Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets: Full Roster Report Card Grades for New York

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIDecember 23, 2013

Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets: Full Roster Report Card Grades for New York

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    On the heels of a season-ending loss to the Carolina Panthers, the New York Jets found a way to get back into the win column with a sound win over the Cleveland Browns

    While this game may not have had any playoff implications, the Jets were clearly playing with their head coach's future in mind, posting one of their most solid, well-rounded performances of the season. Geno Smith was efficient and mistake-free, while the defense avoided any catastrophic breakdowns which have plagued them this season.

    If the Jets can continue to play like this into their final week of the season, the Jets are going to have a difficult time justifying getting rid of Rex Ryan as head coach. 

    Here are the roster grades following this week's win over the Browns.


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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Geno Smith: B+

    Smith and the offense did not put on a record-breaking performance, but the rookie quarterback did just about everything they could have asked from him.

    Not only did Smith account for three touchdowns (two throwing, one running)—he also avoided the costly turnovers that have plagued him so many times this season.

    More than anything, Smith showed that when he is given an adequate amount of time and space to operate in the pocket, he is more than capable of being an effective, accurate and error-free quarterback.

    As impressive as his day was, the Jets must be careful with how they respond to a strong finish from Smith. Before the Jets can be sold on him, he must prove he is capable of playing this well on a consistent basis, not just once in a while.

Running Backs

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Chris Ivory: A-

    Ivory continues to look better with each passing week, which is remarkable considering his physical running style. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark once again, going for 109 yards at 5.5 yards per carry. 

    The more Ivory continues to generate big plays on the ground, the better John Idzik looks for making the trade for him in the spring.

    Bilal Powell: B+

    Powell was not quite as successful on the ground as Ivory, but he provided a handful of big plays on his own. He generated 54 yards on seven carries.

    He added another 26 yards through the air, but he would have had a much higher tally had his initial screen play not been wiped out by a holding call.

Wide Receivers

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    Jeremy Kerley: A-

    The Jets' leading receiver on the day, Kerley was invaluable with several first-down conversions to keep drives going. 

    His stat line of five catches for 70 yards is not overly impressive, but the fact he made his receptions at key times to help sustain drives makes him more valuable than the numbers may indicate.

    Santonio Holmes: C

    In what was likely his final game as a Jet in MetLife Stadium, Holmes had yet another quiet day, catching just two passes for 20 yards. He also dropped a couple of passes he had a chance to reel in. 

    David Nelson: B+

    Nelson is starting to look like one of Idzik's best pickups of the year. The midseason addition had four catches on the day, two of them accounting for both of Smith's touchdown passes. His size makes him a menace to cover in the red zone, as he is used like a small tight end in such situations.

Tight Ends

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    Kellen Winslow: B

    Winslow did not have a historic day against his former team, but he was clearly fired up for this contest. He was leaping over defenders and doing everything he could to go extra yardage. He finished with a pedestrian three catches for 35 yards. 

    Jeff Cumberland: C

    This was another quiet day for the soon-to-be free agent. He had a couple big plays with two catches for 30 yards, but he was clearly not a big part of the game plan coming into this game.

Offensive Line

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    Pass Protection: A-

    This may have been the best the offensive line has played this year. Not only did they surrender zero sacks, but they gave Smith plenty of room to operate and make accurate throws. 

    The Jets were so successful in protection not just because they were able to hold up in one-on-one situations (even Brian Winters turned in a clean sheet), but they were able to pick up the blitz when the Browns decided to be more aggressive. 

    If the Jets protected their quarterback this well all year, they may still be in the playoff hunt.

    Run Blocking: A-

    Not only did the Jets protect their quarterback well, but they also moved around a good Cleveland front in the run game as well. 

    The Jets gained over 200 yards on the ground (although 54 of the 214 yards came on Smith scrambles), including 109 from Ivory alone. Ivory created extra yardage on his own like he always does, but he was able to get to the second level rather easily thanks to some strong run blocking by the offensive line. 

Defensive Tackles

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    Damon Harrison: B-

    It appears as if Harrison is starting to hit a bit of a wall after a stellar first three months of the season as the team's starting nose tackle. He is not holding up his gap responsibilities quite as well as he usually does, and the Browns were the latest team to take advantage by putting up 115 yards on the ground. 

    Harrison is far from being a liability, but he is no longer playing as well as the best nose tackle in football.

    Kenrick Ellis: B

    While Harrison has taken a step back, Ellis has had a strong few weeks in his place. His snap count was a bit higher than usual, which is well-deserved.

Defensive Ends

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    Muhammad Wilkerson: B+

    Wilkerson was able to add to his sack total with a half-sack on Jason Campbell, but he was not as dominant as the stat sheet would say. He had trouble getting pressure on a snap-by-snap basis and was not nearly as dominant against the run as he usually is. 

    This, however, is all relative to the All-Pro level of play that we have been accustomed to seeing Wilkerson play at.

    Sheldon Richardson: B

    This was one of the quieter games from the rookie, who got as much airtime for yelling at an official about a (terrible) roughing-the-passer call against him as he did making a play on the field. 

    He finished with six tackles, but he was not nearly as effective as a pass-rusher. He does deserve credit for coming back into the game after suffering what looked like a significant knee injury earlier in the game.

    Leger Douzable: B

    Leger Douzable has played better with each passing week, even if he is the forgotten name on a line loaded with superstars. He finished with five tackles, getting a bit more playing time than usual when Richardson went down. 


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    David Harris: B+

    David Harris was arguably the Jets' best front-seven defender on the day. He finished with six tackles, a pass defense and a pass breakup. He was particularly good at sniffing out short passes taking away checkdowns from Jason Campbell.

    Demario Davis: B-

    This was a quiet game for Demario Davis, who finished with an unspectacular five tackles. Known for being able to fly to the ball to blow up plays in a hurry, he did not finish with a single tackle for loss to cap off his mediocre afternoon (for his standards).

    Quinton Coples: B-

    Coples took a bit of a step back after a strong game last week. He did pick up a half-sack, but he struggled to generate much pressure on a consistent basis and lost his contain on a few run plays.

    Calvin Pace: B

    Calvin Pace continues to defy all odds, as he notched his 10th sack of the year. Pace is hardly playing like a 10-sack pass-rusher, and his sack was more because of great coverage than his pass rush, but his production is impressive nonetheless.

    To his credit, he is playing better in all aspects of the game and deserves his due for his bounce-back season.


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    Dee Milliner: A-

    For a player who has been benched three times this season, the turnaround in Dee Milliner's play has been rather remarkable. 

    Going against one of the best receivers in the game in Josh Gordon, Milliner limited his effectiveness by defending five passes and notching his first interception as a pro.

    He still has plenty of room for improvement in his technique, and he was a bit shaky as a tackler, but the Jets have to be relieved that their top draft pick is finally starting to turn the corner (no pun intended).

    Antonio Cromartie: B

    Most of the attention will be given to Milliner after getting his first interception, but Antonio Cromartie played one of his best games of the season as well. He did give up a few completions, but he did not allow big plays to go over his head, which has been his Achilles' heel this season.

    Kyle Wilson: B+

    The Browns did not do too much damage out of the slot, thanks to the play of Wilson. He did not see much camera time, which is usually a good thing for a cornerback.


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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Dawan Landry: B-

    Landry had a quiet game as a run defender, but he deserves credit for not allowing any big plays to go over his head. Milliner owes some of his success against Gordon to some of the deep safety play of Landry, even if it does not show up on the stat sheet.

    Antonio Allen: B

    Back in his starting role, Allen got a break because tight end Jordan Cameron did not play, but he played a solid game without giving up many (if any) completions. He finished with five tackles and a pass defensed.

    Ed Reed: A-

    Reed has taken a lot of heat in recent weeks for his iffy play, but he was much better in a lesser role against the Browns this week, not giving up any completions over his head. He even notched the game-sealing interception to get his second pick of the year.

Special Teams

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    Nick Folk: C

    Easily, the most shocking aspect of this game was the fact that Nick Folk missed a field-goal attempt. To be fair, he barely missed it—it went off the upright—but this is one of two games in which he wasn't perfect. 

    He was also less-than-spectacular on kickoffs, as Fozzy Whittaker was able to rip off a 50-yard return. 

    Ryan Quigley: B

    Quigley had three solid punts that averaged 46 yards. He did, however, allow Jordan Poyer to get loose for a 29-yard return on one occasion.