By Evan Biancardi
The New York Jets made headlines this past week, but not for a good reason. Longtime Jets’ cornerback, Darrelle Revis, was arrested on Friday and charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor. It was reported by ESPN that on Sunday morning in Pittsburgh, P.A., Revis was involved in a physical altercation that resulted in two counts of aggravated assault, one count of robbery and one count of conspiracy. He was also charged with making terrorist threats. Revis turned himself in and was later released on a non-monetary bond. He is scheduled for his first hearing on Feb. 23. He claims that he was harassed and was defending himself, but regardless of the outcome, it’s likely that Revis will receive some sort of discipline from the league.
While this is merely an off-field situation, it’s a perfect segue into the Jets’ biggest concern heading into the summer. When the Jets signed Revis following his championship season with the Patriots, they were hoping to get back one of the top corners in the league. Unfortunately, the 2009 AFC Defensive Player of the Year has showed signs of regression and appeared incapable of defending some of the league’s top young receivers. With a solid defensive line, the Jets aren’t too far from a playoff spot, but it’s only a possibility if they improve their secondary either through the draft or free agency.
Another major concern for the Jets shouldn’t really be a surprise to anybody – their quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t able to duplicate his offensive performance from a year ago, but he remained the starter throughout most of the season because the team’s other options simply weren’t any better. Fitzpatrick averaged 194 yards per game and threw for a completion percentage of just over 56 percent with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Bryce Petty, the backup and longtime project, was actually worse, though. Petty finished the season with a passer rating of 60.0, 9.6 points lower than Fitzpatrick, who had the worst passer rating among qualified quarterbacks this season. As for Geno Smith, he completed only eight passes before sustaining a season-ending injury early in the season.
The Jets certainly have other problems. Their running game is mediocre, their line-backer situation isn’t great and their offensive line could use some improvement. If the Jets are able to acquire a solid quarterback, though, it would effectively improve the running game, put less pressure on the line and allow their receivers to have bounce-back seasons. An improved defensive backfield would put less pressure on its linebackers and return the defense to top form.
While there are many off-field issues that also must be addressed, if the Jets can make the necessary adjustments to become a winning team once again, all of the outside noise will be diminished. While the division is pretty much locked for years to come, the AFC Wild Card is still very much up for grabs, and if the Jets focus on what they really need and not settle for anything less, they will definitely be in the playoff picture in 2017.