Many fans have debated it: How can the New York Jets make the playoffs in an unusually challenging AFC in 2022?
The defense must be better, no doubt, and it should be when you consider the additions — DE Carl Lawson (injury return), CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB D.J. Reed Jr., S Jordan Whitehead, DE Jermaine Johnson II, DE Jacob Martin, DL Micheal Clemons, DT Solomon Thomas, S Lamarcus Joyner (injury return), DE Vinny Curry (medical return), LB Marcell Harris.
Having said that, the NFL has become an offensive league. If you’re unable to score points, you get left behind. That’s the way it is.
The Jets had this problem during the first half of the 2021 season and they’ll have to improve their offensive consistency in year two under coordinator Mike LaFleur. Fortunately, the franchise’s very own “Batman and Robin” should help with that.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
Trust the Men in Capes
During a fantasy football-themed article on The Athletic, NYJ beat reporter Connor Hughes was asked how running back Michael Carter might be impacted by the addition of rookie Breece Hall. He answered:
The Jets like Carter a lot. They believe he’s a quality back. They’ve always viewed him as an ideal complement, though, in Mike LaFleur’s “running back by committee.” Hall, whom the Jets consider a home run threat, is now the Batman to Carter’s Robin. The Jets will use both, but Hall is the lead back.
Hughes echoed what most fans probably already figured out here. After all, Hall was a second-round pick who some thought deserved to be selected in round one. Carter slipped to round four the offseason before.
Even so, the Batman and Robin comparison is enticing and it could pay massive dividends if both ball carriers can remain healthy.
LaFleur loves for his offense to build off of the rushing attack, using play-action and trick designs. One of the under-the-radar issues early in 2021 was that the Jets didn’t run the ball all that well.
Outside of Week 2 versus the New England Patriots (152 rushing yards), Gang Green did not run for over 100 yards until Week 11. From that point on, they accomplished this feat five out of eight outings with a massive 273 rushing yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
If you want to take the pressure off a young quarterback like Zach Wilson, run the ball often and run the ball well. With G Alijah Vera-Tucker, G Laken Tomlinson, TE C.J. Uzomah, TE Tyler Conklin, and FB Nick Bawden all brought in to help block over the past two years, that’s certainly the plan.
Follow the Heavy On Jets Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest NYJ-related daily content, analysis, features and more!
Hall & Carter Give Jets a Real Shot at Something Special
The Jets are not expected to make the playoffs in 2022, that’s no secret. Having said that, is it impossible? Of course not.
We are coming off an NFL season where one of the worst-ranked teams at the start of the campaign (Cincinnati) made the Super Bowl. The formula is there but as always, the players and coaches have to execute.
Offensively speaking, Hall and Carter — not to mention this offensive line — give the Jets better odds than outsiders would like to admit. It’s an old adage but one that’s still just as true today as it was during the glory years of the sport. Control that line of scrimmage and the time of possession with the run game and you’ll win more than you lose.
This pair of costumed crusaders have what it takes to put that plan into motion. Both are dual-threats and elusive runners with strong vision. If the Jets can clear large holes to sprint through, even better.
LaFleur’s offense finished 27th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (YPG) in 2021 with 98.1 YPG. Anything over 122.0 YPG ranked top 10 a season ago.
That’s where the Jets should set their sights. Seven out of the top 10 NFL rushing attacks made the playoffs last year.