The New York Jets won just four games this past season and have not made the playoffs since the 2010-11 campaign, so they are not generally used to any sort of expectations.
However, going into 2019, there are some who feel the Jets could be a good team, and some even think New York could contend for a playoff spot.
The Jets have had a very busy offseason, making numerous free-agent signings and trades to bolster both sides of the football, but even with all of those moves, making a run in the deep AFC is going to be difficult.
In order to do so, several players are going to need to take major steps for New York this coming season.
Here are three Jets players who must do just that.
3. Leonard Williams
When the Jets drafted Leonard Williams with the sixth overall pick back in 2015, they thought they were getting a monster, and by his second season, that looked to be coming to fruition, as Williams made the Pro Bowl.
However, these last couple of years, Williams has been a pretty big disappointment, totaling just seven sacks combined in 2017 and 2018.
The Jets are going to need much bigger things from Williams in 2019, as he is a player that can take a solid New York defense and help turn it into an elite one.
Because the Jets are playing a 3-4, Williams probably isn’t going to rack up a ton of sacks, but he at least needs to be more impactful than he has been recently, and maybe the other additions New York has made defensively will help him do that.
2. Robby Anderson
The Jets don’t really have a true No. 1 receiver on their roster, so Robby Anderson is going to have to fill that role. In doing so, Anderson is going to have to be more productive than his 2018 campaign when he caught 50 passes for 752 yards and six touchdowns.
It might be a bit unfair to expect Anderson to rack up big numbers, but two seasons ago, he did total 63 receptions for 941 yards and seven scores, so the potential is there for Anderson to have an impact.
The 26-year-old has great speed, but he needs some improvement as a route runner. Now that he is entering his fourth season, perhaps he will be more mature across the board and finally break out.
Anderson has some support in fellow receivers Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder, not to mention tight end Chris Herndon, so life should not be too difficult for him.
1. Sam Darnold
If the Jets want to have any chance of making a run at a playoff berth, Sam Darnold needs to be better.
Now, I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on this kid. After all, it’s just his second season, and New York almost surely isn’t going to make the playoffs anyway, but if the Jets want to, they need a big year from Darnold.
Darnold showed some flashes of brilliance during the second half of his rookie campaign, but overall, his first year was a mixed bag, as he threw 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
The 22-year-old is going to need to be more efficient and judicious in 2019, and having Le’Veon Bell in the backfield should help him with that. If Darnold is able to take that next step, then maybe the Jets can contend for a playoff spot.