The New York Jets went through a lot during the 2007-2008 NFL Season. Pressed with high expectations following a strong 10-6 season that gave the Jets an unexpected playoff berth in 2006, the New York Jets took a big step backwards for a number of different reasons.
The Jets biggest problem in 2007 was their lack of offensive efficiency. They were 26th in offensive yardage, and they only scored 16.8 points per game. They had a 38% conversion rate on 3rd downs and gained a meager 4.7 yards per play.
Their defense wasn’t terrible impressive either, giving up 331 yards per game along with 22 points.
Thus, the Jets have to address both sides of the ball in a grave matter this off-season, but fortunately for them, I have all the answers.
Obviously, the offensive line severely underperformed in 2007. Their young offensive lineman, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, took a severe step back in his performance at the left tackle position. More importantly, the loss of Pete Kendall due to a rivaling feud between him and the coaching staff left the Jets with an extremely inexperienced line that had no real anchor anywhere in the lineup. It was the run game that was most hurt by this. Newly acquired running back Thomas Jones, who the Jets had high hopes for, only averaged 3.6 yards per carry on 310 rushing attempts. That was abysmal to say the least and it really makes you wonder if trading for Jones instead of bolstering the offensive line was the right move.
Nonetheless, the Jets must move forward, and there are a few options at offensive line that the can consider picking up in free agency. Ruben Brown, the aging offensive guard, can still be a force, especially on a lackluster line like the ones the New York Jets have. Then there is also Alan Faneca who could also serve as the veteran leader and anchor the Jets’ offensive line in 2008.
Where the Jets hurt themselves most on defense was in the running game. They finished 29th against the run, giving up 130.6 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. And despite the fact that they did not give up a lot of big plays on the ground, 24.8% of the first downs the allowed came at the expense of the Jets rush defense. That was the second highest rate in the NFL.
Clearly, this was the result of a team showing the signs of not truly being a 3-4 defense in terms of the personnel they had on the roster. The Jets just need to decide what type of defense they are going to be. It appears as if Eric Mangini is prepared to switch back to the 4-3 with his pursuit of Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator. Hiring him alone won’t get it done. The team needs to restack at defensive tackle and outside linebacker to make Ryan’s defense work in 2008.