Each offseason, each NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the New York Jets is looking better these days?
Training camp begins later this month for all 32 NFL teams. So that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we are going to take a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which it made the most strides this offseason. We are starting with the AFC East and have already looked at the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. We wrap up this division with the New York Jets.
When you win half as many games as you did the previous season and jettison a lot of notable veterans, the words “most improved area” may be tough to find when referring to the New York Jets.
Yet via free agency and mostly the draft, Todd Bowles‘ club has gotten younger (and perhaps better) when it comes to the defensive backfield. A year ago, the team’s pass defense gave up a disturbing amount of big plays. It was quite the contrast from the season before that.
Gone are cornerback Darrelle Revis and safeties Marcus Gilchrist and Calvin Pryor – the latter dealt to the Cleveland Browns. Now comes cornerback Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. His biggest issue has been staying healthy. Before going down at midseason (and later returning for the playoffs), he was arguably enjoying his best season in the pros.
Meanwhile, general manager Mike Maccagnan used his first two selections in April’s draft on safeties Jamal Adams (1-LSU) and Marcus Maye (2-Florida). The Jets also added former Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety Shamarko Thomas via free agency for a little insurance.
Granted, Bowles’ squad gave up 25 TD passes in 2015. But the club also managed 18 interceptions and an impressive total of 30 takeaways during a 10-6 season. This past year, the club allowed 30 scores through the air and forced only 14 turnovers – including only eight picks.
This is a New York Jets’ team coming off a 5-11 campaign and one that moved on from many of its experienced players. A strong showing by a new-look secondary certainly won’t cure everything that ails the franchise. But it does look like the unit that has made the most strides from a season ago.