2013 has come and gone and now it’s time to take a look back at one of the Dolphins biggest rivals.
We sat with Fred Katz of Cover 32 New York to ask him a couple of questions about the “annoying” New York Jets.
1) Who was the one person this year that had the most positive impact on your team’s final season record?
Muhammad Wilkerson. The Jets finished third in defending the run this season and most of that had to do with the play of the defensive line. It wasn’t just Wilkerson, who helped the Jets to a 3.4 yards per carry against average, best in the NFL. Sheldon Richardson might be the favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year and looks like he’s going to be a stud for years to come. Damon Harrison and Kenrick Ellis provided the Jets with one of the best defensive tackle combinations in the league. But Wilkerson was the rock. He is the best run stopper on the team. He racked up a team-leading 10.5 sacks on the year. ProFootballFocus ranks him as one of the 10 best 3-4 defensive ends out there. And at age 24, Wilkerson is only getting better.
2) Who is the most overrated player on your team and why?
Santonio Holmes. Holmes doesn’t run routes when he doesn’t think he’ll get the ball, his mind is generally absent from the game, his physical skills have been eroding for three years, and his constant locker room demeanor doesn’t show that he is anything other than a low-quality teammate. At this point, Holmes doesn’t bring any positives to the Jets, which is exactly why we almost definitely won’t be seeing him in green next season.
3) What is your overall feeling on the job done by your team’s entire coaching staff?
Incredibly positive. This team had the talent of a five- or six-win squad, but somehow managed to win eight. Granted, there was some luck involved (thank LaVonte David and Chris Jones for that), but still, eight wins was relatively shocking. Rex Ryan’s players clearly love him, and as a defensive coach, there isn’t anyone better. The problems come on offense, but that’s the area of the game in which the Jets have almost no above-average personnel. If the front office can actually put some talent on the offensive side of the ball, Rex Ryan and his coaching staff will only look that much better.
4) Which side of the ball do you think made the most progress as a unit in 2013?
Defense. Clearly. Sure, there were plenty of flaws in the Jets’ D this year. The secondary with Antonio Cromartie, Ed Reed, and Dee Milliner was woeful. Dawan Landry didn’t make it much better. The team couldn’t cover tight ends effectively. The linebackers were average at best in coverage. But the front seven was so tremendous against the run, that we got to see a potentially bright future for the Jets defense. Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Damon Harrison, and Sheldon Richardson are all 25 or younger. In that sense, the future looks good.
5) Who does your team need to draft in order to improve in 2014?
Someone on offense. Anyone on offense. Ultimately, the Jets need a skill-position player. Picking at 18, they probably won’t have a shot at any of the top-four quarterbacks, who will almost surely be off the board by then. That means focus might shift over to the receiver position, where the Jets are desperate for some more talent. Clemson’s Sammy Watkins is an option. So is Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, a big, strong receiver with tremendous pass-catching hands in traffic. The Jets have gone with defense in the first round of every draft since 2009. The trend is probably going to end in 2014.