New York Jets: Darrelle Revis and the Midseason Award Winners
Still somehow, with a 4-3 record, the Jets are right in the thick of the AFC playoff race.
The Jets' two-game winning streak is an optimistic sight, but dramatic changes will still need to be made if the Jets plan to be playing football in January.
Mark Sanchez is going to need to continue improving—and faster for the sake of Jets fans everywhere. His numbers are far better than people will give him credit for; still there needs to be some better play from the third-year quarterback.
The run defense needs to step up as well, allowing more rushing yards than ever under coach Rex Ryan and an NFL-leading nine rushing touchdowns.
Luckily, the Jets have a week to gather themselves and prepare for the toughest part of their 2011 schedule yet.
While they do that, let’s look at the Jets’ midseason award winners.
Most Improved: Nick Folk, Kicker
In his second season as the New York Jets kicker, Nick Folk looks like the polar opposite of the kicker he has been for the past two seasons with the Jets and Dallas Cowboys.
Folk, a former NFC Pro Bowler, has made 10-of-10 field goals attempted after making just over 71 percent of his field goals between 2009 and 2010.
Folk is amongst just six other kickers who have yet to miss a field goal through seven weeks in the NFL.
His success this season adds some solidarity to a team that is already sixth in red-zone scoring. If Folk’s success continues, the Jets should have no trouble racking up points.
Player Who Must Step Up: Shonn Greene, RB
The New York Jets let former running back Thomas Jones go following the '09 season following an impressive performance by Shonn Greene during the AFC playoffs. Their hopes were that in due time, Greene would be capable of carrying the load as the No. 1 back.
They picked up LaDainian Tomlinson that offseason to split the carries with Greene, but Greene has had high expectations on him these past two seasons.
Unfortunately, Shonn Greene has yet to really pan out to be the back they hoped he would be. Greene started out well last season, as did his counterpart Tomlinson, but both fizzled towards the end of the year.
This season Greene was handed the reigns as the starting running back. Still he has not met the expectations placed on him once again, currently rushing for just 3.8 yards per carry on the year.
For the Jets to have a successful season, Greene is going to need to step it up in the second half of the season or prepare to be replaced in the offseason.
Top Rookie: Muhammad Wilkerson, DL
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has not put up mind-blowing numbers quite yet, but his contributions on the field go beyond his statistics.
Wilkerson had what was possibly his biggest game to date, racking up a five-tackle performance in the Jets’ 27-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers.
The end out of Temple has been the most impressive rookie amongst the small group on the Jets roster currently getting some playing time—and right now he looks like a great pickup at No. 30 overall this past draft.
Offensive MVP: Plaxico Burress, WR
It’s hard to ask for much more from Plaxico Burress than what he has alrady given the New York Jets to this point in the season.
After two seasons out of the NFL, and in prison, Burress has been everything the Jets had hoped, and more.
While the man has had some trouble keeping his mouth shut—not news to anyone who has followed the receiver's career—Burress has made a great red zone to offset the Jets' top receiver, Santonio Holmes.
Burress posted good numbers in the first six games of the season, but his breakout, three-touchdown performance against San Diego has made him the most dangerous target the Jets have in the red zone.
With no real standout player on offense, Burress’ big day makes him an easy choice and a player to keep an eye on in the second half.
Defensive MVP: Darrelle Revis, CB
Darrelle Revis is a man among boys right now. There is not a cornerback in the league on his level; there is not a wide receiver in the league who can give him a hard time.
Revis had a quiet season in 2010, but don’t let that mislead you—Revis is just too dangerous to pass in his direction. Quarterbacks did all they could to avoid throwing at him, and this season is the perfect example why.
Revis is tied for second in the NFL with four interceptions, including one he took 100 yards for a score against the Miami Dolphins.
He has kept the league’s best receivers on lockdown, including Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin, Miami’s Brandon Marshall, and most recently, San Diego’s Vincent Jackson.
The Jets’ defensive success relies on Revis’ success at corner, and right now, nobody can beat him.
As long as Revis continues to play at his current level, and remains healthy, the Jets are a great bet to fight their way into the AFC playoffs.