These improvements are what made the New York Jets a 6-2 football team over their final 8 games of the 2019 season.
The Jets’ 2019 season will always be seen as a major disappointment in the eyes of the fanbase, but as we sit here today, the campaign looks like far less of a nightmare than it was on track to be. After a loss to the winless Dolphins in Week 9, the Jets were 1-7 and at rock bottom. The season was an absolute dumpster fire at that point.
Then, everything turned on a dime as Adam Gase’s team closed the season with a 6-2 run, and the 2019 campaign is now considered “underwhelming-but-promising” rather than “utterly embarrassing.”
Momentum does not carry over from one season to the next, but the Jets’ hot finish gave us something else – an idea of this particular team’s formula for winning games.
While the 2020 roster looks a lot different than the 2019 iteration, the team’s strengths and weaknesses should be largely similar, so we can still glean quite a bit from last year’s second half.
Here are five major differences between the Jets team we saw from Weeks 1-9 of last year and the one we saw from Weeks 10-17.
The overhaul at outside cornerback
The Jets’ outside cornerbacks in the first half were abysmal. From Weeks 1-9, the trio of Darryl Roberts, Trumaine Johnson, and Nate Hairston combined to allow 78-of-112 passes to be completed for 953 yards (8.5 per target), six touchdowns, and two interceptions on passes in their direction (106.0 passer rating). They also committed 12 penalties.
In the Week 10 game against the Giants, the cornerback depth chart took a turn for the better. Arthur Maulet got his first start of the season while Bless Austin replaced Nate Hairston early in the game. The young duo started together on the outside for the remainder of the season (save for Austin’s benching in the season finale).
From Weeks 10-17, Austin and Maulet combined to allow 49-of-72 passes to be completed for 496 yards (6.9 per target), one touchdown, and one interception (86.3 passer rating). They only committed three penalties.