Labor Day weekend always brings mixed feelings. On one hand, for people who live in cities like my hometown of Chicago, it’s the last gasp of summer. It’s the final chance for boat rides or BBQs before the crushing winter begins to set in. On the other hand, it means football is finally here.
The season kicks off in a few short days, and to celebrate, I’m rolling out my annual preseason power rankings, just like I’ve done every year since The Ringer launched in 2016. The 2019 edition is a bit odd, in the sense that there aren’t many teams that feel like out-and-out disasters. Except the Dolphins, that is. But at least that’s on purpose! The Jets and Raiders have notably flawed rosters, but also spent plenty of money this offseason trying to fix their problems. With Kyler Murray on offense, the Cardinals could be one of the more intriguing teams in the league. And of course, there’s the Always Fascinating New York Giants. There aren’t all that many guaranteed duds this season, but somebody’s got to be at the bottom.
Over the next four days, I’ll be breaking down all 32 teams into four tiers. These rankings are based heavily on a team’s roster with relevant predictions about scheme and coaching changes (elements that are much more difficult to project) worked into the mix. The goal is to make this a comprehensive look at the league as we start another season. So to kick things off, here are the eight teams I have the least hope for in 2019.
32. Miami Dolphins
2018 record: 7-9
2018 Football Outsiders’ DVOA: 26th on offense; 25th on defense
Best-case scenario: It’s tough to decipher what the Dolphins’ brass would consider the “best” outcome for 2019. Miami’s front office, along with first-year coach Brian Flores, began a full-scale rebuild this offseason unlike any the league has seen since Sashi Brown’s experiment in Cleveland. General manager Chris Grier purged the roster on both sides of the ball, starting by trading quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Titans (and eating $18.4 million in dead money to do it) and ending with a rash of cuts this month that included T.J. McDonald, Jordan Mills, and Akeem Spence. The Dolphins also traded left tackle Laremy Tunsil to Houston this weekend, which doesn’t make sense even for a rebuilding team—but it’s a sign of just how thoroughly Grier and Miami’s ownership want to tear this down and start over.
When the Dolphins traded a second-round pick for Josh Rosen during this year’s draft, it seemed like they might have snagged a QB of the future for a fraction of the traditional price— but as it stands right now, Rosen may not get a chance to prove he’s worth that status. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the team’s starting quarterback, and even if Rosen does eventually get a shot to start, the odds that this offense can even function with its current personnel (especially along the offensive line), let alone operate well enough for him to sway Miami’s front office are slim. At this point, it’s time to embrace the Fish Tank and hope a 2-14 record leads to drafting someone like Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and starting the next chapter of the franchise.
Worst-case scenario: Considering the goal here is to be terrible, the only dreaded outcome for Miami is winning too many games. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick might just be the guy who can make that happen. If Fitzmagic drags this team to five or six wins, that might mean suffering through another brutal season without much hope as the Dolphins wait to figure out their QB situation in 2021.
Stat of note: Zero. That’s how many combined games the Dolphins’ starting guards have played in the NFL. Miami is rolling with rookie third-round pick Michael Deiter on the left side and rookie undrafted free agent Shaq Calhoun on the right. Former undrafted free agent Jesse Davis, who was waived by two different teams upon entering the league in 2016, is the starting right tackle. It’s a strong bet that Miami will easily have the worst offensive line in football this season.
Breakout player: Christian Wilkins. Finding a breakout candidate in this smoldering pile of rubble is a challenge, but the former Clemson defensive tackle is probably the best bet. Wilkins has all the characteristics of an effective, disruptive three-technique tackle, and by all accounts could be a guy to build a franchise around.
31. Washington Redskins
2018 record: 7-9
2018 DVOA: 28th on offense; 20th on defense
Best-case scenario: It’s hard to find a franchise more lost than the Redskins. The Dolphins will be bad, sure, but at least Miami has some semblance of a plan. Washington doesn’t seem to have any idea where it wants to go, let alone how to get there. This offseason, the franchise gave safety Landon Collins a six-year, $84 million deal (with $44 million guaranteed) before cutting both starting linebackers to save money against the cap. Every step forward also involves two steps back.
The exception might be quarterback Dwayne Haskins, whom the Redskins drafted 15th overall this spring. Washington was thrown unexpectedly into the quarterback market after Alex Smith’s horrible leg injury last season, and now may finally have a long-term answer at the sport’s most important position. The question is how they’ll handle Haskins’s rookie season. It was clear during the preseason that Haskins needs a bit more time to get acclimated to the NFL game, which led head coach Jay Gruden to name stopgap signing Case Keenum the starter in late August. The ideal outcome for the rookie might be spending half the year behind Keenum before taking over in November. If Haskins and a young core of skill-position players like running back Derrius Guice and wide receiver Terry McLaurin can get some time together down the stretch and show some promise, the Washington front office may feel better about their 2020 chances.
On defense, the range of outcomes is much smaller. The strength of this roster is its front four, which has the potential to be a real problem for opposing offensive lines. Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis make for a nasty trio of interior defenders. The hope is first-round pick Montez Sweat can team up with stalwart pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan to give Washington a similarly frightening pair of edge rushers. The team’s linebacking corps and secondary still have holes, but this unit has a relatively high floor.
Worst-case scenario: Bottoming out would almost certainly cost Gruden his job, but that wouldn’t necessarily be the worst outcome for the franchise’s long-term health. At this point, the only truly disastrous result this season would be Haskins’s growth being stunted. That could happen if he gets forced into action too fast (should Keenum get hurt, Haskins would be the only option as Colt McCoy continues his rehab from a leg injury) or the team’s current infrastructure ends up being as bad as it seems. Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams appears dead set on continuing his absence from the team, and Washington’s starting left guard is human turnstile Ereck Flowers. If the Redskins’ pass-protection issues and lack of experience in their pass-catching group make it a risk for Haskins to play at all his rookie year, Washington might be better off leaving him on the bench and planning ahead for next season.
Stat of note: 42.6 percent. That was Keenum’s completion percentage under pressure last season, which ranked 26th among 30 qualified QBs, according to Pro Football Focus. With the Vikings in 2017, Keenum led the league in that metric at 55.7 percent. It’s almost as if the playmaking success and bit of luck Keenum had with Minnesota that season wasn’t sustainable long term.
Breakout player: Sweat. Washington’s duo of former Alabama inside linemen are already too established to be considered breakout candidates, and the team will likely bring Guice along slowly as he recovers from an ACL tear. Sweat should see some snaps from the get-go, and he has the rare physical tools to flash immediately when given the chance opposite Kerrigan.
30. Arizona Cardinals
2018 record: 3-13
2018 DVOA: 32nd on offense; 17th on defense
Best-case scenario: There’s a significant disconnect between how good the Cardinals will probably be in 2019 and how excited people should be to watch them in Week 1. With Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury in place, seemingly anything could happen: On one hand, the offense could be a complete and utter flop; but on the other, Murray could be a star and Kingsbury could be the guru the Cardinals organization promised him to be. Arizona’s goal this year will be to prove the risks it took on its diminutive QB and unproven head coach were worth it. If that involves throwing the ball 70 percent of the time and playing a wide-open brand of offense unlike anything the league has seen before, that’s just an added bonus. Kingsbury will also try to develop his young core of pass catchers, which Arizona has spent considerable draft capital on in the past two years. Second-year receiver Christian Kirk is the most likely candidate to take a leap, but flashes from second-round pick Andy Isabella—who’s struggled to make an impact during training camp—would also be encouraging.
Worst-case scenario: If Murray and Kingsbury fall flat in year one, the defense certainly won’t save the day. Patrick Peterson is suspended for the first six games of the season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy, and Arizona is worryingly thin at cornerback—and there are questions at every other level of the defense, too. Free-agent signings like Terrell Suggs and Jordan Hicks should help matters a bit, but even if the Cardinals offense clicks from the start, they’ll likely be involved in plenty of shootouts.
The defense’s performance is really beside the point, though. Judgement on the 2019 campaign will solely be based on the success (or failure) of Murray, Kingsbury, and the offense. If that group thrives and Murray looks like a star, this offseason’s choices will be hailed as a success. If Kingsbury’s group never finds its footing, then this team is in serious trouble.
Stat of note: 3.7 percent. That was Texas Tech’s sack rate during the past five seasons under Kingsbury, which ranked fourth in FBS over that stretch, according to Establish the Run’s Evan Silva. Kingsbury’s offense is built to get rid of the ball quickly, which should help Arizona’s recently remade offensive line.
Breakout player: Murray. I mean, who else could it possibly be? The no. 1 pick from this year’s draft is stepping into the same system that helped him win the Heisman Trophy last season. If Kingsbury’s offense will function at the NFL level, Murray should be the right QB to guide it.
29. Cincinnati Bengals
2018 record: 6-10
2018 DVOA: 19th on offense; 27th on defense
Best-case scenario: The 2019 Bengals are at something of a crossroads. After a decade and a half with Marvin Lewis at the helm, the franchise decided to finally move on this offseason. Superstar wide receiver A.J. Green is nursing a foot injury and is on the last year of his deal. Quarterback Andy Dalton will be 32 years old next season and will have no dead money remaining on his contract. This could be the final year that this iteration of the Bengals is together, and if that’s the case, then this season is really about gauging whether first-year head coach Zac Taylor is the right man to lead the organization into the future. If Taylor, who served as the Rams quarterbacks coach last season, can put together a capable offense with Dalton under center, it’ll be a promising sign that he’ll be able to pilot next year’s unit no matter which direction Cincinnati decides to go. Even without Green, who’s expected to miss the first few games of the season, the Bengals still have a reasonable amount of pass-catching talent with Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, and (if he can stay healthy) Tyler Eifert. Right now, Taylor’s ability to produce with those players is paramount, because he’s the only major piece of the offense that’s all but guaranteed to be back next season.
Worst-case scenario: Losing first-round pick Jonah Williams to a torn labrum in late June was the worst start the Bengals could have imagined—and it’s led to a domino effect up front. Williams’s injury forced the Bengals to move Cordy Glenn back to left tackle, which makes Cincinnati weaker at two positions. Rookie fourth-round pick Michael Jordan will now start next to Glenn. Last year’s first-round pick, center Billy Price, was also recently beat out in training camp by career backup Trey Hopkins. And things don’t get much better on the right side, where the Bengals brought back uninspiring option Bobby Hart to play tackle. The scheme Taylor took from Sean McVay in Los Angeles has a history of helping alleviate troubles along the offensive line, but even that may not be enough for this group.
About a month after Williams went down, Cincinnati also lost the best player on its offense when Green injured his foot on a lackluster practice surface in Dayton, Ohio. We don’t need to imagine what the Bengals offense looks like without Green because we’ve seen it plenty during the past couple seasons. Again, it’s possible Taylor and the new offense can lean on Boyd and Mixon to tread water until Green returns, but this unit could really struggle as it settles into its first year in an unfamiliar scheme.
In the past, Cincinnati’s defense—led by Lewis—could carry the team, but that just won’t be the case this season. Overall, this group—which is now led by first-time defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo—is solid but unspectacular. The trio of Geno Atkins, Carl Lawson, and Carlos Dunlap gives Cincinnati a solid collection of players up front. William Jackson III and Jessie Bates III are both young building blocks in the secondary. But the ceiling here is probably a middle-of-the-road finish. Even with a new coaching staff in place, there just isn’t much to be excited about with this team.
Stat of note: Four. That’s the number of top-60 picks the Bengals have spent on offensive linemen since 2015. None of them will be starting for Cincinnati in Week 1.
Breakout player: Bates. As a rookie last season, Bates had his share of ups and downs, but there were plenty of moments that pointed to his potential in coverage. Hopefully, with a full offseason under his belt, he’ll be a more consistent presence in 2019.
28. New York Giants
2018 record: 5-11
2018 DVOA: 13th on offense; 24th on defense
Best-case scenario: This probably depends on who you ask. If the question was posed to ownership, the answer would likely involve Eli Manning having a bounceback season before officially handing the team to Daniel Jones next year. For most rational Giants fans, I assume it would be installing Jones as soon as possible and seeing how far the offense can go with him at the controls. A revamped offensive line could help fully unleash Saquon Barkley, and a healthy Evan Engram could be an effective focal point of the Giants’ passing game. That may be enough for his group to be fine with Manning at quarterback. But the Giants made a franchise-altering move this spring by drafting Jones sixth overall, and at some point, it’d be nice to see him get the chance to, ya know, alter the franchise.
Unlike in years past, this team’s infrastructure isn’t a risky place to put a young quarterback. The investment the Giants made into their offensive line during the past two years may not match the returns, but adding players like Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers to a group that already featured Nate Solder does give head coach Pat Shurmur two more proven players up front (and in Remmers’s case, on a palatable one-year, $2.5 million deal). Losing Odell Beckham Jr. is obviously a major blow, but if Sterling Shepard can return from the broken thumb he suffered early in the preseason and Golden Tate can hit the ground running after his four-game suspension ends, there’s enough receiving talent on this team to sustain a decent passing game. If things break right, Manning could probably pilot this group to an average finish and a record that approaches .500. But it’d be far more exciting for the Giants’ long-term prospects to see Jones do the same.
Worst-case scenario: Doom for Giants fans would be watching Manning drag down an otherwise decent group of offensive talent while Jones sits on the sideline and the defense gets decimated. The QB drama with this team will get all the headlines and air time in New York, but coordinator James Bettcher’s unit is far more concerning. Prying Zeitler from the Browns meant giving up defensive end Olivier Vernon, who finished with a team-leading 46 disrupted dropbacks last season. Without Vernon, the Giants are woefully thin up front and have almost no teeth to their pass rush. At 342 pounds, first-round pick Dexter Lawrence won’t solve that problem, even if he’s effective in other areas. The situation doesn’t get much better at linebacker, which is particularly troubling because Alec Ogletree will carry a cap hit of $11.8 million this season. Of all the … interesting moves general manager Dave Gettleman has made in his year and a half with the Giants, trading fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Rams for Ogletree may be the worst. It’s possible that rookie cornerback Deandre Baker, safety Jabrill Peppers (who the Giants got in the deal for Beckham), and a reengaged Janoris Jenkins can help turn the Giants’ secondary into a strength, but it’s hard to imagine this unit as a whole being very good in 2019.
Stat of note: 77. That’s the number of pressures tallied last season by the combination of Markus Golden, Kareem Martin, and B.J. Hill—who should make up three-quarters of the Giants’ nickel pass-rush unit in 2019. It’s also one less than the number league-leader Dee Ford recorded by himself.
Breakout player: Baker. The first-round pick suffered a knee sprain in mid-August that gave the Giants a temporary scare, but it’s reportedly not serious. Baker was a proven man-coverage corner at Georgia, and if the Giants have to blitz as often as it seems like they will, they’ll need to feel comfortable leaving their outside corners without a lot of help.
27. Detroit Lions
2018 record: 6-10
2018 DVOA: 23rd on offense; 29th on defense
Best-case scenario: In his year and a half on the job, Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia has made a painstaking effort to reshape this team to fit his run-heavy, defense-driven ideals. Now it’s time to find out if that was all worth it. The strength of this roster is absolutely the defensive line. After trading for Snacks Harrison mid-season and transforming their run defense in the process—the Lions handed former Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers a five-year, $90 million deal in free agency and also signed former Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels when he was cut by Green Bay in July. Adding that duo to Harrison and 2018 surprise success Da’Shawn Hand gives Detroit one of the more talented and well-rounded defensive fronts in the entire league.
The rest of the Lions defense is a bit more unsettled, but there’s a scenario in which a few things fall into place and this group turns a corner. Second-round linebacker Jahlani Tavai is the type of versatile second-level player Patricia loved in New England, and free-agent cornerback Justin Coleman gives Detroit a reliable option in the slot. And the Lions are hoping Rashaan Melvin, whom they signed on a relatively risk-free $2.2 million deal, can regain his 2017 form as the outside corner opposite superstar Darius Slay. It’s a new-look group for Detroit this year, and the Lions want the results to look that way, too.
The offense has undergone a transformation during the past two offseasons, and the unit’s approach under first-year coordinator Darrell Bevell should be considerably different than what Detroit did with Jim Bob Cooter. After signing tight end Jesse James in free agency, the Lions spent this year’s eighth overall pick on Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. Detroit’s direction seems to indicate they’re looking to get bigger and become more run-focused with second-year back Kerryon Johnson, who looked excellent as a rookie last year before missing the final six games of the season with a knee injury. If the Lions can mix an effective ground game with some scattered play-action shots to Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and their pair of tight ends, the dramatically different strategy on offense could be a positive …
Worst-case scenario: … but there are reasons to be skeptical. If the past few seasons have taught us anything about how to create an effective running game in the NFL, it’s that throwing more big bodies onto the field isn’t the answer. The Rams thrived on the ground recently in large part because they took tight ends off the field. The Lions seem to want to do the opposite. Matthew Stafford also isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of play-action success: He ranked dead last in play-action percentage among qualified QBs in two of the past three seasons. That may be a product of the Lions’ scheme and lack of running game, but it still doesn’t bode well for a team planning to lean more on play-action concepts in 2019.
As for all those potential positive breaks on defense, they could just as easily go the other way. If Tavai doesn’t end up being an immediate contributor, the Lions are woefully thin at linebacker, and Melvin may not be the answer opposite Slay. This defense should be much better this season, but if the offense turns into a run-heavy slog, it won’t be enough to drag this team to the finish it wants.
Stat of note: 150. That’s how many snaps the Lions used 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends, and two receivers) on in 2018. That accounted for 15 percent of their offensive plays, which was lower than the league average of 17 percent. Even with slot receiver Danny Amendola coming to the team in free agency, expect that number to be a lot higher in 2019.
Breakout player: Hand. He finished with only three sacks as a rookie, but the Alabama product showed plenty of versatility along the defensive line. He’s surrounded by talent up front, and should get a lot of one-on-one chances in year two.
26. Oakland Raiders
2018 record: 4-12
2018 DVOA: 25th on offense; 30th on defense
Best-case scenario: The Raiders’ path to relevance is fairly straightforward. Head coach Jon Gruden’s team spent a small fortune this offseason adding talent to its offense and providing Derek Carr with a supporting cast who can lift him back to his 2016 form. That haul started with Antonio Brown, who is one of the best offensive players in football when he has a helmet and two working feet. At the height of his powers, Brown is a transformative talent, a player who reconfigures the geometry of an entire defense and elevates both his quarterback and fellow receivers just by stepping onto the field. And while the trade for Brown may have been the start of Oakland’s overhaul, it was hardly the end. The Raiders also handed former Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams a four-year, $44.3 million deal (one that includes no guaranteed money after this season). They spent a fifth-round pick on former Clemson stalwart Hunter Renfrow, who profiles as the team’s starting slot receiver. Athletic tight end Darren Waller played only four games last season after missing 2017 due to a suspension for repeated substance issue violations, but is a popular pick to burst onto the scene. This group looks much different than it did last season, and all that turnover could lead to a renaissance for Carr and this passing offense.
Oakland also made substantial moves to update its personnel up front and in the backfield. The Raiders handed former Patriots tackle Trent Brown a four-year, $66 million deal with $36.3 million guaranteed in the first two years. General manager Mike Mayock brought in Richie Incognito to start at left guard. Pro Bowl fixture Rodney Hudson just signed a three-year, $33.75 million deal that made him the highest-paid center in football in terms of average annual value. There are legitimate questions about 2018 first-round pick Kolton Miller’s viability at left tackle and right guard Gabe Jackson’s health after he suffered a knee injury in early August, but this group is undeniably improved. And they’ll be paving the way for first-round running back Josh Jacobs, who should give the Raiders a dual-threat, high-volume back from the start.
There’s talent here! The Raiders spent enough this offseason to guarantee that. The question is whether Carr can take full advantage of it. Carr was tied for the lowest average depth of target in the league last season at 6.7 yards. If he’s unwilling to push the ball downfield with this group of receivers, Oakland will fall well short of its offensive potential. But if he can fully utilize deep threats like Brown and Williams, this offense could reach a gear that few anticipate.
Worst-case scenario: If Carr struggles and the offense lags, this season could be yet another disaster in Oakland. This defense still has a long way to go. The Raiders used this year’s fourth overall pick on Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, and they’ll lean on the rookie in a big way this season. Arden Key, the team’s 2018 third-round pick, could take a step forward in his second season, but this team is desperately hurting for pass rushers.
The linebacking corps also lacks much high-end talent, and that prompted Oakland to take a chance on Vontaze Burfict this offseason. Safety figures to be a strength with Karl Joseph and first-round pick Johnathan Abram patrolling the back end and nickel and free-agent signee Lamarcus Joyner sliding in as the slot cornerback. But cornerback remains a concern if 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley can’t build on a somewhat promising second season. Even if the Raiders get some unexpected contributions from their younger players, this unit still has too many holes to get very far. The offense will either have to carry Oakland this season, or the Raiders may be looking for a new QB in 2020.
Stat of note: 3.5 percent. That was the Raiders’ adjusted sack rate last season, which ranked dead last in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. The gap between the Raiders and the Dolphins, who ranked 28th, was almost the same as the gap between the Dolphins and Vikings, who led the league at 9.3 percent.
Breakout player: Jacobs. He’s by far the no. 1 option in the backfield, and it’d be a surprise to see any other backs on the roster cut into his touches. Drafting any running back in the first round is dubious, but he should give this team a boost as both a runner and receiver in 2019.
25. New York Jets
2018 record: 4-12
2018 DVOA: 29th on offense; 21st on defense
Best-case scenario: If Sam Darnold can be anything close to the quarterback he was late in his rookie year for the majority of this season, Jets fans will celebrate in the street. After returning from injury in Week 14, Darnold averaged 8.05 adjusted yards per attempt and completed 64 percent of his passes. Nothing about his early rookie-season performance should discourage fans from thinking he’s the answer, and the Jets made a point to add talent to their pass-catching group this offseason to support their young QB. The big name in that group is obviously Le’Veon Bell, but Jamison Crowder should give Darnold yet another option in the short to intermediate areas of the field. Plus, possession receiver Quincy Enunwa and vertical option Robby Anderson give the Jets a varied collection of skill sets. Add tight end Chris Herndon to the mix after he returns from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and this receiving corps gets interesting in a hurry.
But no matter who he’s throwing to, Darnold is the key to the Jets’ hopes in 2019 and beyond. If he can take a significant step this fall and enter into the same tier as other talented young passers like Baker Mayfield, that will do more for this offense than any personnel moves could.
Worst-case scenario: First-year coach Adam Gase’s unremarkable three-year tenure with the Dolphins gives little reason to think he’s the right man to guide the Jets’ relatively promising future, or get the most out of Darnold. Yet the franchise still decided to hand him temporary personnel control on top of his coaching duties after former general manager Mike Maccagnan was fired in May. (The team has since hired former Eagles executive Joe Douglas.)
Outside of Gase and a stunted year from Darnold, the other area that could hold this team back is the offensive line. The hope is that Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele can have a bounceback year after escaping the clutches of Tom Cable with the Raiders. And the Jets finally addressed their hole at the center position by coaxing Ryan Kalil out of retirement—though that signing is more about providing Darnold with a veteran presence than anything. This group still has a major hole at right tackle, and left tackle Kelvin Beachum isn’t the best option on the other side.
Then there’s the defense. Former Browns coordinator and perpetual yeller Gregg Williams takes over a unit with plenty of talent on the interior of the defensive line and not much else. Leonard Williams, third overall pick Quinnen Williams, and Henry Anderson will give teams plenty of trouble, but this unit doesn’t have much in the way of edge talent. That would seem to mesh well with Williams’s blitz-heavy scheme, but the Jets’ corners likely won’t do well without much help—outside of the severely overpaid yet serviceable Trumaine Johnson, this team’s cornerback depth is rough. Jamal Adams is still a superstar on the back end, though that will make it only more depressing when Williams starts lining him up 25 yards behind the line of scrimmage for no reason. To fortify the linebacking corps, the Jets signed the solid C.J. Mosley to a market-setting deal, which was roundly panned by everyone in the football world. That’s always good.
Stat of note: 32nd. That’s where the Jets ranked on second-and-long runs last season by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, according to the FO Almanac. Teams shouldn’t run the ball on second-and-long, but when they do, it should gain more than the 3.5 yards per carry the Jets averaged. No matter the price tag, Bell is a massive backfield upgrade.
Breakout player: Quinnen Williams. The rookie isn’t technically listed as a starter as the Jets enter the season, but he’s simply got too much talent to be held down for long. The combination of him and Leonard Williams on the inside will be a blast.