As evidenced by their Preseason Week 1 game against the Tennessee Titans, this New York Jets roster is anything but “tank-worthy.”
This past Friday, Brian Costello of the New York Post joined WFAN’s afternoon drive team of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. Joe and Evan were casually filling in for the Mike Francesa, as they normally do all summer long while the Sports Pope kicks his feet up at Belmont or any of the number of vacationing spots he and the lovely Roe hit up all summer.
Costello — a man we desperately love — was on to talk about the team he covers on a daily basis, the New York Jets.
In response to what we could expect on Saturday night in the team’s first preseason taste of 2017, Costello towed the common media line concerning this pathetic club.
He said, in response to how bad these Jets truly are, “You’ll understand when you see it on the field.”
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) August 13, 2017
In other words, for any Jet fan holding onto hope that his or her team could actually surprise a few people, he proclaimed that everybody would understand just how bad the stench out of Florham Park, NJ truly is.
Now that Saturday night has come and gone, Costello, along with all of the so-called experts who proclaimed “tank” and “worst roster in years” status, need to run to the nearest shelter for cover.
The tornado that is true youthful talent in Jet-land is coming.
This team isn’t a competitive football team. Don’t go all “extreme” on me. Without a real quarterback and semblance of an offense, these Jets have just as great a shot to make the tournament as Rutgers has of winning two Big Ten contests.
Instead, the Jets 7-3 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Preseason Week 1 serves a stark reminder that the “tanking” narrative was simply a push by old football men who don’t understand the reality of true production over big-named veterans.
Immediately gone were the likes of Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall. The Jets then surprisingly cut David Harris and Eric Decker. In the case of Harris, our guy Costello truly took it personally: “The NFL is Viciously Roasting the Jets, who have ‘No Plan.’
Costello wasn’t alone. Gary Myers of the New York Daily News put out a column envisioning the Jets roadmap to a 0-16 season. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd proclaimed a 0-16 season. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah produced a tweet that had an unnamed NFL exec claiming this Jets roster is the worst in 10 years.
From an NFL exec- "I think the Jets might have the worst roster I've seen in a decade."
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) June 7, 2017
The blind and uneducated bashing continued all offseason long.
Then Saturday came. No parades should be should be imagined, but real talent was realized by many onlookers.
Forget the 7-3 win. That means nothing. What’s important was that from start to finish, the guys in green outplayed the opposition. The first team thoroughly outplayed Tennessee’s first team. Josh McCown engineered an 8-play, 78-yard drive that resulted in a 4-yard Charone Peake score:
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 12, 2017
The big damage was done on a 9-route by Robby Anderson that produced 53 yards:
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 12, 2017
From here, Christian Hackenberg entered with a cool and calm demeanor that didn’t overwhelm anybody yet impressed to a small degree. He finished 18-of-25 for 127 yards, continually taking what the defense provided him and his offense.
Defensively is where the talent really sparkled.
Without slow-footed veterans who offer very little in terms of production these days (David Harris, Darrelle Revis), this Jets defense was superb. More importantly than superb, they were fast.
In total, Todd Bowles‘s D tallied eight sacks. All eight came from eight individuals. The front seven was up to the task all night while even showcasing a little buzz from the edge spot — something this defense hasn’t experienced since John Abraham. The key in realizing this formula is not playing Sheldon Richardson out of position, something that’s hindered this unit for a couple years now.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 13, 2017
On the backend, forget about it. The duo of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye is the real thing. While they didn’t show up in the box score to a tremendous degree, they quietly limited Marcus Mariota for the entirety of his time on the field. So much of what a safety does rarely shows up in the box score. A smart and athletic safety takes away parts of the field that aren’t shown on the television screen.
Without Harris, Darron Lee assumed the No. 1 linebacker spot and impressed as well. He, along with the rest of this quick defense, flew from sideline-to-sideline.
Still, despite the overwhelming positives, this offense is going to struggle mightily. The offensive line is nothing to write home about and the QB spot will forever haunt this franchise until they finally snag the right kid.
Don’t find yourself on the side of unrealistic expectations. Just understand that the “tanking” narrative was one that made for great headlines under an unrealistic set of circumstances.
Instead of unnecessarily signing veteran players to win a couple extra games, Mike Maccagnan kept it smart to Kelvin Beachum and Morris Claiborne with the understanding that next offseason was the time to strike.
Attention Costello, Myers, Cowherd and all of those old football heads who don’t seem to understand the reality of the NFL as a young man’s game: what the organization did this past offseason doesn’t equate to tanking. It’s simply a smart strategy.
It’s only one week into the preseason and vanilla defenses and offensive game plans run amuck, but it’s tough to ignore the reality of this Jets talent level. It’s much improved from a year ago in which they finished 5-11 against a historically rough first seven weeks.