Jets: Two Players that Need to Step Up in 2016
The 2015 NFL season was very successful one for rookie HC Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. The duo earned their salary to say the least, coaching last years Jets team to a 4th overall ranked defense which included being 13th against the pass & 2nd versus the run respectively. Forming one of the toughest & most physical defenses bi-weekly.
While those numbers were very fortunate, there’s always room for improvement in the NFL.
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan made sure of that come draft time acquiring young LBs in Darron Lee & Jordan Jenkins alongside CB Juston Burris out of North Carolina State. Giving the Jets coaching staff a surplus of young talent to make this defense both faster and more instinctive.
Besides losing former Pro-bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie who struggled mightily at times in 2015 along with their star nose tackle in Damon Harrison, the Jets defense led by HC Todd Bowles & Kacy Rodgers have the vast majority of their core back for 2016. With the young talent acquired to hopefully invigorate an aging linebacker film room, Todd Bowles has a lot of his defense hindering on the #2 CB spot this coming season. Cornerbacks Darryl “Buster” Skrine & Marcus Williams have to bring their A-game weekly for the Jets to improve on the team numbers mentioned above or to even stay the same. With an NFL schedule that ranks 7th in difficulty, Todd Bowles and Kacy Rodgers will have their hands full against the AFC East, AFC North & NFC West. With Buster Skrine spending over 90% of his snaps in 2015 from the slot, how will he fair against #2 WRs such as Michael Floyd, Danny Amendola, and Mike Wallace etc.? With advanced stats grading Skrine 94th out of 111 eligible CBs some may think the odds are highly against him, but a lot of his value can only be seen by having witnessed him for 16-games.
Insert third year undrafted CB Marcus Williams out of North Dakota State, who has made a respectable name for himself but is still very underrated defensive back in the NFL and even the most avid football fan. Playing a total of 285 snaps all season resulting in 27% of the team’s snaps, Williams made the most of his opportunities. According to ESPN analyst Rich Cimini, Marcus Williams forced an interception every “47.5” snaps. Resulting in a team high 6-interceptions putting the term “ballhawk” to good use. While Todd Bowles recently stated that Skrine would get the first nod to start in the Jets base 3-4 defenses, Williams should push for quality playtime when the Jets go to nickel. Either way you look at it these two young CBs will be an important part of Kacy Rodgers & Todd Bowles heavy blitzing scheme. The coaching staff needs these two guys to round out their defense a take the pressure off the younger guys in the front seven. This defense can be as good as they want to be, they’re savvy enough to understand that just showing up on Sunday with high profile players isn’t good enough and that they have to perform. Look for the #2 CB position to be a major focal point to the New York Jets success or failure in 2016.