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Why the Jets Will Finish in Last Place Again This Season

After missing out on certain free agents, New York is in danger of another last place finish in 2022, putting GM Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh on the hot seat.

Joe Namath made a guarantee in New York that the Jets would win Super Bowl III, and I am going to make one myself.

If the Jets do not do what really needs to be done to help quarterback Zach Wilson, the Jets are guaranteed to finish in last place in the AFC East next season.

Not only that, 2022 will be the last season in New York for team general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh.

This is New York.

This is the largest market in America.

There is no way another two, three, four or five win season is going to fly.

First, New York lost out on free-agent shut-down corner J.C. Jackson. Next the Jets lost out on superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who was traded from Kansas City to Miami (after the Jets were said to be finalists for Hill). That is a double whammy, because now the Jets have to try to cover not only Jaylen Waddle, but now Hill too (amongst others) when they face the Dolphins.

It was bad enough the Jets were looking up at the Bills and the Patriots, but now they are also going to face who is proving to be the most aggressive coach in the NFL in Miami’s Mike McDaniel.

The Dolphins have made a huge splash in free agency and by adding Hill (nicknamed “Cheetah”). Don’t look now, but Miami may suddenly have the most dynamic offense in the league. They have additionally acquired running back Chase Edmonds from Arizona and that little speedster receiver Cedrick Wilson from Dallas. They got a solid back-up quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater and added two more offensive weapons with running back Raheem Mostert and receiver Trent Sherfield.

What more needs to be said about Buffalo and New England. In four games last season, these two teams pounded the Jets into submission by a combined score of 151-46.

While neither the Bills or the Patriots shook the earth in free agency, neither really needed to. Barring major injuries to quarterbacks Josh Allen (BUF) and/or Mac Jones (NE), both teams are primed to make a return trip to the playoffs next season.

It is worth noting, Buffalo recently added free agent wide receiver Jamison Crowder who was New York’s receiving team leader in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Signing a $40 million dollar guard (Laken Tomlinson) and a handful of tier-two free agents was not what needed to be done for this to team to climb out of the AFC East basement.

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Douglas needed to be able to identify Wilson’s strengths and weaknesses, and be able to surround him with fire power in free agency accordingly.

It does not take a scout to be able to see Wilson has two very clear cut problems on game film.

  1. Wilson holds the ball too long.
  2. Wilson’s ball placement is erratic at all three route levels (short, intermediate and deep).

This is why the Jets gave up the fourth most sacks (53) in the league last year. It is also as clear as day to see on game film when backup quarterback Mike White played. White gave the entire offense a very noticeable lift by having a quicker release. The offensive line looked better too.

The big money need was not a guard who is a better run blocker than a pass protector. It certainly was not a 49ers’ guard who spent the NFC Championship Game getting driven back into quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s face.

Wilson had the worst competition percentage in 2021 of any starter in the NFL. Wilson only managed to complete 55.6% of his passes. Losing Crowder, adding two tight-ends and coming back with the same receivers does not fix the problem. Wilson’s ball placement is all over the road. His passes tend to be too high or too low. I love that Douglas brought back Braxton Berrios, who Wilson showed the most chemistry with down the stretch, but this issue has not yet been addressed properly.

The key word being yet.

The Jets must add dynamic receivers with big catch radiuses (ability to catch passes thrown too high or too low) who excel at catching short passes (which is Wilson’s best throwing range) and picking up yardage after the catch.

Is there still hope the Jets can make the moves that can make themselves relevant in 2022?

Yes, but we need to start hearing names like D.K. Metcalf, Garrett Wilson, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Sauce Gardner real soon.

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Follow Daniel Kelly on Twitter (@danielkellybook). Be sure to bookmark Jets Country and check back daily for news, analysis and more.