2022 New York Jets regular season in-depth preview: offense by position group

Ryan Moran
Connor McGovern, jets
Aug 14, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) takes a snap from offensive guard Connor McGovern (60) during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

One of the main reasons why New York Jets fans are excited for the 2022 season is because of the offense.

For years, there was a lack of significant investments into the offensive side of the football for the Jets. It led to poor talent across the board and, most years, a unit that was a tough watch. Finally, though, the offense looks to be turning the corner.

It starts with the commendable job that Joe Douglas has done over the last three offseasons. It has been a gradual build. Now, finally, with time to invest, this group has quality and exciting starting talent at virtually every position.

Young, second-year play-caller Mike LaFleur is one of the key reasons Jets fans are optimistic. Following some adversity to start his first year as an offensive coordinator, LaFleur did a more than commendable job throughout most of the second half of 2021. It leads to hope that he can continue to accentuate this offense with more talent.

LaFleur runs a popular, modern-day scheme. It is predicated on running the football in an outside-zone scheme and getting play action going off of it. He utilizes pre-snap motioning and creates opportunities for skill position players in space, making life easier on the quarterback.

Quarterback:

The Jets’ three quarterbacks are the same from the end of last year. Second-year quarterback, Zach Wilson, 15-year veteran Joe Flacco, and fourth-year Jet Mike White give the Jets a solid group of single-callers to feel good about throughout 2022.

Obviously, the headliner of not just this position but the football team is Wilson. The 23-year-old is talented with both his arm and athletic ability. Wilson has a quick release, accuracy, a strong arm, mobility, and the ability to throw on the move. He now has a much improved supporting cast on the line and outside, all while being in year two of the system.

Wilson needs to just provide consistency and minimize mistakes. If he does, opportunities for him to create big plays, his best strength, will come. Roughly 3,500 yards passing, 25 touchdowns through the air, and most importantly, improvement in the win column having the Jets near .500 will indicate development from Wilson.

Having Flacco’s wealth of experience as a backup should only help Wilson. Flacco still has a strong arm and can command the offense in however many games he may be needed to start in. Lastly, with some of the promising glimpses White showed last year, he is undoubtedly a good third quarterback to have.

Running Back:

The Jets enter 2022 with just three running backs. It is highlighted by an exciting, young one-two punch in rookie Breece Hall and Michael Carter in his second year. The two complement one another perfectly with their size and running style while both being natural pass-catchers out of the backfield. Hall and Carter will likely take 90% of the reps, if not more. This group rounds out with some veteran experience in speedster, Ty Johnson.

Starting with Hall, the 21-year-old rookie is destined to give the Jets immediate production. His skill set is fairly complete. Hall has an excellent combination of size and speed. He fits the wide-zone running scheme with his patience, vision, and one-cut ability. Hall is explosive and a generational athlete. As mentioned, he is a natural receiver. In year one, Hall should average 15 touches a week. Expect Hall to conclude 2022 with 1,200 total yards from scrimmage.

Carter should only build on a promising start from last year. He is built lower to the ground. Carter uses it to his advantage with his exceptional contact balance. To boot, Carter is a quick, shifty runner who can elude defenders in space. Anticipate a consistent amount of chances in the passing game week in and week out. Carter will get 12 touches per game and should eclipse 1,000 scrimmage yards in his second year.

Johnson gives depth here. He now has a year of experience in LaFleur’s scheme. His speed and experience give him value to provide for the youth of this group.

Wide Receiver:

The Jets have a talented and explosive group of wide receivers going into 2022. It starts with recent top draft picks, 4.3 speedsters Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson. This year should just be the start of what can be a long-term dynamic duo between Moore and Wilson. From there, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios are the experienced veterans this young group needs. Both will have pivotal roles. The wide receiver position rounds out with Jeff Smith and Denzel Mims.

Moore is primed to have a big 2022 for the Jets. He will likely lead the passing game in targets this year. The 22-year-old has great speed, route running ability, reliable hands, and what it takes to generate big plays. In year two, Moore should have 1,000 receiving yards and be one of, if not the Jets’ best player.

The 10th overall selection, Wilson, is going to have an impactful first year with the Jets. Wilson has speed, athletic ability, and elite body control. He offers contested catch ability over the middle, outside the numbers, and a presence in the red zone. Wilson is a complete receiver with big-play threat ability.

Davis is the bigger possession receiver this group needs. Expect him to consistently make his presence felt on the intermediate level for this passing game. Davis had a strong camp this summer and seems primed to bounce back and be a reliable contributor for the Jets in his second year with the team.

Berrios is now in year four with the Jets. He will have a key role as a returner, in the slot, and as a gadget player. Berrios has speed, quickness, and the ability to be dynamic after the catch. He is a solid asset to this group and will have his opportunities week to week.

In Smith and Mims comes some speed to complete this position as backups. Smith is the fifth receiver and can help on special teams. Mims has size and potential but once again looks to have a minimal role offensively.

Tight End:

Arguably the most improved position on the Jets. This is a unit that is entirely revamped compared to a year ago. Tyler Conklin and CJ Uzomah were both signed in free agency to lead this group. Expect a good chunk of two tight ends with the two on first and second down. Both players are capable blockers. Then, in the draft, Jeremy Ruckert was added. This position rounds out with a prime athlete for the position in former wide receiver, Lawrence Cager.

Out of this rebuilt group, Conklin will likely be the catalyst in the passing game. He is a terrific route runner with sure hands. Conklin will provide reliability underneath and over the middle for this offense. With a continued increase in targets, anticipate a possible breakout from Conklin.

Similar to Hall and Carter at running back, Conklin and Uzomah do balance things out with their skill sets at tight end. Uzomah provides more size and speed. He can stretch the defense vertically down the seam. He offers great play strength and ability with the ball after the catch.

Ruckert is a young and tough player. Particularly, his role early on should come as a cross-sifter on some inside zone runs. He plays with great effort and has upside with his size, speed, and hands as a receiver.

Cager’s athleticism is the perfect complement to provide depth to this talented group. He can certainly help this position with his ability in space.

Offensive Line:

The unit Douglas has bolstered with premium additions since 2020. This starting five for the Jets looks to be the best in quite a while. Duane Brown, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and George Fant provide the Jets with a more than capable front. The depth of the interior is strong with Nate Herbig and Dan Feeney. At tackle, the backups are intriguing rookie Max Mitchell and fourth-year Jet, Conor McDermott.

Starting at tackle, the availability of Brown and Fant will be paramount for the passing game. The three interior players should give this running game a boost. Tomlinson will provide a huge upgrade. In his second year, the immensely talented Vera-Tucker should make a jump. In a contract year, McGovern should build on what was a solid 2021. Lastly, across this front is some quality athleticism.

Final Takeaways:

This offense has the talent and, at most positions, depth to get through the season. The thrilling skill talent takes the attention of this unit. If the offensive line stays healthy, the group should be successful.

The play from the quarterback position will, of course play a key role in how things go.

In terms of depth, the lone concern is at offensive tackle.

By the end of 2022, the Jets should have an offense that attained some success. This unit should absolutely rank inside the top 20 of the NFL. This offense should be a fun one to watch this year.