When any team has any many things go wrong as the 2016 New York Jets did, sometimes you have to take a step back. Take a step back to re-evaluate a group of players to determine whether or not the performances turned in were due to lack of talent, or continuous errors due to negativity permeating the locker room as one blowout loss after another takes it’s toll.
There’s no denying how bad the Jets were last season, but several players didn’t come close to meeting individual expectations. Which players stood out (or failed to stand out) who could rebound in 2017 as the Jets try to get the franchise turned around and heading in the right direction? Let’s take a look.
DL Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson- Richardson and Wilkerson have to be put in the same category here due to the simple fact that no matter how you may feel about their respective 2016 season’s, the two defensive lineman are undeniably talented players who Jets fans would like to believe will see an uptick in production for very different reasons. For Wilkerson it’s about pride. A highly productive local product who had the respect of the Jets fan base until his production slipped, and it was leaked to the media that commitment issues for Wilkerson weren’t uncommon, just unreported. Richardson, meanwhile, has never shied away from the fact that money is what motivates him, and this is a season in which he’ll have a chance to test free agency and try to get owners lined up pay him, be it through free agency or a trade.
RB Matt Forte- Forte is clearly not a part of Gang Green’s long-term plans, but if the team is going to work on developing a young quarterback, getting him involved in the passing game could go a long way in that process. For reasons unknown to anyone outside of Florham Park, Chan Gailey made little to no effort to include Forte in the offense as a pass catcher last season. If not Forte, the Jets have two other backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield in Bilal Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire.
CB Buster Skrine- Skrine signed with the Jets after spending time playing opposite Joe Hayden in Cleveland and had an up and down first year with the Jets. Last season, however, it was all down. Skrine was flagged for a multitude of penalties throughout the season as both a boundary and nickel cornerback. He’ll be competing with the likes of Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts to win a starting spot again this season. Unless he really turns things around, Skrine will likely be gone after this season.
WR Jalin Marshall- No, Marshall is not a proven commodity the way Richardson and Wilkerson are, and he drew the ire of Jets fans who grew tired of watching him fail as a punt returner while coming up small in the passing game. That aside, fans had high hopes for the undrafted free agent out of Ohio State last pre-season and he still remains a favorite of head coach Todd Bowles who has been allowing Marshall to get plenty of reps as the team’s slot receiver despite the fact that he’s suspended for the first four games of the season. Putting emotions aside, thinking back to how good Marshall looked early last year and the way the team is treating him, it could bring you to the conclusion that Bowles is still going to give the versatile Marshall every chance to succeed.
If you’re looking for updates on how each of the players are performing along with the rest of the team, be sure to follow JetNation.com on twitter for live updates from Florham Park.