Over at Pro Football Focus, they’re running their “Projected Lineups” series, where they highlight team needs by looking at the players under contract and representing this with their colored-coded assessment of how good each player is.
In a new feature this year, they’re also taking into account the potential they see for a player to improve (represented by a differently-colored outline), so that accounts for a young, developing player or an older player that is capable of performing better than they did last year.
Here’s this season’s image (click the link above for the full key):
There’s plenty of discussion fodder here, obviously. Read Bent’s thoughts after the jump.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comSomewhat alarmingly, the starting lineups are even weaker than the projections were when PFF did this same exercise last year. However, there are several reasons for this, the main one being that PFF did this in July last year which was obviously after the Jets had filled most of their needs via the draft and free agency. Even then, their projected lineups weren’t 100 percent accurate because they contained the likes of Stephen Peterman, Mark Sanchez, Josh Bush and Kenrick Ellis, a group who combined to play fewer than 300 snaps between them.
What this does highlight, though, is the the fact that the Jets need to address some of their needs sooner rather than later. With Austin Howard and Willie Colon out of contract, the offensive line depth is exposed and the overall strength of the starting lineups will become even weaker once the expected cap cuts are made. Essentially, it’s too early to project the starting lineup, but it does give a snapshot of the moves the Jets will be looking to make.
What’s more worthwhile at this time is looking at some of their assessments of the players the Jets have. It’s notable that a few players have been downgraded from last season, although most of them are shown as having the potential to improve. It emphasizes the amount of potential the Jets have that 11 of the 24 projected starters (they’ve included an extra slot guy on each side of the ball) are shown as having a potential change in class. However, that leaves the team with a lot of unknowns.
From the individual rankings, the main one I would take exception with is the one for Quinton Coples who, if healthy, will most likely be an impact player (as he was over the second half of the season). They describe him as “[not] going to put much fear into opposing offensive tackles as pass rushers at this stage in [his career]”. However, that’s likely based on his overall grade and not really factoring in the slow start he made due to a combination of his broken foot and his slight change in role.
You could also make a case for more of the younger players (Antonio Allen, Demario Davis, Brian Winters, Tommy Bohanon) having the potential to improve, which is not reflected here.
Be sure to read their rationale and their comments about the roster, cap situation and potential cap casualties here.