The outside world expects the New York Jets to be terrible once again in 2021.
Vegas Insider has Gang Green pegged as the third-worst team in the NFL with the over/under number set at a paltry six wins. The only teams they’re above are the Houston Texans (4 wins) and the Detroit Lions (4.5 wins).
If they’d like to surpass those minimal expectations there are several pivotal keys to the season. Perhaps none bigger than their big man on the defensive line.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
The Pressure Has Only Increased
The overall team may have pretty low expectations from the outside looking in, but the defensive line was supposed to be pretty good.
What was supposed to be and what is going to be are two totally different things.
Carl Lawson was supposed to be the main EDGE rusher from the outside who forced opposing offenses to gameplan for him. Those inevitable double teams would’ve opened up the rest of the defense to pin their ears back and go to town.
Unfortunately, the former Cincinnati Bengals star ruptured his Achilles and is toast for the season. The alternate option from the outside, Vinny Curry, also was lost due to complications from a rare blood disorder.
With everyone gone, all the pressure now shifts to the most important man on the Gang Green defense, Quinnen Williams.
The third-year defensive tackle is coming off of a career season where he popped in every major statistical category including sacks (seven), forced fumbles (two), combined/solo/assisted tackles, tackles for loss (10), and quarterback hits (14).
With that comes massive expectations and he was supposed to be helped by several new members of the team. With those guys on the shelf for the season, Williams will have to make the leap on his own and with the help of a brand new 4-3 scheme that should accent his strengths.
An Appearance on an Elite NFL List
The Jets aren’t the only ones that have massive expectations for Q heading into 2021.
ESPN every year releases their top-100 NFL player rankings and that is based on the opinions of over 50 experts.
Only one member of the Jets made it on this exclusive list and his name was Williams.
The former Alabama star was ranked the No. 60 overall player in the NFL after being left off the list in 2020.
In the old defense he was asked to “read-and-react” now in this 4-3 scheme they’ll ask him to “attack.” Experts believe Williams “has a chance to be a star” and “could reach double-digit sacks” sooner rather than later.
Here are two advanced statistics that will likely make you a believer via ESPN Stats and Information:
- “Williams recorded the league’s highest run stop win rate (49.2%) for interior defensive linemen last season.”
- Quinnen was top-two in pass rush win rate last season with Kansas City Chiefs’ star Chris Jones.
The Jets have dealt with the opposite of a first-world problem recently. They’ve had boatloads of cash but no one has proven good enough to spend it on. On one hand that’s great because you have a lot of money but it’s also bad because that means you’ve been drafting terribly.
That is soon set to change. Following the 2021 season, Williams will be eligible for a brand new contract extension, and if he is half the player he was in 2020 he should be paid handsomely by the green and white in 2022.
Williams missed a large portion of the offseason because he broke a bone in his foot. That sidelined him through the second week of the Jets’ preseason vs the Green Bay Packers.
It seems like he’ll be all systems go heading into Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers. Although it’ll be something to watch especially early on.