• QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty, Geno Smith
  • RB: Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Zac Stacy
  • FB: Tommy Bohanon
  • WR1: Brandon Marshall, Chris Owusu, Quincy Enunwa
  • WR2: Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Devin Smith
  • TE: Jeff Cumberland, Kellen Davis
  • LT: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Ben Ijalana
  • LG: James Carpenter, Jarvis Harrison
  • C: Nick Mangold, Dakota Dozier
  • RG: Willie Colon, Brian Winters
  • RT: Breno Giacomini, Brent Qvale

Reserves: Jace Amaro, TE (IR), Zach Sudfeld, TE (IR), Stevan Ridley, RB (PUP), Oday Aboushi, T (SUS)

Practice Squad: Walter Powell (WR), Wes Saxton (TE), Deion Barnes (OL), Wesley Johnson (OG)

Roster Analysis:

It’s interesting that Bowles and Maccagnan opted to only keep two tight-ends on the roster. Furthermore, keeping 10 offensive lineman is almost unheard of these days. Usually eight gets the job done. This is especially strange considering Oday Aboushi is only suspended for the first game of the season.

What it tells us is Gailey will be employing a ton of three, four wide receiver sets. While you may have the “ground and pound” mantra still stuck in your head for 2015, the spread version of “ground and pound” is what you’ll see.

Season Analysis:

While the preseason sported a pretty solid 3-1 record for the New York Jets, very little could be taken out of it from an offensive standpoint.

We all thought this was going to be Geno Smith’s show. Due to Ryan Fitzpatrick taking the helm directly prior to the first preseason game, expectations needed to be tempered. The running game looked solid and Chan Gailey’s usually short-passes were on full display.

In Game 3 against the New York Giants, Fitzpatrick looked solid. He hit Eric Decker for a touchdown on a post on poor safety play from the opposition.

This unit’s success or failures will hinge on the offensive line.

Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson have been phenomenal pros. Since coming into the league via Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum in 2006, both guys have provided stability to one of the Jets better units over the last decade.

However, both guys are also now 31-year of age. If either falters in their latter years, the Jets could kiss the 2015 season goodbye.

James Carpenter was perhaps the most underrated signing of the offseason. He’ll bring instant championship-caliber stability at one of the guard spots, coming from the Seattle Seahawks. The right side of the line will remain shaky with Breno Giacomini and Willie Colon. A stepup from either Jarvis Harrison, Oday Aboushi or Brian Winters might be needed before all is said and done.

The big heavies will be blocking for Chris Ivory, a man who’s coming off an 821-yard, 6 TD season. Along with Zac Stacy and Bilal Powell, the backs are solid enough to win.

The worst news of the preseason, other than the locker room sucker-punch heard round the world, was the injury to second-year tight-end Jace Amaro. Amaro will miss the entire year leaving New York very thin at the position.

Acquiring Brandon Marshall was a fantastic move from Mike Maccagnan. Pairing him up with Eric Decker on the outside now gives the Jets two spectacular possession guys who can go up and get it.

The one issue this skill position grouping will face all season long is their lack of top-flight speed. While Marshall and Decker present a dynamic duo along the outside, neither guy is a burner. The same can be said for slot-man Jeremy Kerley, who’s very quick and agile but can’t haul in the ball on that deep patter.

Player to Watch:

This is where rookie Devin Smith was supposed to come in, but where major surprise Chris Owusu might come in.

Enunwa turned heads all training camp long. He’s a guy you’ll see wearing No. 17 on Sunday and does a little bit of everything. He can run routes, play the outside, operate form the slot, and even take a hand-off or two. His further development for this offense will be critical in possibly transforming them into an above-average unit.

Most Important Player:

In the end though, the NFL is a quarterback league, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and/or Geno Smith will have to get it done. It’s unfortunate that the rules play so much to the position these days, but that’s the reality we live in.

Not only will Bowles and Gailey look to the position as the key performer, but the uncertainty that surrounds it is unsettling. We know what Fitzpatrick is. He’s a journeyman who can get the job done for an average to solid team. It fits perfectly with this squad too because of the nature of the personnel. The defense is stacked and the offense is geared towards the run.

In any event the Jets won’t become a serious contender until the quarterback spot produces at a high level. This is why it’s very enticing to see what Geno can provide upon his return.

Or, dare I say, see what Bryce Petty can possibly do later in the season. Petty, after a terrible first game in Detroit, looked very seasoned from that point on in August. There’s no question he’s still a project, but one that allows lips to be licked.

What Jets fans have to understand is this: Rex Ryan didn’t give the quarterback a chance to succeed during his time with the franchise. Instead of allowing the spot to flourish, he crippled it with fear of the turnover.

To him, as long as the offense didn’t turn the ball over, he felt the defense could win the game by itself. The NFL today doesn’t work that way.

Bowles and Gailey know this, and Fitzpatrick and/or Geno will have to produce.

Rankings Predictions:

The Jets offense can only hope to be average at best. If they want to fit into the upper-third of the NFL, they’ll need to see the offensive line come together like it did during 2009 and 2010.

  • Rushing: 8th in NFL
  • Passing: 23rd in NFL
  • Total Yards: 17th in NFL
  • Giveaways: 21st in NFL