to a stellar start. His athleticism and strength give him the ability he needs to be special. He made his impact felt in the running game all year. Vera-Tucker also had some moments of dominance as a pass blocker. His first year was a great success with the Jets. He is one of the core pieces to the future.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Michael Carter II
Carter was a day three selection for the Jets who started from the jump. He played in the slot and contributed throughout the season. His start to the year was a fast one. He made plays in both coverage and run support. Throughout the season, he was a reliable asset to the Jets defense, one that had a forgettable year. Carter helped bring credibility to a group of Jets cornerbacks most doubted entering the season. Going forward, Carter should be expected to start in the slot and keep improving.
Biggest Surprise – Bryce Hall
When the Jets drafted Hall in the fifth round of the 2020 draft there were many unknowns. He was a talented prospect with potential but was coming off a tough injury. When he got healthy late in the 2020 season, he showed some promise. That being said, there were still questions entering this year. With all of the Jets’ youth and inexperience at the position coming into the season he was undoubtedly going to be the number one cornerback. Throughout the season, he was consistently good in coverage on the outside. He recorded an impressive 16 pass deflections. Hall proved he can be one of the Jets outside cornerbacks moving forward.
Biggest Disappointment – Jarrad Davis
Davis was the first player signed by the Jets in free agency. The team had concerns about the linebacker position and were counting on him. When he was on the field, he struggled to make a positive impact. The run defense struggled a ton when Davis was on the field. Overall, he did not make many good plays to help the defense. Davis will not be back with the Jets.
One Burning Question
What will be added to help Zach Wilson?
Wilson had an encouraging first season. LaFleur had a strong second half to the season and helped Wilson grow. The skill talent is solid in Carter, Moore, and Corey Davis. A capable backup to Carter, another starting wide receiver, and two tight ends will have to be acquired to the skill group. On the offensive line, Fant and Mekhi Becton will likely be the two starting tackles. Vera-Tucker and McGovern can be relied on. At right guard though, an addition is likely going to be needed. The future of Duvernay-Tardif is unknown. This position could be addressed through free agency or the draft. Adding this talent around Wilson will help him make the year two jump.
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