This “atrocious” New York Jets roster, though depressing, can still actually win as many as eight games during the 2017 NFL season.
The so-called football “experts” in the media simply never cease to amaze the senses. It’s really astounding. Each season comes and each season goes with ridiculous rhetoric during the offseason only to have it forgotten once the real campaign moves along.
We all already understand the narrative surrounding the New York Jets during the offseason of 2017 — the club is “tanking.”
The entire notion is utterly ridiculous.
No, Mike Maccagnan hasn’t gone all-out in an attempt to finish with the best possible record this coming season. If he had, a guy like Eric Decker would still be on the roster. If he had, Josh McCown wouldn’t be in Florham Park and a quarterback would have been selected in NFL Draft.
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Instead, he’s taken the smart course of action, keeping his eye on the big prize. Instead of looking for the “quick fix” in an attempt to save his job, he’s holding back his chips for the good of the franchise. Shouldn’t this be applauded, not laughed at?
In any event, all of this doesn’t mean the roster has declined in talent. In actuality, it’s quite the opposite. They’ve gotten better since Week 17 of 2016.
When these so-called “experts” see the likes of Decker, Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold and David Harris gone, they believe the roster has taken a significant hit. In reality, it hasn’t. Only the receivers will hurt. The other guys simply don’t have it anymore. It’s a young man’s game and Mikey Mac has accomplished turning an old roster into a youthful one.
This uncertainty leads to laughingstock material from the press.
The only laughing matter, however, is the idea these Jets can’t finish with a .500 record.
This is football. This is the NFL, the National Football League, the arena for which Jerry Glanville (who’s still waiting for Elvis to take his rightful seat in the Georgia Dome crowd) dubbed the “Not For Long” league.
Things change in a hurry around these parts. Tanking, unlike the variety we see in the NBA, is pretty impossible in football.
There is too much circumstance involved.
The Youthful Roster Cannot Be Predicted
As it stands right now, New York is equipped with just four players over the age of 30. This is a tremendous aspect of a squad considering there will be a bundle full of money available next offseason (nearly $65 million).
We just can’t predict how productive or average these youngsters will be.
Already, Leonard Williams is a star and when acting as one in a trio with Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, the Jets interior D-line ranks as tops in the NFL. First round pick Darron Lee is coming off a terrible rookie season. What if he fulfills his promise this season?
How about the two young safeties, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye? We already know Adams is special. He’s exactly the type of safety that can immediately impact an NFL defense. Maye, too, can be a stud at this level. Those two might not just be the best rookie safety duo in 2018 (if not the only), but could contend as the best duo across the land.
Then we get to the real wildcard, Christian Hackenberg. Yes, much has been negative surrounding the kid, but what if, just what if the Penn State product flips an incredible switch and turns into a gamer?
Suddenly, this young group looks a little fantastic.
The Schedule Cannot Be Predicted
We’re not discussing 82 or 162 games here. In the NBA or MLB, usually, the cream of the crop rises to the top over the course of a long season.
In the NFL, there are only 16 games to play with. Strength of schedule is a major determining factor in a team’s outcome.
Two seasons ago, Todd Bowles looked like a genius in turning what looked to be an average team into a 10-win club. The schedule was of the patty-cake variety. Not only did they play a weak division in the NFC East, but they played another historically weak division in the AFC South. They took advantage in almost making the tournament.
A year ago, the Jets were blasted. Rarely has a team ever been tasked with such a rough schedule over the first seven games.
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In 2015, New York was worse than that 10-6 record and in 2016 they were better than the 5-11 mark.
This season, like every season, we simply don’t know. They can truly turn out to possess the worst roster in the league and finish with six wins. They can be better than we thought and finish 2-14. Or, to go crazy, they can actually finish .500 if development across the entire depth chart takes place.
Don’t pull a Gary Myers of the New York Daily News and start listing off dates of the soon-to-be winless 2017 Jets. Don’t be that guy who actually believes the losses of over-the-hill David Harris, Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold make the Jets a weaker team.
It doesn’t. Check out the game tape, not just the name on the back of the jersey.
Just understand the 2017 New York Jets don’t look good right now. But also understand while realizing that, it doesn’t mean they’ll finish among the bottom-feeders in 2017.
This is the NFL. We just don’t know.