As fans of the New York Jets should know, they finished the 2013 regular season with an 8-8 record, a two-game improvement over the 6-10 record they finished with in 2012. Head coach Rex Ryan was retained by owner Woody Johnson and first season Jets general manager John Idzik can now plan on another offseason with Ryan and the chance to rebuild more from within by drafting well during the 2014 NFL Draft May 8th through 10th.New York Jets were likely to win anywhere from three to six games. They opened at home pulling out a victory late against former Jet Darrelle Revis and the Buccaneers. For the next eight weeks they alternated losses and wins to come to their bye week at 5-4. During the alternate wins and losses streak, which became an NFL record to open a season, the Jets had solid wins over Atlanta, New Orleans and New England, but a blowout loss to the Bengals. Unfortunately after that 5-4 start they lost three straight games before righting the ship with a win over the Raiders. The team rallied after a loss to Carolina with wins over Cleveland and Miami to finish with a strong 8-8 record that allowed owner Woody Johnson to feel comfortable in retaining Rex Ryan as head coach for 2014.
Early on the play of rookie cornerback and first round draft choice Dee Milliner was not so steady, including being benched one more than one occasion. As the season progressed he steadily progressed to better play, including winning the AFC Defensive Player of the Month award mostly for his play against Cleveland and Miami in the final weeks of the season. Sheldon Richardson turned heads all season long with his play at defensive tackle, making plays and getting some quarterback sacks plus running in a few touchdowns, doing enough that he seems like a lock to earn the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Quarterback Geno Smith became the starter after Mark Sanchez was injured in the preseason game against the Giants, and his season could only be described as "Jekyll and Hyde." When when his play was good, with no turnovers, it was just enough to help the Jets win some games close, but when it was bad, it was truly awful, with multiple turnovers that the Jets could not overcome to gain victories.
We also want to mention the ever increasingly stellar play of defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who lead the team with 10.5 quarterback sacks, second in tackles by a lineman and an interception that came in the game against Cincinnati. The 2013 season also saw some solid contributions by veteran additions like David Nelson, Willie Colon and the "returning" Calvin Pace, who also finished with double digit sacks.
The New York Jets have a lot to grow on for 2014 based upon how the 2013 season wound up faring for the team. Hopefully the front office will scout well and add some more veteran pieces in the offseason and new young talent in 2014 NFL Draft that will round out the roster to make the team a contender again later this year.
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