Florham Park, N.J. - Many are thinking the New York Jets season is over at this point in the BYE week. If they want to make the playoffs, they need to win out to go 9-7 and a lot of help from a lot of different teams. However, the Jets play Tom Brady twice and Andrew Luck once. With playoff hopes mostly dashed, the Jets should be looking to change some things that put them in this position. One place where they need to change is the secondary as a whole.
Quarterbacks have been having a field day against the Jets secondary. Lets take a look game-by-game. Andy Dalton: 366 yards and one touchdown. Tyrod Taylor: 297 yards and three touchdowns. Alex Smith: 237 yards and one touchdown. Russell Wilson: 309 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Roethlisberger: 380 yards and four touchdowns. Carson Palmer: 213 yards and one touchdown. Joe Flacco: 248 yards and 0 touchdowns. Josh McCown: 341 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Tannehill and Case Keenum: 314 yards and one touchdown combined.
The last two games, the secondary really held their own against Tannehill and Keenum, forcing them to throw for under 200 yards. And you can also say Flacco, getting him to throw two interceptions. But everyone else nearly had a field day. The Jets are 20th in the NFL in passing yards allowed, letting opponents gain 260.5 yards through the air. They have allowed 32 passes to go over 20 or more yards, with 10 of them being for over 40 yards. Last year, the Jets finished 13th in the league, allowing 235.2 yards per game through the air. That secondary also finished 5th in league with 18 interceptions. Now the Jets sit close to the bottom of the league with six interceptions.
There has been steady improvement, however. The Jets were once ranked dead last in passing defense and now sit at 20th in the NFL. For the longest time they had two interceptions, but have had four interceptions in the past four weeks. They're held the last two quarterbacks they faced to under 200 yards. This is how their secondary should have been looking the whole season. Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine, Marcus Gilchrist, Marcus Williams, and Calvin Pryor are, on paper, one scary looking secondary. But they have been constantly getting beat game-after-game.
There are few ways the Jets can improve their secondary this year and heading into the 2017 season. They can sign veterans Dashon Goldson and/or Antonio Cromartie. Both are currently team-less and are surely training like crazy to get another shot. Last season, Goldson started 15 games for the Redskins, having 110 total tackles, three passes defended, and one pick which was returned for a touchdown. Cromartie started 15 games for the Jets in 2015. He only had 29 total tackles, but had 12 passes defended. More veterans would never hurt, especially with a hard-hitter like Goldson and a fan favorite like Cromartie.
On to next season, the Jets have a few options in free agency that they could target. The top options are Eric Berry and Trumaine Johnson. Berry is one of the top safeties in the NFL and Johnson one of the top corners. It's obvious that the Chiefs and Rams will most likely sign them right away, so those two are reaches. Some not-reaches are cornerbacks Prince Amukamara, Stephon Gilmore, Morris Claiborne, and D.J. Hayden. Amukamara was supposed to be the game-changer the Giants needed in the secondary, but fell short of those goals and is now in Jacksonville. He's a great athlete with still plenty of time to develop into a top cornerback, considering Amukamara is only 27 years old. Both Gilmore and Claiborne will be a little tougher since they are every day starters for their teams. For the right price, however, they can easily be swayed. Hayden got his first start of the year in Week Nine against the Broncos. He played a big role in the past two years for the Raiders and could play a big role for the Jets next season.
The Jets also need to address the secondary in the 2017 NFL Draft. One player they should definitely target is Jabrill Peppers. The kid can do it all if need be. You can know more about him here. If Peppers becomes out of reach, the Jets should next target Marlon Humphrey. Humphrey was a Freshman All-American in 2015. He currently has two interceptions and four pass break ups in helping the Crimson Tide to an undefeated record and a defense that has held opponents to 10 points or less on seven different occasions.
The main focus of concern for the Jets has to be fixing the secondary. In a division where there are quarterbacks who can really do some damage, it is key to have a strong secondary.