There are two ways to tank a season. Sometimes, teams just don’t sign any good players during free agency in an obvious attempt to field a bad squad for a high draft pick. Other times, teams suffer a rash of injuries that effectively end any chance for a team to be competitive.
The New York Jets are currently following both blue prints.
The team released veterans wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker earlier this offseason in an attempt to field the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Now the Jets placed 2016 receiving leader Quincy Enunwa on the injured reserve with a neck injury, per multiple reports.
Big loss: Jets are placing WR Quincy Enunwa on injured reserve with a neck injury, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 7, 2017
Enunwa was easily the best offensive player left on the Jets roster, although arguments could theoretically be made for running backs Bilal Powell and Matt Forte. Regardless, the Jets are almost depleted of all their receiving talent.
Who is left?
There’s 2016 undrafted 6’3 WR Robby Anderson, who used his 4.36s 40 yard dash speed to collect 587 receiving yards for the Jets last season. Anderson was arrested in May and could theoretically be suspended before the start of the season, although it might not take place until 2018.
WR Jalin Marshall is suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league’s PED policies. The Jets also claimed WR Lucky Whitehead off waivers when the Cowboys cut him over petty larceny charges (which turned out to be false due to mistaken identity).
There are rookies ArDarius Stewart (3rd round, 79th overall) and Chad Hansen (4th round, 141st overall). There are futures contract players like Deshon Foxx, Myles White, and Frankie Hammond. There’s former Patriots receiver Chris Harper, and then there’s former Bears WR Marquess Wilson who was coming off a third fractured foot back in December.
Jets 2016 7th round pick WR Charone Peake collected 186 receiving yards on 19 receptions as a rookie and is looking like one of the starting receivers.
Add in the fact that all Jets tight ends have combined for 268 receiving yards over the past two seasons under head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey- and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, responsible for a team-best 110 of those yards, is suspended for the first two weeks of the season- and you have an offense set up for one of the worst passing attacks in league history.
We also haven’t even looked at the Jets quarterbacks, either, which is possibly even more devoid of talent than the wide receiver position. 38-year-old QB Josh McCown- rated alongside Blake Bortles and Brock Osweiler as the worst quarterbacks in the league over the past three years- is looking like the starter, while 2015 fourth round QB Bryce Petty is running the scout team.
2016 second round QB Christian Hackenberg is running the second team offense and, well, it’s not going too well according to Monday Morning Quarterback.
“On Monday at Jets’ camp, Christian Hackenberg was having trouble just breaking the huddle correctly,” MMQB’s Tim Rohan writes. “During one rep in seven-on-seven drills, as he approached the line of scrimmage, a coach ordered him to re-huddle. When he broke the huddle again—in the wrong fashion for a second time—he was ordered off the field.”
While Patriots fans have been busy salivating over their depth on offense, it doesn’t look like any of the Jets offensive skill players could even crack the New England two-deep, other than possibly Bilal Powell. Maybe.
The Jets starting offense in 2017 is looking like Forte or Powell in the backfield, along with McCown, Anderson, Peake, a traffic cone, and a ham sandwich. The New York offense ranked 30th in the league in 2016. They’re going to be worse in 2017.
Much, much worse.