NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After falling just short of the playoffs last January, the Jets are certainly in postseason-or-bust mode entering the 2016 season.
With the team reporting to training camp Wednesday, here is a look at three players who could make or break Gang Green’s season.
RYAN FITZPATRICK, QB
Ironically, the biggest key player for the Jets is someone who is not currently on the roster. You surely know the story: Fitzpatrick, a free agent, has been locked in a monthslong contract standoff with the team. If he returns, the Jets will have a veteran QB who passed for 3,900 yards and a franchise-record 31 touchdowns in leading New York to a 10-6 record in 2015. Without Fitzpatrick, the Jets will likely turn to Geno Smith, who is 11-18 as a starter and has tossed 27 touchdowns compared to 35 interceptions in his career.
DARRELLE REVIS, CB
Throughout his career, Revis has elevated defenses to another level. But now at age 31, he is showing signs of decline. Pro Football Focus ranked Revis, once widely considered the NFL’s best shutdown corner, as just the 30th-best cornerback in the league last season. He, however, was still effective, accounting for nine turnovers. But the cornerback-thin Jets simply cannot afford to see Revis, who underwent offseason wrist surgery, take another step backward.
RYAN CLADY, OT
Clady takes over at left tackle following the sudden retirement of D’Brickashaw Ferguson. The Jets allowed the second-fewest sacks in the league last season. If Clady, a four-time Pro Bowler, stays healthy, they should be fine again at protecting the quarterback. But that could prove to be a big “if.” The former Bronco played in just two games in 2013 due to a season-ending Lisfranc injury and missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a May practice.