New York Jets: Sam Darnold, receivers will finally be together

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

 

Sam Darnold hasn’t played in a single game this season with all of the Jets’ top targets. Before the season, in free agency and the draft, the team made considerable strides to add to their receiving corps with the additions of Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims. These two players, along with Jamison Crowder, have all shown playmaking ability on the field. Now, they’ll finally get to pair their skills, on the field, with Darnold.

The New York Jets will be playing the Miami Dolphins tomorrow, still looking for their first win of the season. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco predicts that they will get their first, beating Miami 26-23. That would be a huge feat, on a few levels. Firstly, it would be the first win of their season, as already stated and known. Second, Darnold needs to show that he can still be a winning quarterback in the NFL, either with the Jets or another franchise. Lastly, if Darnold stays, building continuity with the receivers, who have been playing pretty well despite the losses without him, is key.

Sam Darnold last played against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8, missing the last two games (Jets had a bye in Week 10). Over those two games, all three top receivers have played together. In those games, their overall production has been a nice sight and has caused some excitement. The three top receivers, which have been Perriman, Mims and Jamison Crowder respectively, should be excited to have Darnold back, as well.

The wideouts

Breshad Perriman was brought in to be the main deep-threat guy, pretty much replacing Robby Anderson. Over the last two games, he has totaled 7 receptions for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns. The 22.1 yards per reception average has led the team, along with the touchdowns during that span, including two against the division-rival Patriots.

Second-round rookie Denzel Mims has shown his capability of being a very good well-rounded wideout, as well. Over the last two games, he has totaled 7 receptions for 133 yards. The thing that sticks out, especially to possibly delusional Jets fans like myself, is that he has the ability to win tough catches. With great size at 6’3″, 207 pounds, he can be that go-to big target for Darnold, or whoever is playing quarterback next season. He showed that catching ability on one exciting play against the Chargers last week:

I am, perhaps, most excited for the Darnold-Mims duo tomorrow. They have been able to play zero snaps, let alone games, together this season. Videos and clips of them together from the preseason was cause for excitement, but it, unfortunately, hasn’t had the chance to translate yet.

The final piece of the top-three Jets wideouts is Jamison Crowder. To begin the season, he missed two of the first five games. Although, in the three he played, two with Darnold, he totaled 22 receptions for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns. The last two games, however, haven’t been as dominant. Over the last two, he’s totaled just 3 receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers should be expected to increase.

Crowder has been the go-to guy for Darnold over the last two seasons and has helped build a confident connection between the two.

With Perriman being the deep-threat, Mims being an intermediate-to-deep playmaker and Crowder being a short-to-intermediate option primarily, Sam Darnold will finally be surrounded by the best the Jets have to offer.

4 players the New York Jets should be thankful for

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

Happy Thanksgiving, Jets fans! Unfortunately (maybe fortunately for our appetites) the Jets do not play today. At 0-10, the Jets are in the midst of one of their worst starts in franchise history.

Here are four New York Jets players to be thankful for:

Mekhi Becton LT

Mekhi Becton has been the biggest bright spot for the Jets this season. The eleventh overall pick has broken out immediately and asserted himself as one of the top tackles in the league.

Becton is already leading the Pro Bowl votes for offensive tackles. Becton has been an absolute force this season with a PFF grade of 73.9 and easy handling of premier pass rushers like Joey and Nick Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Frank Clark, among others. Becton has emerged as a franchise left tackle throughout this season, and he provides a huge (literally) building block for the future. The Jets struck gold on Mt. Becton.

Braden Mann P

Braden Mann being selected was viewed by some as a curious pick in the 6th round when the Jets had such a need at receiver. However, the former college star has been a breakout piece. Now, purely off stats, Mann has a 44.8 average in terms of a yard per punt, which only ranks 19th in the league, but his sample size is the largest in the league at 50, which is an excessive amount for punters. With a floundering offense, Mann gets a lot of work, and the fact that as a rookie, he already is in the pro bowl consideration and being a consistent punter is very impressive. Special teams do matter, and the future for the Jets groups is all the brighter with Braden in it.

Denzel Mims WR

Denzel Mims was out for the first 6 games this season, despite that, he has broken out in a big way. Mims currently sits at 13 receptions for 217 yards, with an average of 16.7 yards per reception. He has averaged around 54.3 yards per game and been a consistent producer for the Jets with their QB issues. Mims has made some really spectacular catches, though, that have really opened eyes. His beautiful sideline catch against the Chargers Sunday was just another example of his phenomenal hands. What the Jets offense needs to do is maximize his catch radius and start throwing him more targets in the red zone. Despite missing time, Mims figures to still put up above-average numbers this season, and he figures to be a great piece for the future.

Quinnen Williams DT

Arguably the biggest breakout star of the Jets season is the former third overall pick, Quinnen Williams. Last season Williams had 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 TFLs, 6 QB Hits, and a FR. This season, in only 10 games, Williams has 34 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 7 TFLs, 7 QB Hits, and a FF. Williams has already exceeded his rookie campaign in only nine games that he has played in this season. Williams still has six games to continue to build onto his breakout season. Williams has displayed a real visible growth in his play as well. Last season he seemed a lot weaker and less developed. He still has a long way to go, but he has looked much quicker and more refined this season, and that is a huge thing to be thankful for in the trenches in the future.

New York Jets: Should the Jets re-sign Breshad Perriman?

New York Jets, Breshad Perriman

This season has been very tough for the New York Jets. With the Jets already out of playoff contention for this season, they need to start working for next season. Should the Jets lockdown Breshad Perriman to a long-term deal and keep him with Sam Darnold?

Perriman has been battling injuries this season, missing four games this season. Before Week 9, Perriman only averaged 2.75 catches a game, with only 29.5 yards per game in the other four games he started in. With his poor performance at the beginning of the season, why should the Jets re-sign him?

Why should the New York Jets re-sign Perriman?

Pros

Perriman signed a one-year deal with the Jets this past offseason for $6.5 million. Perriman in the past two weeks has been the deep threat the Jets have needed. Perriman has caught seven out of his 11 targets for 155 yards and three touchdowns in the last two weeks. Perriman has easily been the bright spot of this poor Jets offense.

Think about this trio of receivers, if they all can be healthy. Perriman, rookie Denzal Mims, and Jamison Crowder. That is a solid trio that can stay with Darnold for years. With all three receivers all playing at once, the Jets’ offense average 27.5 points in all three of their games. Gang Green needs to keep these three together.

Cons

Perriman has only been successful in two games this season. He has been terribly inconsistent. If you want a multi-year extension, you have to play consistently week in and week out. Perriman has only tallied at least four receptions or 60 yards only twice this season. Perriman consistency is going to have to change for the last six games for the Jets if he wants that contract.

Not only Perriman has not been the best player on the field earlier in the season, but he has also missed a bunch of games. Perriman missed four games this season due to ankle, knee, shoulder, and concussion injuries. Perriman needs to stay healthy for the next six games if he wants that multi-year deal.

The New York Jets have a lot to think about this offseason. Perriman is a player that needs to be thought about for the Jets and personally a player that the Jets need to bring back. To have that trio of Perriman, Mims, and Crowder could be solid for Darnold in years to come.

New York Jets: 3 positives in a season of negatives

The New York Jets remain the lone winless team in the NFL after their loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Aside from the 0-10 record, the season has been riddled with negative occurrences. Whether it’s incompetent play-calling, injuries, or having the last-ranked offense, it hasn’t been pretty.

However, funny enough, it hasn’t been solely negative. Some parts of the team, and some players, have been bright(er) spots for the Jets. Here are three of those positives that deserve some notice:

Denzel Mims

The second-round pick for the Jets has shown some real promise, already. Through his first four games, after missing the first six due to injury, he’s totaled 13 receptions for 217 yards. That’s an average of 16.7 yards per reception. Now, he doesn’t qualify for league-leading stats because he’s only played four games. However, if he did, he’d be the eighth-ranked wide receiver in terms of yards per reception.

Mims has shown solid route-running, ability after the catch and the capability to make tough catches.

The small sample size we’ve gotten from him so far is cause for some excitement. He definitely has some areas that need improvement, but overall, seeing him on the field has been a major positive the past few weeks.

Marcus Maye

Marcus Maye has definitely been one of the bright(er) spots on the Jets. Additionally, after the departure of Jamal Adams, he is now playing strong safety for the first time.

Through 10 games, Maye is on track for a career year. Here are his stats thus far:

  • 54 total tackles
  • 5 passes defended
  • 1 interception
  • 2 forced fumbles*
  • 2 sacks*
  • 3 tackles-for-loss*
  • 2 QB hits*

*Career-high

Already reaching career-highs in four areas, he is definitely having a nice year for the Jets. Sure, it may be aided by his increased usage, but he still has to go out there and produce, and he is.

Kickers

This one may come as a shock to some people, but the Jets kickers have quietly been much better than in previous seasons so far. Sam Ficken and Sergio Castillo have shared the kicking duties this season, and both have been pretty accurate. Ficken has played in seven of the ten games, so let’s take a look at his stats first:

  • 9-10 FG
  • 90% FG*
  • 8-10 XP
  • 80% XP

*Career-high

His numbers aren’t mind-blowing by any sense, but, quietly, he has been a positive player. Now, he has missed three games, though. His replacement, Sergio Castillo, has been pretty solid as well. Here’s how he has fared so far:

  • 6-7 FG
  • 85.7% FG
  • 4-4 XP
  • 100% FG

Those are all career-highs, technically, because this is his first NFL season. The former CFL kicker was a nice fill-in for the Jets over those three weeks and may be getting another starting job chance in the future. However, at this moment, he, Ficken, Maye and Mims have been positive aspects of this negative season.

 

 

 

New York Jets: The Jets are officially eliminated from playoff contention

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets knew going into the season they were not going to make the playoffs. It is set and stone now. It’s official, the Jets are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday.

What had to happen?

A few things needed to take place before the Jets were mathematically out of the playoffs. The Jets needed to lose to the Chargers, they did. The Chargers beat the Jets 34-28. The Miami Dolphins or the Indianapolis Colts had to win their game. The Dolphins lost to the Denver Broncos, but the Colts beat the Packers. The Colts beat the Packers in overtime by a field goal, 34-31.

This marks the 10th straight year for the Jets not making it into the playoffs. This is currently the second-longest drought in franchise history. Not like this was not expected, but with the NFL gaining another playoff spot due to COVID-19, they got out of playoff contention this early is mind-blowing.

What does this mean for the Jets?

The season has ended early for the Jets but not for the entire NFL. The Jets have a chance to become the third team in NFL history to have a winless season. When your team is winless, that means, you have the best chance to have the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. This pick could turn around the Jets franchise.

New York Jets: Should the Jets target Jim Harbaugh?

New York Jets, Jim Harbaugh

The New York Jets are the worst football team currently in the NFL. They have a chance to go winless this season. The Jets have not fired their current head coach Adam Gase. There have been a few names that have emerged in the conversation, but this has been a name that has emerged since 2009.

The New York Jets have been linked with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh for the past three head coaching searches. But in 2020, it seems like the stars have aligned to get Harbaugh back into the NFL.

Unfortunate timing

In 2009, the Jets secretly interviewed Harbaugh. Ultimately the Jets went with Rex Ryan, who was the coach at Stanford University.

Two years later, in 2011, the 49ers signed Harbaugh to be their head coach. Harbaugh went to a Super Bowl with them and lost to his brother, the Baltimore Ravens’ head coach. Harbaugh only lasted three seasons with the 49ers before he was let loose.

Three years later, in 2014, after being released by the 49ers. The Jets ‘toyed’ with hiring Harbaugh again. Harbaugh decided in 2014 that he would go back and coach college football at Michigan. Were Harbaugh currently coaches at. The Jets ultimately hired Todd Bowels.

Four years later, in 2018, the Jets released Bowles and tried to lure Harbaugh once more. The team to this day denies all reports, but at the end of the day, Harbaugh decided to stay with Michigan.

Now we are here in 2020 wondering the same thing, will the Jets pursue Harbaugh once again?

Harbaugh’s time at the 49ers

In 2011, the 49ers made one of the best decisions that their franchise made in a decade. The hiring of Harbaugh changed their entire organization for a few years. The 49ers did not have a winning record from 2003-2010, and Harbaugh turned them into a Super Bowl contending team and his short four years there. In four seasons, Harbaugh went to the playoffs three out of the four seasons and also went to the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens.

Harbaugh changed the entire team, but he changed the most important position on the field, his quarterbacks. Harbaugh brought the best out of Alex Smith. When Smith got hurt during their 2012 season, Colin Kaepernick was the backup. Harbaugh turned Kaepernick into a dynamic and starting quarterback for years to come.

In 2014, Harbaugh and the 49ers’ front office clashed so severely, the 49ers fired Harbaugh. Harbaugh decided to go coach college football again at Michigan, where he currently coaches at now.

Does it make sense for the Jets are hire Harbaugh?

Pros

The New York Jets needs a coach that he player love. Harbaugh was loved by his players when he coached for Stanford and Michigan but also when he coached for the 49ers.

Harbaugh built successful programs at Michigan and Stanford. Harbaugh turned the 49ers from a losing record team to the playoffs and Super Bowl in just a few short years.

At Stanford, Harbaugh developed one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, he is currently retired, in Andrew Luck. Harbaugh also brought the best out of Smith when he was the starter for the 49ers. Harbaugh changed his entire playbook for Kaepernick but also made him successful and also win a Super Bowl with him.

Cons

The issues aren’t with the players, it’s more with the front office and general manager. It will be hard for the Jets general manager, Joe Douglas, to hire a coach that was fired a few years ago due to clashes with the front office.

Another con would be, Douglas does not have a clear connection with Harbaugh other than working with his brother, John Harbaugh, with the Ravens.

Harbaugh is a name to follow during the rest of the NFL season and the offseason. Harbaugh and the Jets have been a thought for the last 11 years, it would a shock if the Jets go after Harbaugh hard this offseason.

New York Jets: Analyzing Sam Darnold’s trade market

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

The hot button issue of the New York Jets organization right now is whether or not to trade former number three overall pick and presumed franchise quarterback Sam Darnold in order to clear the way for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawerence. Now, in theory, as the Jets continue to lose, the likelihood of the New York Jets trading Darnold increases by the day. Here’s the thing though, Darnold has been bit by the injury bug in a big way during his first three years. Not only that, but with a career line of 6,934 yards, 39 TDs, 34 INTs, and an overall passer rating of 78.3, there are surely more proven commodities on the market. So, what does a potential market look like for Sam Darnold, and what kind of value could he hold?

The Cost

It’s evident the Jets are tanking at this point. Roles are being cleared out for younger players to stake their claim to be here for the long haul, the incompetent coaches were not axed, and if a player needs extensive recovery time, they are getting it. Darnold is a prime example of someone who likely could’ve tried to play through an injury but was kept on the bench in order to protect him and, more specifically, his value in the long term.

In talking about Sam and his potential value, you cannot forget the fact that he is only 23 years old. Not only that, but he is still the same physically talented athlete who was selected out of USC just a short time ago. Darnold has regressed, though, due to poor coaching, injuries, and lack of talent at skill positions and in protection. At times though, despite all those circumstances, Darnold has looked like a special talent. There are still many within the league who agree with that statement as well.

If Darnold is to hit the trade market, there is hope the Jets can recoup significant compensation. Specifically, though, a first-rounder. If the Jets are unable to obtain a first for Sam, it is going to sting. Now, don’t get me wrong, the floated around a combo of a 2nd and a 5th would be great, but not for a 23-year-old quarterback. See, the Jets should play hardball with Sam, if they’re going to draft Trevor Lawerence, they should and will trade him, but at the same time, they can’t give him a way.

A 2 and a 5 offers great flexibility, but anything above that, particularly a 1st, would be a phenomenal deal. Josh Rosen was mediocre at best in his rookie season, and he fetched a 2nd, so Sam’s value should exceed that. Joe Douglas has shown in the past he is capable of making massive trades, a la the Adams to Seattle deal. Darnold may have flaws, but he could also be the missing piece for a franchise. A team like the 49ers, the Bears, or the Colts could pull the trigger on Sam because right now, there are not many other young and high potential options outside of the draft.

A team like the Bears may be reluctant to take a shot on Sam if they feel they’re a few pieces away. However, the Colts and 49ers have both shown they can be two of the top teams in the league when healthy, but both teams need a more talented and long term signal-caller. Jimmy Garoppolo and Phillip Rivers have had their moments just like Sam, but in Garoppolo’s case, he is likely nearing his ceiling. As for Rivers, he has played solid football this year, but his days are likely numbered on his career. Trading for Sam could rejuvenate one of those offenses that have felt so stagnant this year while also landing the Jets premium draft capital and signaling the true beginning of a new era in New York, led by Trevor Lawerence.

Can Trevor Lawrence succeed with an under-tooled New York Jets offense in 2021?

New York Jets, Trevor Lawrence

For the New York Jets, 2020 was supposed to be the next chapter of growth and progress for a team that’s struggled to garner much success over the last decade.  After drafting Mekhi Becton with the 11th overall pick in the draft as well as acquiring a handful of offseason additions for their offensive line and wide receiver unit, the Jets theoretically were in a position to have a slightly better season than they did in 2019, especially with most of their previously injured players making their return this year.  On top of that, Sam Darnold was about to enter his third season with a stronger supporting cast and, with two tough years filled with plenty of learning experiences, was finally going to put it all together and show the Jets why they drafted him third overall in 2018.

What ended up happening instead is the full-on collapse of a rebuilding process that has brought the Jets right back down to square one.  Sitting with the worst record in the NFL at 0-9, the Jets are debatably the New York Knicks of the NFL.  Shipping out important cornerstone players such as Le’Veon Bell, Jamal Adams, and Avery Williamson before the trade deadline, the Jets have ripped nearly their entire team down to the ground to start anew with their franchise, but it’s not very clear if their plan will work.

If you haven’t noticed, the Jets have taken a mighty plunge this season, tanking so low that ESPN has already projected a 61.1% chance that they will receive the number one overall pick in the 2021 draft.  To say that this was wholeheartedly intentional is certainly far-fetched.  But it’s hard to deny that once the Jets realized what kind of season this was going to be, they knowingly restructured their team to such a low level of all-around talent to the point that even winning two games this season seems to be out of reach (ESPN).  Essentially, the Jets realized that this next draft is too good to pass up on, and for mainly one big reason: Trevor Lawrence.

The phenome quarterback out of Clemson has torn up college football and has basically stamped his place as the number one overall pick in the draft.  Kicking down the door with an incredible rookie season where he led Clemson to its second National Championship Title while posting a total of 3,280 yards, 30 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions, believe it or not, Lawrence has only gotten better and better since (ESPN).  Leading Clemson back to a second straight National Championship appearance, Lawrence improved substantially last season both in the air and on the ground.  Throwing for 3,665 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions, Lawrence ran for an additional 563 yards and collected 9 touchdowns in the process (ESPN). And then to cap it all off, despite all the setbacks with COVID-19 (to even being diagnosed with it recently), Lawrence has still displayed a level of flawlessness this season that’s breathtaking to behold, already throwing for 17 touchdowns, only 2 interceptions, and posting his best completion percentage to date at 70.7% (ESPN).

To see how menacing and dominant this quarterback has been, ripping up the stat sheet and leading his team to back-to-back National Champion appearances in the process, is a spectacle that can’t be ignored.  However, if the Jets do choose to start fresh with their quarterback and draft Lawrence number one overall, joining the Jets would debatably be one of the greatest challenges in his NFL career.  What’s important to understand is that although his skill set would be a big upgrade for an ailing Jets offense, there’s a lot more to it than just Lawrence.  Football is not a one-man show and never has been.  And what’s essential to keep in mind is that the Jets don’t have a lot of talent to provide Lawrence with.  Outside of Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman, and Becton, the Jets have a fragile offensive line and an even weaker running game that require a whole lot of improvement for Lawrence to even come close to having the same impact that he’s had with Clemson.

The best side-by-side comparison that one can use to understand just exactly what Lawrence faces with the Jets is looking at the success from each of the last three number one overall picks from 2018 to 2020.  The key factor that’s vital to grasp about this comparison is that even the worst teams who were able to secure these picks, from the Browns taking Baker Mayfield in 2018, to the Cardinals selecting Kyler Murray in 2019 and to then the Bengals picking Joe Burrow in 2020, each had a sturdy offensive supporting cast in place to allow these stars to actually succeed.  Mayfield had running back Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and Kevin Zeitler on his offense and led the Browns to a 7-8-1 finish after they were winless in 2017 (ESPN).  Murray had Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Kenyan Drake to lead the Cardinals to a 5-10 season after going 3-13 in 2018 (ESPN).  And even Burrow, who has Joe Mixon, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams on his offensive line, has already grabbed two wins for the Bengals in his first nine games, something that took the whole season to pull off last year for Cincinnati (ESPN).  The bottom line here is that the Jets don’t have any sort of support system like that for Lawrence, particularly with their offensive line.  Despite signing Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant earlier this year, none of them have risen to the occasion nor have provided the vital protection Flacco, and Darnold have so desperately needed all year.  Ultimately, out of all four quarterbacks to go number one overall, Lawrence is joining the worst team offensively, and even for such a gifted player, it could be very difficult for him to thrive and maximize his full potential.

However, the good news is that the Jets created a lot of cap space by shipping out Bell, Adams, Williamson, and Steve McLendon at the trade deadline, which will allow them to bolster and rejuvenate their offense with plenty of talent.  Sitting with nearly $30 million in cap room already, the Jets have more than enough to splurge over the offseason and should bring in a strong running back, a handful of durable offensive linemen, and at least one bright wideout (be it in the draft or via free agency) if they truly want to see a full turnaround next year.

When all is said and done, selecting Trevor Lawrence with the number one pick in the draft is the right choice for the Jets to do, and there’s no disputing that.  But to think he’s going to solve all of the offensive setbacks the Jets have to fix, more or less play the way he did in Clemson in his first season, is just not the case.  Talking about who Mayfield, Murray, and Burrow had, look who Lawrence has played with over his first two and half seasons in Clemson; Clemson has produced some of the best prospects the NFL has drafted over these last two years.  Football is just not a singular game, and if the Jets want to succeed with Lawrence at the helm, yes, it begins with drafting him, but it also requires this organization to execute a strong draft from start to finish as well as signing the right players over the offseason.  Lawrence can succeed with the Jets.  But with an under-tooled Jets team such as the one they have right now, he doesn’t stand that much of a better chance than Sam Darnold.  This rebuild is bigger than Lawrence.  And if the Jets want to give their next franchise player the real chance he deserves, it is of the utmost importance that the proper foundation is constructed and cemented in place for him upon his arrival; it’s time for the Jets to get it right.

What if the Jets had drafted Dan Marino?

The New York Jets have one Super Bowl title in their history. That was all the way back in 1969 with Joe Namath, the greatest quarterback the team has ever had. Since then, players such as Richard Todd, Chad Pennington, Mark Sanchez and Sam Darnold have manned the helm, to name a few.

Another player worth mentioning is Ken O’Brien, who was drafted to be the “quarterback of the future” in the 1983 draft. They drafted him with pick 24. Who was still available and selected three picks later by the Miami Dolphins? Dan Marino.

O’Brien was selected to two Pro Bowls, but Marino made it to nine Pro Bowls, a Super Bowl and the Hall of Fame. So, the question looms: what if the Jets had drafted Dan Marino?

What Could’ve Been

Now, this isn’t meant as a slight to Ken O’Brien, who was a solid quarterback for the Jets. However, Dan Marino is one of the greatest to ever play and they had an opportunity to get him in the green and white.

Marino made the Pro Bowl in each of his first five seasons and made the Super Bowl in his second season. That by itself is astonishing, but he also rewrote the record books that season. He set six league records including the most touchdown passes in a single season at the time (48) and became the first player to throw for over 5,000 yards in a season.

Being that this is a “what if” question, this is what the 1984 Jets offense would look like if Marino was plugged in:

QB: Dan Marino*

RB: Freeman McNeil*

WR1: Wesley Walker

TE: Mickey Shuler

*Pro Bowl selection 

I’m sure this “what if” offense could have some Jets fans salivating about the impossible possibilities of this unit. This group could’ve made some noise in the AFC and the league. To add to this fantasy, the Jets’ defense wasn’t all that bad either. They were led by players such as Marty Lyons, Lance Mehl and Mark Gastineau, who had 22 sacks that season.

Delusional Jets fans, such as myself, could see Marino making the Super Bowl that season with this group as well. Although, is it really all that delusional?

The two Dolphins receivers, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, both had better seasons than Jets receivers, although they did have Marino. The Dolphins running back, Tony Nathan, was nowhere near being on the level of Freeman McNeil, who was a Pro Bowler. The tight end position isn’t much of a discussion as well since Mickey Shuler had a better season with the Jets than Dan Johnson did with the Dolphins. So, isn’t it a real possibility that Marino could’ve brought the 1984 Jets to the Super Bowl as well?

Okay fine, they may not have made it because, well, they’re the Jets. But what if it took one year longer to get there? Could 1985 have been the year? Let’s see what that offense would look like:

QB: Dan Marino*

RB: Freeman McNeil*

WR1: Wesley Walker

WR2: Al Toon

TE: Mickey Shuler

*Pro Bowl selection

The group is pretty much the same, except with the edition of then-rookie Al Toon. Also, on defense, the Jets added someone by the name of Joe Klecko. This team finished 11-5 that year and lost in the wild card game. Dan Marino could have very well pushed this team further in the playoffs. If not, the Jets had the same offensive unit the next year, except with Pro Bowl versions of Al Toon and Mickey Shuler.

So, once again, what if the Jets had drafted Dan Marino? Well, they could very well have another Super Bowl title in their history.

Waived New York Giants corner Ballentine picked up by Jets

New York Giants, Corey Ballentine

The New York Giants couldn’t find space for Corey Ballentine with Will Hernandez making his return from the COVID-19 list, but it didn’t take long for another team to make a spot for the cornerback. That team happens to be the crosstown neighbor of the Giants, the New York Jets.

The Jets have picked Ballentine up from waivers after the Giants moved on from him to make space for the comeback of Hernandez. This is Ballentine’s second season in the league, and the cornerback has had more playing time this year after only getting a couple of starts last season. However, he hasn’t been a consistent main player for the Giants as he’s only played in roughly 62% of the snaps during his appearances this season.

James Bradberry has locked down the number one cornerback spot as an elite player and the remaining spots have largely been taken up by other players. Isaac Yiadom and Darnay Holmes and others are ahead of Ballentine in the rotation, contributing to his exit from the team.

He also served as a special teams player but didn’t have exceptional numbers as a return man and has fallen out of favor in that role too.

Ballentine came into the league with some fame, as despite being a sixth round draft pick, he was injured in a shooting that also killed college teammate Dwane Simmons. He made it past the adversity to play for the Giants in the NFL, and after departing the franchise, will have another chance to make it while playing for the other occupant of MetLife Stadium.