This past Tuesday, the New York Jets hired former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as their head coach. The Jets known for their defense and they have shown that they are still committed to being a stingy defense by hiring a defensive mind.
Offensively it is a different story where the Jets rank near the bottom of the league. Quarterback Geno Smith threw 11 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions his rookie season. He showed improvement in his second year, but still is average statistically. His quarterback rating improved by 10 points from 66.5 to 77.5 but still had a completion percent under 60 and threw 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
While he has improved, Smith still is erratic with his accuracy and makes poor decisions from time-to-time.
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Bowles made an outstanding hire of former Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey to serve as the Jets offensive coordinator. While Gailey had his shortcomings as a head coach, he still is a bright offensive mind. Current Houston Texans starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick became a serviceable starting quarterback while Gailey was the Bills head coach . Gailey’s Bills teams were very good offensively, but struggled on the defensive side of the ball.
Gailey’s development of Fitzpatrick, who was previously a backup quarterback taken in the 7th round, shows that it could even be easier to develop a 1st round quarterback such as Smith, who has a lot of potential.
Still on the offensive side of the ball, the Jets are a run first team with running backs Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson. Wide receiver Eric Decker and tight ends Jace Amaro and Jeff Cumberland are solid pieces of the Jets offense.
Gailey can utilize an offense that is heavy on running the football, and which can rely on the play action pass. Having tight ends such as Amaro and Cunningham that can block and catch in heavy sets can make it very hard for defenses to tell if it’s a run or pass. Along with the play action pass, Gailey can help Smith develop and let the defense win games by operating a West Coast Offense concept that utilizes safe throws to minimize turnovers.
On defense, Bowles is bringing in Kacy Rodgers to serve as the Jets defensive coordinator. Rodgers and Bowles were on the same staff with the Miami Dolphins from 2008 to 2011.
Bowles, who had created a scheme in Arizona that utilizes the strengths of his players, can do the same with a defense that is full of play-makers.
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, outside linebacker Quinton Coples, and inside linebacker David Harris make up a heavy blitzing, run-stopping Jets front 7. In addition, safety Calvin Pryor and cornerback Dee Millinger are two defensive backs who were taken in the first round in the past two years by the Jets.
Bowles has an elite defense already in place that is similar to the Cardinals defense, and has a solid offensive coordinator who has the potential to turn around Smith. If the Jets are able to be a top 10 defense and find an identity on offense, the Jets can become a team that could emerge as a playoff contender.