Jets vs. Panthers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for New York
While their odds of getting to the dance were slim before the game even started, the Jets have likely eliminated themselves from playoff contention after a devastating loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 15.
The game was close for most of its duration, but an untimely interception and special teams mistakes blew the game open, as the Panthers were able to win comfortably.
Some players (particularly along the defensive front) shined, while the same culprits on offense and in the secondary cost the Jets by allowing big plays for the opponent that swung momentum at key times.
Here are the roster grades for the Jets following this week's loss to the Panthers.
Geno Smith: C
At times, Geno Smith looked to be in control of the game, making big throws down the field and keeping defenses on their feet with a few effective scrambles.
However, consistent blitz pressure from the Panthers eventually got the best of Smith, who struggled to get the ball out on time against pressure. The formula to stop the Jets' offense is obvious: blitz Geno to prevent the big play from developing, and he will eventually make a mistake.
Geno's night fell apart when he threw an awful pick-six into double coverage, putting the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
There are still two games left on the season, but the Jets have a lot of reason to think that their quarterback of the future is not on the roster.
Chris Ivory: A-
Running against the league's top run defense, Ivory had one of his best days as a Jet. He added 66 yards on 11 carries, including a long 35-yard dash.
For the first time in a while, Ivory got some solid run-blocking to work with and didn't have to break myriad tackles just to get to the line of scrimmage.
Bilal Powell: B
Powell was not quite as effective as Ivory (37 yards on eight carries), but he made defenders miss and was solid in pass protection. He also added another 19 yards on four receptions.
Sheldon Richardson: A+
Here is a stat that sums up the Jets offense: after scoring his first career touchdown on a goal-line carry, Sheldon Richardson has as many touchdowns this season as both Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes.
Santonio Holmes: D
After drawing some controversy with his comments about the Panthers' secondary being the "weak link," Holmes failed to give this supposedly weak unit much trouble. He finished with just two catches for 14 yards, dropping several passes (including a touchdown) in the process.
If Santonio Holmes was not a lock to be released after the season already, he has all but punched his ticket out of town after this showing.
Jeremy Kerley: D
Kerley is usually the one receiver the Jets can rely on for some production, but even he had an "off" day. He did not catch a single pass until late in the fourth quarter.
While he is not working with stellar quarterback play, the Jets need more production from their best receiver.
David Nelson: C
Nelson was the Jets' best wide receiver on the day, reeling in three catches for 44 yards. He made his grabs in contested situations that generated some of the few big passing plays the Jets managed to produce.
Jeff Cumberland: B
Cumberland was quiet for most of the game, but he wound up finishing as the Jets' leading receiver with three catches for 50 yards, including a touchdown.
Most of his yardage, including the touchdown, came in garbage time—which is more of an indictment on the rest of the Jets offense than anything else.
Kellen Winslow: D
Winslow was completely invisible for nearly the entire game. He eventually made one grab late in the fourth quarter for 12 yards.
Pass Protection: C
The pass protection was not quite as bad as the stats say (four sacks on Smith), as there were several instances in which Geno Smith had plenty of time to make throws down the field.
However, their inability to pick up the blitz, as well as some untimely individual lapses, prevented the Jets from being able to sustain drives.
The biggest culprit was rookie Brian Winters, who allowed the vast majority of pressure that Smith felt. He is a liability at left guard and not ready to start, but it is too late in the season to stick him on the bench.
With just two games left, this troublesome area won't be fixed this season, but this is a problem that must be addressed in the offseason.
Considering the fact that they were playing against the league's top run defense (the Panthers stole that title from the Jets last week), the offensive line fared well in the run game.
Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell averaged well over 4.0 yards per carry (6.0 and 4.6, respectively). They had sizable holes to run through and would have had more yards if the score was close for the entire game.
Damon Harrison: B
For a player that has been so dominant all season, this may have been his worst game of the year. The Panthers had some success running the ball at Harrison, as DeAngelo Williams was able to average 5.4 yards per carry.
Harrison's slight decline over the past two weeks may very well be a result of fatigue; the Jets defense is spending a lot of time of the field because of the ineffectiveness of the team's offense.
Kenrick Ellis: B+
For the first time all season, Ellis played (slightly) better than Harrison. He was better at getting leverage and clogging up holes, and he saw a bit more playing time than usual.
Muhammad Wilkerson: B+
Wilkerson did not generate much in the pass-rush department, but he was very effective against the run. His highlight play was a huge tackle for loss on a goal-line stand to keep the Jets in the game.
Sheldon Richardson: A
Is there anything this kid can't do? Not only did he score a touchdown as a fullback, but he was also the superior pass-rusher to Wilkerson (despite not recording a sack) and made a few spectacular plays in the run game, including chasing down Cam Newton from behind.
His stats may not be overly-gaudy, but he has earned the right to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Leger Douzable: B+
Douzable is the lost name in a group filled with superstars, but he has played extremely well when given the chance. He did not jump off the stat sheet on Sunday, but he more than held his own in the run game when given the chance.
David Harris: C+
After a strong start to the season, the veteran linebacker is starting to fade down the stretch. He was slow to react to running plays and was beat to the edge on Williams' long screen reception.
Harris is still a good player between the tackles, but his lack of speed is evident when he is asked to move outside of his comfort zone.
Demario Davis: C+
This was a rather quiet game for Davis. He was not overly effective against the run (five tackles) but was not responsible for any long runs either.
Calvin Pace: B
Somehow, Calvin Pace managed to fall into his ninth sack of the season, setting a new career-high. He was not quite as stout in the run game, however, as the Panthers were able to break a few runs off the edge.
Quinton Coples: A-
This was Coples' best game of the season, as he continues to improve with each passing week. With one sack, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed, Coples was one of the best Jets on the field against the Panthers.
By now, it is safe to say that Coples is back to his old self, building upon the success of his rookie season.
Antonio Cromartie: C+
Despite being forced into the lineup with a hip injury, Cromartie at least held his own for most of the afternoon. He allowed a few completions, but he avoided any deep passes from flying over his head.
It may have been ill-advised, but he deserves credit for toughing it out and staying in the lineup as long as possible.
Dee Milliner: B-
This game was a mixed bag for the rookie. For the most part, Milliner was solid in coverage, only allowing some shorter completions to Steve Smith.
However, he will be most remembered for being sealed off on the long screen pass to DeAngelo Williams, which resulted in a touchdown because of his inability to get off a block.
Still, the Jets have to be pleased with how the rookie has played over the last two weeks.
Darrin Walls: C
Walls got a bit more playing time than usual because Cromartie left the game for a few snaps, but he did not exactly shine in the spotlight. He whiffed badly when making a tackle, turning a short completion into a first down.
Kyle Wilson: C-
After stringing together a bunch of solid performances, Wilson was at his worst on Sunday. The Panthers picked on him early and often, mostly with Greg Olsen on deep corner routes.
Dawan Landry: C-
In terms of coverage, this may have been Landry's worst game of the season. He was victimized by Greg Olsen on several occasions in one-on-one coverage and was late when reacting to deep passes thrown in his direction.
Ed Reed: C-
Reed did not allow any huge passing plays to fly over his head, but he was fooled badly on the long touchdown screen pass to DeAngelo Williams. The Panthers were noticeably throwing in his direction for a significant portion of the game, and Reed was unable to make any pass breakups.
Antonio Allen: B-
For reasons no one can comprehend, Allen was relegated to his role as a part-time player, and the Jets' secondary paid a heavy price as a result. When he was in the game on Sunday, however, he limited the effectiveness of Greg Olsen, which only raises more questions as to why he was not in the game for longer stretches.
Nick Folk: A-
Folk had yet another strong game between the uprights, hitting his season-high 54-yard attempt with ease, in addition to hitting another 33-yard attempt.
However, he deserves a "minus" for his hapless onside-kick attempt, which had no chance of going the required 10 yards before being easily snatched up by a Panther.
Ryan Quigley: B+
One of Quigley's punts was blocked, but it was hardly his fault—the opposing player was right in his face because of a blown protection assignment.
Otherwise, he had a solid day of punting that did not allow the dangerous Ted Ginn to generate any significant returns.
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