Identifying the New York Jets' 5 Biggest Flaws Ahead of 2014 Season
The New York Jets are back on the upswing following a couple years of futility and heartbreak.
General manager John Idzik and Co. have built a team full of young, talented players and smart, savvy veterans—a perfect combination for a postseason contender.
However, while New York boasts talent throughout its re-invigorated roster, the squad has several holes on both sides of the ball.
These flaws could end up costing the Jets tremendously this upcoming season, and unfortunately, it's too late in the offseason to address most of them.
Click through to see the five biggest weaknesses on New York's roster.
5. Offensive Tackle Depth
New York may have lost up-and-coming right tackle Austin Howard to the Oakland Raiders in free agency, but they brought in a capable replacement in former Seahawk Breno Giacomini.
Giacomini is a tough player with an attitude, and if he can avoid racking up too many penalties, he should form a solid starting tackle duo with veteran D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
However, if either Giacomini or Ferguson were to catch the injury bug, the Jets would be in a serious bind.
Gang Green only has three other tackles on the current roster (Ben Ijalana, Patrick Ford and Markus Zusevics) and none of them are capable of manning a starting job.
Ijalana is a former second-round bust who's torn his ACL twice in the last three seasons and has only appeared in four NFL games.
Ford and Zusevics went undrafted and have never stepped on a football field when it's mattered.
Jets fans better hope that Giacomini and Ferguson stay healthy, or else quarterback Geno Smith might spend a good portion of the season on the turf.
4. Defensive Line Depth
Depth is also a serious concern along the defensive line for head coach Rex Ryan and Co.
Although the starting line is considered Gang Green's strongest positional unit, as it consists of Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson, the backup ranks are in serious need of a makeover.
New York has seven backups on its expanded roster right now, but three of them are undrafted free agents and one has little chance of making the team.
The other three, Kenrick Ellis, Leger Douzable and Tevita Finau, are capable in limited playing time, but none would be successful in an expanded role.
The Jets will have one of the best defensive fronts in football for years to come, but the franchise better hope that none of its three stars up front suffer an injury in 2014.
3. Both Starting Guard Positions
While the Jets have stability at center and left tackle, and have a decent starter at right tackle, the team has some serious concerns on the interior of the offensive line.
The two starting guard spots are currently occupied by second-year man Brian Winters and veteran Willie Colon.
Winters was downright awful in his rookie year, allowing 10 sacks and ranking among the worst starting guards in the league. Colon was solid, but he's coming off a serious injury and is still a question mark.
Additionally, New York doesn't have any players on the roster capable of stepping up into the starting job if Winters really struggles or Colon fails to recover from his injury correctly.
Idzik would be smart to pick up a veteran before the season starts, or else the team could be in some serious trouble in the trenches this year.
2. No. 2 Wide Receiver
New York made a valiant effort to improve the receiving corps with the additions of Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford in free agency. It also added Shaq Evans and Jalen Saunders in the middle rounds of the draft.
While Decker can man the No. 1 receiving job, the Jets currently don't have anyone on the roster who looks poised to step up and emerge as the No. 2 guy.
Stephen Hill has dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career. Jeremy Kerley is better left for the slot. David Nelson is more of a No. 3 or No. 4 option. Ford is a more effective returner than receiver, and the rookies just aren't far along enough in their development to make that big of an impact in their first NFL seasons.
Unless Hill can shock all of us and live up to his physical talents, the Jets could lack the secondary weapon on the outside that they need to take opposing defenders' focus off Decker.
That's not good for the development of Smith.
1. No. 2 Cornerback
All of New York's previous flaws don't even come close to the hole that is at the No. 2 cornerback spot.
The Jets have Dee Milliner on one side, and I believe the former first-round pick will emerge as a star in his second season.
However, they have no one capable of playing opposite him.
Dimitri Patterson struggles in man-to-man coverage and has suffered nagging injuries throughout his career. Kyle Wilson has never lived up to his first-round draft status and is better used as a nickel back. Darrin Walls probably boasts the best chance to be successful, but even he's a huge question mark in expanded playing time.
A great secondary has been a staple of the Jets defense in the Ryan era, but it's not looking like that will be the case in 2014, even with Milliner and Calvin Pryor back there.