The Jets ended their season rather unceremoniously with a blasé’ victory in Buffalo Sunday and there was outward optimism with a 6-2 record in the second half of the season. A 7-9 record marked their best finish since they went 10-5 in 2015.
New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams put his stamp on a defensive unit that worked its way through an injury-ravaged season and finished seventh overall.
Sam Darnold battled back from a bout of mono and threw 15 touchdowns and had four interceptions over his last eight games.
Le’Veon Bell didn’t have the season he and others anticipated, and Robbie Anderson had a team-high 52 receptions, his most since his breakout second season in 2017 when he grabbed 63 passes.
Bell and Anderson should be a major part of the Jets’ push to the playoffs next season.
Monday afternoon, Anderson and head coach Adam Gase may have taken the first steps toward changing the route for both next season.
It has become obvious since Gase took over that Bell wasn’t a part of his pass-oriented offense.
When asked if he wanted Bell back next season at the team presser Monday, Gase responded by saying that Bell was under contract for three more years (4-year, $52 million deal), and it should a question directed to GM Joe Douglas. Yet, Gase has mentioned that he wanted to see how Bell could be a part of the offense next season.
Doesn’t exactly sound like the workload running back-head coach relationship the Jets had envisioned.
Bell had only two games in which he had 20 or more carries and his season-high rushing game total was 87 yards on 21 carries against Baltimore, a game that looked like he had many forced-fed carries into the talented Ravens’ defense. He had a similar fate against Pittsburgh when he had to muddle through the Steelers’ unit for 72 yards.
He finished with a career-low 789 yards and managed another low 3.2 yards per carry. Yet, Bell was eighth overall in touches, having 66 receptions.
Bell did miss the Jets’ home game with Miami as Gase referred to him as being “ill” without mention a specific illness at the time. Later, he was diagnosed with the flu, but was reported bowling in Boonton.
Gase has never had a 20-plus carry running back in his offensive scheme, but Bell can provide the perfect balance if he can navigate his way through a revamped Jets’ offensive front next season.
As for Anderson, he has made his stance clear, as he will embark into free-agent waters for the first time in his five-year career.
The rising deep threat apparently doesn’t plan to give the Jets a hometown discount, stating Monday that “it doesn’t make much sense.”
Anderson is playing hard ball from the start, and Douglas should counter within reason to keep him a Jet.
Soon after his signed as free agent, Anderson had his share of off-the field antics. Since then, he has grown up and offers Darnold the homerun hitter he needs.