Which Jets players, coaches, and executives correctly fulfilled their roles in 2021? Which didn’t?
It hasn’t been a phenomenal year for the Jets, who are now 3-11 and sit in the basement of the AFC East.
But the future doesn’t look too dark.
The team is in possession of a promising rookie class and seemingly has the right man for the head-coaching job in Robert Saleh. Various issues must be resolved, but it’s not like it’s a total tire fire in Florham Park.
With that said, numerous individuals part of the organization have stepped up while others have a ton of work to do.
With Christmas approaching, who on the Jets deserves to be on the naughty list? Who deserves to be on the nice list?
QB Zach Wilson
One of the main goals for this organization was to see improvement throughout the year from rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
However, that still hasn’t occurred on a consistent basis.
The first-year player has struggled mightily on various occasions and has thrown six touchdowns to 11 picks in 10 games. His completion rate is also a measly 56.2% while his passer rating is just 66.4.
Jets fans shouldn’t be holding their breath — Wilson is expected to improve in 2022. But thus far in his rookie campaign, the No. 2 overall draft pick hasn’t exactly impressed many.
DC Jeff Ulbrich
I understand defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich has dealt with numerous injuries on that side of the ball (Carl Lawson, Marcus Maye, Lamarcus Joyner, etc.).
But in spite of that, this unit has still been awful for much of the year.
The Jets defense is currently last in total defense (391.8 total yards allowed per game), last in scoring (30.6 points allowed per game), and 30th in rushing (141.9 rushing yards allowed per game).
The unit is expected to improve next season when it returns Lawson (Maye and Joyner could be gone due to either’s expiring contract). But in 2021 alone, Ulbrich hasn’t exactly pulled through with this 11-man group.
The kicking game
The Jets have had three different placekickers attempt either a field goal or extra point this season — they have not had a consistent answer at the position.
Overall, the team has converted 17 of 23 field-goal attempts (73.9%) and 17 of 20 extra-point attempts (85%). Not ideal.
GM Joe Douglas
Despite the Jets’ struggles this season, general manager Joe Douglas did a great job last offseason constructing a promising rookie class.
Wilson struggled but should develop while Alijah Vera-Tucker, Michael Carter, Elijah Moore, Brandin Echols, Michael Carter II, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and Jamien Sherwood could be long-term components of the roster.
RB Michael Carter
Rookie fourth-round running back Michael Carter is proving to be a dynamic offensive weapon in his inaugural NFL season. The former North Carolina Tar Heel, ahead of Week 16, is arguably the top running back on the roster and should be someone that grows alongside Zach Wilson and the other young offensive components.
Expect Carter to be the Jets’ clear-cut first-string running back in 2022.
WR Elijah Moore
Despite dealing with injuries (he’s currently on IR with a quad injury), rookie wideout Elijah Moore constructed a productive first year in the league. Heading into Week 16, Moore has caught 43 balls for 538 yards and five touchdowns. His numbers up to this point include a highly impressive Week 11 performance against Miami in which he reeled in eight catches for 141 yards and one score.
The Jets hit the nail on the head with their second-round selection of Moore out of Ole Miss.
OT George Fant
When Mekhi Becton went down with his knee injury in Week 1, everyone held their breath. How were the Jets going to move forward without their left tackle of the future?
Well, up to this point, New York hasn’t dealt with many issues at that spot. Veteran George Fant, who was the starting right tackle to commence the season, slid over and is recording an impressive 70.2 Pro Football Focus grade heading into the upcoming matchup with Jacksonville.
LB C.J. Mosley
C.J. Mosley missed 14 games in 2019 and opted out of the COVID-impacted 2020 season, seeming like a lost cause for the Jets.
However, the talented linebacker returned in 2021 and hasn’t disappointed — Mosley currently leads the team with 132 combined tackles.
The veteran is a true leader and should be a staple within the defensive unit at least for the next few years.
LB Quincy Williams
Quincy Williams, brother of Quinnen, has been a prime asset of this defense since the Jets claimed him off waivers at the beginning of September.
He’s second on the team in total tackles (93) and first in tackles for loss (nine), having completely outperformed his contractual expectations.
Could the Jets potentially extend Williams heading into next season? He has one year remaining on his current deal.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY