Wednesday, July 6, 2016

New York Jets All Career-Year Team

By John Turney
We at Pro Football Journal are trying to pick the best individual seasons in the history of each franchise, which we will continue today with the New York Jets. By "Career-year" we mean the best performances at each position, with the following rule: Only one season per player per position. For example, here, we cannot pick Joe Namath’s best two seasons and use both QB slots.

Here is the team, First-teams on left, Second-teams on right:
Sowell was a Pro Bowler and Cascadden was an alternate so we went with them. Honorable mentions go to Chris Burkett was voted as the team MVP in 1991 (H/T to JWL of PFWA on that one) largely for his special teams play. He was second on the team with tackles (13 and blocked a punt). Also HM for Ken Rose, who in 1988 was an excellent STer with 17 tackles and had 5 sacks as the nickel linebacker who specialized in blitzes. 

With the kickers, we went more by honors than statistics due to the changing nature of the kicking game. There is no way Turner's or Leahy's kicking percentages would be acceptable today, but at the time they were All-Pro and All-AFL performers. Ditto for the punters. But we give an HM to Steve Weatherford's 2010 season when he had a fine 38.1 net average and 42 punts inside the 20 with only 4 touchbacks.
For the returners, to us the most impressive thing is the touchdowns and honors, then the return averages and in the Jets team history we think Moss and Washington get the top slots. In 2007 Washington returned three kicks to the house and in 2002 returned  25 punts for 413 yards and a 16.5 average, taking two of them back for scores.

Speaking of slots we are going with Chrebet's 1997 season as the slot receiver, followed by Moss in 2002. The other offensive specialists are Bruce Harper and Leon Washington. Harper defined the 3rd down back, someone who could come in and catch a pass on 3rd and short and also run a draw or block enough to help the 3rd down offensive package. He was also a fine returner of both kicks and punts so he gets an honorable mention there, too, behind Moss, Washington, Christy and Miller.

Our starting receivers are Maynard, 1968, and Toon, 1986. Maynard has many fine years, but we thought 1968 was his best. We went with Wesley Walker's 1978 season, which is the best 'deep' season for a Jet WR when he averaged 24.4 yards per catch and was All-Pro. Keyshawn Johnson edged Art Powell's 1960 Titan season for the fourth slot. Powell gets an honorable mention for 1960 as does George Sauer for 1967. Powell's 1962 and Sauer's 1968 were also excellent.
The tight end seasons are, in order Rich Caster, 1972,  Mickey Shuler, 1988, and for honorable mention, it is Pete Lammons, 1967.

The running backs were very difficult, not picking the good seasons but ordering them. We are going with Curtis Martin, 2004, and Freeman McNeil, 1982, for the First-team and Matt Snell, 1964, and Thomas Jones, 2008, for the Second-teams. Our honorable mentions are LaDainian Tomlinson, 2011,  John Riggins, 1975, and Bill Mathis, 1961.

For the fullbacks, we liked Richie Anderson, 2000, over Lorenzo Neal's (there is that name again), 1997 season. Johnny Hector, 1988, is an honorable mention.
The offensive line is center Nick Mangold, 2009, guards Dave Herman, 1968, and Alan Faneca, 2008, and the tackles are Winston Hill, 1969, and Marvin Powell, 1979.  Backing them up are Kevin Mawae, 2001 (center), Randy Rasmussen, 1979, Bob Mischak, 1961 (guards), and  D'Brickshaw Ferguson, 2010 Sherman Plunkett, 1966 (tackles). The honorable mention o-linemen are center Joe Fields, 1982, and guard Dan Alexander, 1985.
For Namath, we chose his 1968 season where he garners some MVP/Player of the Year Awards and won the Super Bowl, though his stats were not near his 4,000-yard season of 1967. Oddly, after Namath beat the Colts in Super Bowl III he didn't beat a winning team until late in 1974 when the Jets beat the Dolphins. Backing up Namath is Vinny Testaverde, 1998. We chose just two honorable mentions:  Ken O'Brien, 1985 and Richard Todd, 1981.

The defensive specialists are as follows:  nickel backs Marcus Williams, 2015 and Marcus Turner, 1994. The designated pass rushers are 
Hugh Douglas, 1995 (10 sacks) and Shaun Ellis, 2000 (8.5 sacks). Honorable mention is Dennis Byrd, who had seven sacks in 1990.
The secondary is composed of Darrelle Revis, 2009, and Aaron Glenn, 1998, at the corners and Dainard Paulson, 1964, and Darrol Ray, 1981 as the strong- and free safeties. The backups are Ty Law, 2005, and Otis Smith, 1997 as corners and strong safety LaRon Landry, 2012, and Erik McMillan, 1988 as the free. We picked honorable mentions of Antonio Cromartie, 2012, and Johnny Sample, 1968.

David Harris, 2009, beats out  Kyle Clifton's 1986 campaign and Al Atkinson, 1968 is the honorable mention as an inside backer as is Jonathan Vilma, 2005. Mo Lewis, 1998 (an awesome season) and Larry Grantham, 1964 (8½ sacks) are the top OLBers with Calvin Pace, 2013, and Lance Mehl, 1983, following, though not that closely. Honorables are James Farrior, 2001 and Greg Buttle's 1981 season.
Defensive line decisions were very, very difficult. Joe Klecko, 1981, was the only easy choice. Klecko was consensus All-Pro, the AFC Defensive Player of the Year, made 72 tackles and led the NFL with 20½ sacks) We went with Mark Gastineau in 1983 over 1981-82, and 84 because he played the run better (11.5 stuffs among his 80 tackles, both a career-highs) and still had 19 sacks (third highest of his career). Said Paul Zimmerman about Gastineau that season, "The Jets' Mark Gastineau, the AFC's leading sacker, with 19, was a target for TV commentators this year. They were always telling you how he was overplaying the pass, at the expense of the run, but then their isolated camera would catch him stopping the ballcarrier for a yard loss. Maybe Gastineau's techniques aren't perfect yet, but nobody hustled as much as he did—for a full afternoon. No, I don't go for the sack dance either, but give the guy credit. He played great this year". 

Gerry Philbin an All-Pro (not just All-AFL) in 1968 with 14 sacks and 80 tackles gets the top backup nod. With him on the Second-team is John Abraham's 2001 season. That year Abraham had 63 tackles, 13 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and was All-Pro. The honorable mentions, though both could be Second-team picks are Verlon Biggs, 1967 (48 tackles and 15 sacks) and Shaun Ellis, 2003 (69 tackles and 12.5 sacks, Pro Bowl).

Nose was easy. Joe Klecko (62 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles; All-Pro) in 1985 backed up by Damon Harrison, 2015. The tackles were again, close as could be. Muhammad Wilkerson, 2015 and John Elliott, 1970 (54 tackles, 12½ sacks, and 8½ stuffs.). Elliot's 1969 season was also considered with 10 sacks and 13.5 stuffs. We went with 1970 because he was Second-team All-Pro in a league full of great defensive tackles but is was close, really 23.5 plays behind the line of scrimmage versus 21. It was a 'pick 'em' proposition. 

Wilkerson is listed as an end but in their hybrid 3-4 he spends most of his time as an inside stuffer and rusher. Same with Second-teamer Sheldon Richardson, 2014. Dennis Byrd, 1990, was a force with 13 sacks from his Eagle tackle (3-technique) position to go with his 70 tackles. Carl Barzilauskus' 1974 season is worthy of a mention with 11 run stuffs and 5.5 sacks amd 61 tackles. 

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in comments section below.


  1. I'm surprised that George Sauer didn't rate at least a mention.

    1. That was my fault. I realize I didn't put in the HMs for RB or WR----I added them now. They were on spreadhsheet but didn't type them in

  2. A Sauer season was a first team choice for me. I will post my selections here when I have a little more free time to do so.

  3. Please do, would love to compare and contrast. I went with Toon and then Keyshawn in part as valuable to the teams. Toon was key to 80s when the Jets flirted with playoffs. Johnson was part of the drive of the later teams, but a Sauer with Maynard would be very valid and solid choices.

  4. My selections (1st team, then 2nd team)-
    C- Nick Mangold 2009, Kevin Mawae 2001
    LG- Alan Faneca 2008, Bob Mischak 1961
    RG- Dave Herman 1968, Randy Thomas 2002
    LT- Jason Fabini 2002, Chris Ward 1981
    RT- Marvin Powell 1979, Winston Hill 1972
    TE- Richard Caster 1975, Mickey Shuler 1985
    QB- Vinny Testaverde 1998, Joe Namath 1968
    FB- John Riggins 1975, Matt Snell 1964
    RB- Freeman McNeil 1982, Thomas Jones 2008
    RB- Curtis Martin 2004, Emerson Boozer 1973
    3rd down RB- Bruce Harper 1980, Bilal Powell 2015
    WR- George Sauer 1968, Brandon Marshall 2015
    WR- Don Maynard 1967, Al Toon 1986
    3rd WR- Wesley Walker 1978, Keyshawn Johnson 1998

    DE- Joe Klecko 1981, Muhammad Wilkerson 2015
    DE- Mark Gastineau 1983, Gerry Philbin 1968
    DT- Dennis Byrd 1990, Damon Harrison 2015
    DT- John Elliott 1969, Sheldon Richardson 2014
    NT- Joe Klecko 1985, Kris Jenkins 2008
    ILB- David Harris 2009, Al Atkinson 1968
    LOLB- Mo Lewis 1997, Bobby Houston 1993
    ROLB- Lance Mehl 1983, Larry Grantham 1964
    CB- Darrelle Revis 2009, Aaron Glenn 1997
    CB- Antonio Cromartie 2012, Bobby Jackson 1982
    SS- Dainard Paulson 1964, Brian Washington 1992
    FS- Darrol Ray 1981, Erik McMillan 1989
    Nickel CB- Ray Mickens 1998, Marcus Williams 2015
    DPR- John Abraham 2001, Hugh Douglas 1995

    K- Nick Folk 2013, Jim Turner 1968
    P- Curley Johnson 1965, Tom Tupa 2000
    PR- Leon Johnson 1997, Santana Moss 2002
    KR- Justin Miller 2006, Leon Washington 2007
    ST- Chris Burkett 1991, Ken Rose 1989

  5. Suprised you guys didn't mention Boozers 1967 year, where he could have easily scored over 20 TDs if he hadn't gotten hurt. Roger Craig and Emmitt Smith have been compared to his shifty, high knee running style.

    I realize that Winston Hill may not have graded as well as Jim Tyrer over his career, but considering how little Namath was ever sacked, what flaws did Hill have in his game ? Every time I have watched him on film, he seemed graceful to me. I only saw him have trouble with Billy Newsome of Baltimore.