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Statement Win Needed
Good morning ☀️
Just a few more hours and then the weekend is upon us. My weekend will consist of Christmas shopping, painting the house and watching sport, sport and then some more sport. England has their World Cup Quarter Final on Saturday and then the Jets are scheduled to beat the Bills on Sunday. This weekend will either be a cause for celebration or a big letdown, let’s hope it’s the latter.
Usually, on a Friday, I’ll concentrate on the game preview, but we’ve already done that for the Bills this year, so I want to use today’s newsletter to put down a few thoughts on a few topics concerning the Jets, call it a Friday ramble.
DJ Reed, George Fant and Corey Davis all returned to practise today after missing Wednesday’s session through illness. Micheal Clemons however was not at practise. Matt Milano has missed two practices this week and if he can’t play, that would be a huge loss for the Bills.
Garrett Wilson has won the rookie of the week award for the 4th time this season. I've lost count of how many rookies of the week awards the Jets have won in total, but it's a lot.
According to Conor Hughes of SNY, Max Mitchell was placed on the non-football injury list because doctors found blood clots. It's not thought to be a long-term career-threatening injury and Max is in good spirits. We'll see how this progresses but wishing Max the very best.
The Jets were having some fun yesterday as Elijah Moore joined the media scrum to ask Mike White a question at his press conference. Moore asked him what he thought about the receiver room and White then progressed to talk about everyone but Moore, before throwing him a bone at the end. The locker room atmosphere, at least my perception of it, is night and day now White is the QB.
Statement win needed
You don’t have to go back too far to find the last Jets victory in Buffalo, back in 2019 the Jets came away from Orchard Park with a 13-6 victory over Matt Barkley and the Bills. Beating Josh Allen in his home stadium will be significantly tougher, but then the Jets are significantly better than they were three years ago.
In some ways, the Jets have already exceeded expectations for the 2022 season. Vegas had the Jets over/under at 5.5 wins, and here we are sitting pretty with 7 wins with 5 games remaining. But as so often happens, expectations have shifted for this young Jets team and if they want to meet those new expectations, a win in Buffalo is key.
If the Jets can have the Bills another loss on Sunday, that will bring them to within one game of the AFC East lead, regardless of what happens in the Dolphins/Chargers game. With the Lions and Jaguars next up on the slate, that’s a good position to be in. If the Jets hope to record a win they’re going to need a complementary performance from all three units, with the defense having to repeat its performance against Josh Allen from earlier in the year.
Here is the DVOA comparison for the two teams heading into this weekend’s game:
Overall: Bills (1st), Jets (9th)
Offense: Bills (4th), Jets (19th)
Defense: Bills (4th), Jets (5th)
Special Teams: Bills (3rd), Jets (14th)
One common question I get asked is what position of need is a priority this off-season and my instant reaction is to say safety and linebacker. This seems strange considering our defense is a dominant unit and our offense is lagging behind.
Kwon Alexader is set to be a free agent and he’s going to earn more than his $1.2 million contract he signed with the Jets, he hasn’t been outstanding but he’s been a key part of the Jet’s defensive resurgence. Will the Jets be able to bring him back? I’m sure they could if they really wanted to, even with the cap situation that we outlined earlier this week.
Not only is Kwon a free agent, but Quincy Williams will also be hitting free agency and he’s certainly going to get a bump in his salary considering he was on the books in 2022 at a shade over $800k. 63 tackles, 10 pressures, 2 sacks, 6 tackles for a loss and 5 QB hits will pop that price up. I think the Jets will do everything they can to bring Quincy back, but we have to be aware there’s a world where we may get outbid.
The Jets did take two linebackers in 2021 in Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasrildeen but we simply haven’t seen enough to project whether they could fill in. Both players have combined for 10 total defensive snaps in 2022, Hamsah having spent most of the season on the practice squad. The same can be said for Chazz Surratt who is also on the practice squad.
Dane Brugler over at The Athletic released his first mock draft last week and he had the Jets taking Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson #22 overall and I’d be all for that considering his athletic ability. Drew Sanders at Arkansas is another name to watch, as is Noah Sewell from Oregon, Jack Campbell from Iowa and DeMarvion Overshown at Texas.
Continuing the thought from above, did you know that Lamarcus Joyner is 6th overall in pro-bowl voting for the free safety position? I don’t tend to pay a massive amount to the voting, but that surprised me a little bit.
I filtered safeties by all those who had played at least 200 snaps, and the 69.2% completion that Joyner has allowed into his coverage ranks him 35th in the league. He has 3 touchdowns allowed with only 7 safeties in the NFL having allowed more, but he does have 3 interceptions, again only 7 safeties have more in the NFL.
I don’t think Joyner has been that bad this year but he’s been responsible for some big plays and he sticks out because of how good the rest of the secondary is. We need to remember that this is his first season playing free safety since 2018, and I’d say he’s not done too bad considering.
Joyner earned $2.6 million this year and is set to hit free agency next year, depending on the cost I could see the Jets bringing him back, I know people won’t like that but that’s just my read on it. If they don’t re-sign him then they’ll have some options in free agency. Obviously, the salary cap is tight, but I think there are ways Joe Douglas can open some things up.
Jordan Poyer in Buffalo is set to be a free agent, as is Jimmie Ward in San Francisco and Adrian Amos in Green Bay. If not in free agency then the draft has a couple of interesting options, Kelee Ringo may be playing corner for Georgia but I personally think he’d made an excellent free safety.
Recently I’ve been thinking about how incredibly lucky we are to have a guard of Nate’s quality on the books for $2.4 million. His play is comparable to that of Laken Tomlinson who’s counting $5.3 million against the cap this year and $17.3 million against the cap next year (he could be in line for a restructure to bring that down).
Herbig has allowed just 8 pressures and 0 sacks across 291 pass-blocking snaps and his pass-blocking efficiency of 98.6 surpasses that of Laken Tomlinson (97.5) and Alijah Vera-Tucker (96.8). There’s a reason why I say he’d be one of my first calls this off-season in terms of a re-signing.
It’s likely that George Fant is gone and there is a big mystery over the availability of Max Mitchell at the moment, until we know more we have to consider that he may not be available next season. We do know it's blood clots, but I don't believe we have a timetable. In that case, would re-signing Nate and pushing AVT to right tackle make the most sense? Probably.
I’ve tried to take a look at his perceived market value and Spotrac has Evan Brown’s perceived value at 3 years and $27 million, I think he’s a good comparison for Nate, which gives you a little idea of what it’s going to take to get a deal done.
“If you find me a better gunner, I’d like to see it.” - Those were the words of special teams coordinator Brant Boyer yesterday as he spoke about Justin Hardee, and it’s hard to disagree. Hardee is double-teamed on almost every play, yet still arrives at the returner before anyone else. Only Jeremy Reaves in the NFL has more than his 12 special teams tackles and although I can’t seem to find a statistical website that measures it, I’d bet nobody forces more fair catches than Hardee either.
Hardee didn’t have the best first year in New York as he was called for 5 penalties, more than one of those was absolute BS, but there you go. This year as special teams captain, Hardee has taken his play to another level and when teams decide to double him, it leaves someone else open, which tends to be Jamien Sherwood or Ashtyn Davis. Both of them have played well on specials all year.
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