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Blueprint For a 2016 New York Jets Playoff Run

The New York Jets fell just short of the AFC's elite in 2015. For a run at the title in 2016, they may want to follow this blueprint

2015 was a year of major improvement for the New York Jets. They saw better play at quarterback and improved to double digit wins. Even so, a playoff appearance was not in the cards. A loss in week 17 kept them out of the running for AFC supremacy.

The offseason was a bit more kind to the franchise as they only suffered one major loss in Damon Harrison. The addition of running back Matt Forte adds to an already high-powered offense that will once again be led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The team also hopes to have contributions on defense from rookie linebacker Darron Lee.

2016 will likely be a make or break year for the team as their veteran nucleus will not be around much longer. The Jets must have many things go their way if they expect to make a deep run in the postseason. Here is the blueprint for a 2016 New York Jets playoff run.

Blueprint For a 2016 New York Jets Playoff Run

Contributions From Non-Starters

Depth is one of the biggest factors among championship teams. Having backups who can contribute a unique skill set create game-planning nightmares for coaches. The Jets have quite a few deep positional groups.

Defensive backs were a weakness for the team only two years ago. Now they possess four cornerbacks with starting experience along with an excellent safety tandem. Darrelle Revis is starting to see a career decline and still allowed the lowest completion rate of balls thrown his way in 2015. Buster Skrine is a talented slot corner who has had an impressive training camp thus far. Marcus Williams has always seemed to have a nose for the football and Dee Milliner is finally healthy.

Defensive Line

On the defensive line, the Jets have three ends who could all be anchors on the line for another franchise. Muhammad Wilkerson is locked up long term as he continues to be one of the best players on the team. Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams are both versatile players who allow coach Todd Bowles to draw up all sorts of blitzes and stunts. Despite a base 3-4 defense, expect to see many different looks with the talent Bowles has on defense.


Offense does not boast as many deep positional groups but wide receiver is certainly a strength. The Jets have one of the best receiving duos in the NFL with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Behind them are an abundance of question marks. Quincy Enunwa was effective last year in a limited role. However, he is fairly one dimensional as a player. Devin Smith was not the deep threat the Jets had in mind when they drafted him and he will need to improve if the Jets want to increase their big play frequency. Rookie Jalin Marshall is turning heads in camp and could make a name for himself in the return game. Kenbrell Thompkins and Charone Peake may also be contributors. If they pan out, the Jets could have a receiving corps to carry the offense.

Production From Rookies

The New York Jets 2016 draft was widely praised in its immediate aftermath. The team needs this praise to be backed up on the field if they hope to make a run at a title in 2016. First round linebacker Darron Lee will certainly be a welcome addition to the defense. While he may not be the prototypical middle linebacker, his blazing speed will make it hard for him not to see the field. If Lee can translate his speed into power as well, it is certain he will see success in both the coverage and sack departments.

Fellow rookie linebacker Jordan Jenkins may see more play time despite his selection coming in the third round. Outside linebacker is a far more pressing need for the team. Lorenzo Mauldin is the only outside linebacker on the roster to see any sort of success in a starting role. Even so, Mauldin needs to show improvement as well for the Jets to generate a pass rush. Success from Jenkins on the opposite side will allow the Jets to help their secondary with an impressive pass rush.

Special Teams

Punter Lachlan Edwards may not seem like a major factor, but fans who saw Ryan Quigley punt last year know he is. The defense was put into far too many field position dilemmas as a result of poor punting. Edwards has already won the starting job in camp and has reportedly impressed thus far. His success will certainly give opposing offenses much more challenging field position to assist the defense.

Undrafted wide receiver Jalin Marshall was not one of the three offensive players that the Jets selected. He was signed after the selections of Christian Hackenberg, Brandon Shell, and Charone Peake. However, it is Marshall who has the best chance to make an immediate impact. In addition to reports of him having an impressive camp at receiver, Marshall steps into a position where he is the immediate favorite to take over return duties. The Jets haven’t had a game-breaking return man since Leon Washington saw his fair share of success. If Marshall can make the roster, he needs to make big plays on special teams to help the Jets win close games.

Consistency at Quarterback

The Jets are now past the point of simply needing success at the quarterback position. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career year in 2015 and broke Jets franchise records. Despite this, Fitzpatrick’s poor play in week 17’s win-and-in situation proved to be one of the nails in the coffin of the Jets’ season. Fitzpatrick certainly had a successful campaign on the stat sheet, but inconsistency was a fatal flaw. The Jets can do without record breaking touchdown numbers. The Jets can do without highlight reel passes and huge yards totals. What they need more than anything is to avoid turnovers and meltdowns in situations that make or break a season.

The Jets had all the pieces fall into place for them to make the playoffs in 2015. A six win improvement was worthless as a loss in week 17 cost them a spot amongst the AFC’s elite. For 2016 to be different, they need younger players to shine in big roles, and see consistency where it lacked in the past.


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