By Tyson Rauch
As the New York Jets play out the remainder of this dreadful season, it is time to start identifying building blocks for 2015 and beyond.
A leader emerges
A position of strength for the Jets is their defensive line, as Sheldon Richardson is quickly emerging into a prominent presence on the team. The 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year brings a tremendous amount of energy to the field along with a “refuse to lose” attitude. Richardson’s relentless style of play is infectious and can be used to set the standard for his teammates.
The role model
Muhammad Wilkerson, who plays along side Sheldon Richardson, is another quality piece to the New York Jets puzzle. Wilkerson continues to play at a Pro-Bowl caliber level and has become one of the veteran leaders on the team. Muhammad’s tenacious approach to the game is an excellent example for the locker room.
The wrecking ball
Chris Ivory continues to emerge with his powerful, angry style of running. The Jets running back is next to impossible to bring down and often drags defenders as he gains additional yards. New York could not ask for a better ball carrier to start off their ground game.
The wide receivers
You can make a solid argument that the trio of Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, and Percy Harvin make up one of the best receiving groups that the Jets have had in recent memory. Eric Decker is an excellent route runner with solid hands, while Kerley is a reliable pass catcher out of the slot position. Percy Harvin is a dynamic playmaker that can spread the field with his speed and can also be used out of the backfield. There is plenty of talent in this group, it is just a matter of finding someone that can consistently get them the football.
Nick Mangold continues to be the rock of the New York Jets offensive line. The veteran center is a valued leader as he mentors the young linemen and quarterbacks. Mangold is a calming presence for an offense that seems to be enduring consistent changes.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson has been a constant at the left tackle position for the past 9 seasons. Ferguson is a quiet veteran presence that gives you maximum effort every Sunday. D’Brickashaw may have lost a step, but he remains an above average tackle.
The cupboard is not bare
Contrary to popular belief, the New York Jets cupboard is not completely bare. The aforementioned players give the Jets a good foundation to work off of. Gang Green has to hope young players like Jace Amaro, Calvin Pryor, Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle, and Shaq Evans can become part of the solution as well. Then the final piece for the front office will be to once again try and find a franchise quarterback.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.