Now I know what you are thinking, the Jets are 1-8 how can they be only two positions away from being a contender. To answer this question I must first give the positions in question, and then review why the other units are ok. The first position that needs a change is obviously quarterback. Geno Smith is completely incompetent and John Idzik should be fired for even thinking he could be good. The second position is corner back. This is different from the past Jets (see Darelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie) but three of they're starting corner backs are either hurt or went AWOL (Dimitri Patterson). Safety is close to being a need, but they are good enough for now. If you count general manager and head coach then they are a need, but we'll just stick to on the field aspects. Now round 2 will be on how to address these needs. The next units I describe are all good and do not need to be addressed. First up, running back. They have Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, and Bilal Powell and have a high ranked rushing offense. There is no need to address this unit as of now. Wide Receiver. The wide receivers were definitely a big question going into this year, but they have acquired Eric Decker, Percy Harvin, and still have Jeremy Kerley. The reason they look so bad is that Geno Smith has been their quarter back. Tight End. Jace Amaro has had an on rookie year but has had some bad drops. Jeff Cumberland has been decent this year and is a decent run blocker when needed. Offensive line. Their offensive line has been somewhat of a disappointment this year, has they haven't been able to stop the pass rush effectively. But they have excelled opening holes for the running backs. Defensive line. There's really no need to talk about them, Muhammed Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and Sheldon Richardson help form one of the leagues top run defenses. Finally, the linebackers. They have also helped contribute to their ferocious run defense, and have definitely added to the pass rush. That is my take on this team and would like to wish my opponent good luck in this debate.
You say that the Jets are only 2 positions (QB and CB) away from being contenders. Well I say thats completely wrong. Yes I agree that they desperately need a QB and also need a CB but there are other positions they are missing. Their right side of their offensive line is a complete joke. In reality D'brickshaw Ferguson is their only good offensive lineman and Nick Mangold is a solid center too but other than that their offensive line is a joke. They have no TE. Amaro is too inconsistent and drops way too many passes and Cumberland is a solid blocker but not a receiver at all. While they do have Eric Decker thats all they have. Once a team locks him down they have no one to throw to at all. Defensively they are decent. They definitely would also need better safeties to be a super bowl contender and get better pass rushing outside linebackers. The Jets are very far away from being Super Bowl comtenders.
You said that Decker is their only receiver. Maybe you haven't seen this yet, but they have traded for Percy Harvin this year. Harvin really adds a deep threat to keep the defense in check and free up Decker. While I agree Amaro has had some drops, he has huge upside and has also made some really good plays. Their offensive line is great but they could definitely make a postseason run without that hurting them too much. The safety position is definitely a questionable position as well, but the have been decent this year based on the fact that are expected to do things they can't with the corners they've been provided. It is clear that quarterback is their biggest need. I believe if they get a good qb in the draft, Mariota or Winston, they could be in the playoff hunt. Add a high class corner depth chart like the one they had in their AFC Championship runs and they are super bowl contenders. Remember, Mark Sanchez was able to get them to two AFC Championships. Imagine what a Marcus Mariota could do with this team. You can also look back at last year where their corners weren't horrendous, and they were able to win 8 games with Geno Smith at quarterback. Get back some decent corners and add a solid qb and it should equate to at least 10 wins.
I knew I forgot someone (Harvin). But anyways, their receiving core still isnt that great. Decker is underperforming and Harvin is only great if you can use him right. You said that Amaro has huge upside so they are good at TE. Never ever, assume that a player will reach his potential especially when its as questionable as his. As of now they have no one at TE. Their offensive is not good. Ferguson and Mangold are the only good ones on it. The other 3 are all horrendous. Their safetys have been doing solid but they arent playing well enough to consider them legitimate. Sanchez did get them to the AFC championship twice but only because they had a great defense then. Mariota and Winston will not be good in the NFL. They need to get 2 or atleast 1 good corner because their corners are terrible. They still need outside linebackers. They still need a middle linebacker because David Harris is getting too old. Oh and they need a new offoffensive play caller too. Jets are not even close to being a super bowl contender.
I don't know if I said it yet, but we were not counting coaching and fronta office. Also, Willie Colon is a solid o lineman as well. Even if you can't count upside, Amaro has shown great physical ability this year to go up and get the jump balls. He just needs to work on his hands. I do believe that Mariota will be a good NFL qb but that is a matter of opinion. Their linebackers have shown to be good this year and obviously their defensive line is dominant. They have a solid running game, quite similar to the ones in their AFC championship runs. They're defense looks bad because Rex calls blitzes that put a lot of pressure on the cb. If they had people that actually play the position, their defense would be giving up much less points than they are right now.
You didsay that but I felt I had to put It in there. Also there guards are horrendous. They are absolutely atrocious. If you watch when they pull they are always a step slow and often miss a key block. Their Right Tackle has allowed too many sacks this year and is an inconsistent run blocker as well. Amaro has done more bad than good thus year. I believe Mariota wille decent at best but like you said thats a matter of opinion. Their linebackers have had good moments but are very inconsistent and and very below average in coverage. Their running game has gone down a bit but it is still good for the most part. Overall, the Jets are very far away from even making the playoffs let alone being a super bowl contender.