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Solid year for Jets' O-line, but signs of slippage emerge

Reviewing the New York Jets' 2015 season, position-by-position:

Position: Offensive line

Overall grade: B-

Individual grades: James Carpenter B+, Nick Mangold B, D'Brickashaw Ferguson C+, Brian Winters C, Breno Giacomini C, Willie Colon C, Wesley Johnson C-, Brent Qvale C-, Ben Ijalana Incomplete.

Key number: 1 -- number of sacks allowed in the red zone. They tied four other teams for the NFL lead.

Summary: Statistically, this was one of the better pass-protecting lines in the league, as the Jets allowed only 22 sacks, best in the AFC. But it would be wrong to give all the credit to the line; it was a team effort. Ryan Fitzpatrick's quick release, combined with Chan Gailey's system, also were big factors in the team's ability to keep the quarterback off the ground. Interestingly, the Jets ranked only 12th in ESPN's pass-protection rankings (48.5 percent), which measures the percentage of pass plays in which the offense controls the line of scrimmage. The stat suggests the success was more about Fitzpatrick and the scheme than the actual blocking. From a run-blocking standpoint, the line was middle-of-the-pack in many of the statistical categories, losing steam as the season progressed.

Individually, there was slippage from Ferguson, Mangold and Giacomini, the three oldest starters. Mangold was slowed by neck and hand injuries, as he played the second half of the season with a huge gash on his right hand. Without him for the equivalent of two games, the entire offense was out of rhythm. Ferguson and Giacomini were injury-free, but there were occasional issues with speed rushers and penalties. Pro Football Focus ranked Ferguson and Giacomini among the lowest-rated tackles.

Carpenter, a terrific free-agent addition, was the most consistent linemen. After years in Seattle's zone-blocking scheme, he thrived in the Jets' "man" system, which allowed him to use his power. They lost some fire when Colon went on injured reserve, and maybe a little nasty in the running game. Winters improved from 2014, especially in pass protection, but he didn't make his presence felt in the running game.

Playing-time percentages (based on 1,114 snaps): Ferguson 100, Carpenter 99, Giacomini 99, Mangold 84, Winters 69, Colon 31, Johnson 15, Qvale 3, Dozier 1, Ijalana 0.

PT analysis: Kudos to Ferguson, who made it through another year without missing a snap. It's up to 10 years and counting. There was no experienced center to replace Mangold, and that falls on the front office. Johnson, who hadn't played the pivot since college, was thrown into a tough spot.