They’re one of the franchises that we’d all agree have been in the top three of worst run teams over the course of the last 20 years, if not more. It’s a source of amusement for some, bemusement for their supporters. But are the New York Jets about to turn the corner? Opinions are divided across our little podcast group.
The positive camp would say that they’ve got a young QB who showed great talent at the college level. Despite having a difficult rookie season, Zach Wilson showed progression towards the end of the year and there were flashes of play that would be encouraging. Wilson didn’t throw an interception in his last five games of the season. Though there were only three TD passes, he was without many of his top offensive weapons (such as they were in 2021) and coupled pass production with 160 yards carrying the ball with an average of 10 yards a carry and two touchdowns. They weren’t against lowly competition either, that run included the Saints, Dolphins, Buccaneers and Bills with the Jaguars making up the contingent (a game the Jets actually won!).
Since then, the Jets have improved their offensive unit by signing guard Laken Tomlinson, running back Tevin Coleman, tight end CJ Uzomah as well as drafting a new receiver Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall pick.
On the other side of the ball there’s been a lot of improvements made as well with cornerback Ahmed ‘Source’ Gardner and pass rusher Jermaine Johnson also drafted in the first round. DJ Reed and Jordan Whitehead came in to bolster the backfield who may not be tier one names but will add depth in a backfield that lacked ANY quality in 2021.
Couple all of that with a coaching staff that have a years more experience than this time last year. Before his time in New York, Salah had a reputation of being able to get more out of the men he led than their talent warranted. Maybe he can do it for the whole team?
On the flip side some would say that Salah and his coaching team just aren’t good enough. That Salah is a better coordinator than he is head coach. That’s certainly true of some of the top coordinators turned head coaches of the past – Romeo Crenell, Wade Phillips or Todd Haley spring to mind (this topic feels like a whole other article!).
Zach Wilson did not look good to start off his rookie year. We watched him live in London and the viewing wasn’t great; he wasn’t seeing the field, he missed wide open receivers and he couldn’t escape pressure. The team around him is new but it’s largely unproven – who is the veteran wide receiver that Wilson can rely on? Uzomah had a good season on a good Bengals side – but how much of his success was him vs the obvious talent of Joe Burrow?
Can Wilson stay fit? It’s another big question mark and the signs up to now haven’t been good with time missed last year and likely (at time of writing) to be watching Joe Flacco taking snaps for the first four weeks of the season.
I myself probably fall on the side of ‘cautious optimism’. I expect/hope for them to do better in 2022, certainly better than 2021 but lets taper expectation a little until we start seeing the team on the field. The other big question is whether a 7 win season (which I think is the ceiling of what Jets fans could expect) is enough for ownership to keep Salah? They should but the Johnson’s aren’t known for making sensible decision when it comes to footballing decisions.