New York Jets Jamal Adams
Bruno Rouby, ESNY Graphic

As the New York Jets season slips away, Jamal Adams is witnessing hatred from some fans. What’s fueling this vitriol?

On Sunday, the New York Jets play the first of a three-game stretch at home when they host the Denver Broncos. Will a season that started with such positive fanfare, continue to spiral downward? Why are fans so concerned about the play of the team over the last three games?

Earlier this week, New York Jets safety Jamal Adams posted on twitter how he feels about the fans in their criticism of him and the team during their three-game losing streak.

Do writers and fans have the right to be critical?

When I worked at ESPN, I underwent evaluations every year of my performance as a researcher. At first, I struggled at some things and the reviews were not favorable and I was underachieving. However, I learned quickly and was promoted due to excellent performance and reviews as the years went on.

Such criticism is a fact of life when you are being paid to do a job. Despite my disagreement with some of the thoughts of my managers at first, they were not personal. They strictly had to do with my performance, not my personality or character as a person. What should happen if you have high character and desire to be great at your profession, is to learn from negativity and address the areas that you are underachieving.

No honest writer takes joy in criticizing players that work extremely hard and are the elite of the elite athletically. However, we expect those players and coaches to be committed to the excellence that provides them with a very high style of living.

There is no doubt with the invention of social media that many fans can go overboard in their criticism of players or teams. Mocking someone’s family or making judgments on a players’ personal life is disrespectful and rude. There is no reason for fans or journalists to get personal. The majority just care about results and understand that athletes are people like they are. However, not everyone sticks to that and some critiques can be downright vicious.

Writers try and speak for the fan based on our analysis and statistical facts. The conclusions we come to are based solely on performance. Personally, I have the utmost respect for the athlete and person that Adams is. While he might not like the criticism from fans when the Jets are losing, if he can help turn the franchise around he will become a legend around these parts. The flip side of the harsh criticism is the praise and celebrity that successful athletes in New York receive.

Why are the fans upset?

The fact is that the Jets have performed miserably over the last three games. They came out unprepared and flat against both the Dolphins and Jaguars. They blew a 14-point lead with a pathetic second half performance against the Browns. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars outgained the Jets by 325 total yards in their 31-12 victory on Sunday.

Since scoring 31 points in the third quarter of their Week 1 win over the Lions, they have totaled just 41 points over their last 13 quarters. In the last six quarters, the Jets have had 20 offensive drives totaling 86 plays and 322 yards (3.7 yards per play). Fifteen of those drives consisted of five or fewer plays. Only two of those drives were longer than seven plays and totaled more than 50 yards. They have totaled just 16 points in those 20 drives (3 FG, 1 TD).

Meanwhile, the Jets opponents in the last six quarters have had 18 offensive drives consisting of 116 plays totaling 705 yards (6.1 yards per play). Seven of those drives consisted of seven or more plays. Three consisted of 12 or more plays. Eight of those drives totaled 50 yards or more. Nine of those drives culminated in the Jets allowing points (5 TD, 4 FG, 47 total points allowed).

Who should be held accountable?

In addition to that, Jets fans are disturbed at the Jets lack of discipline. Stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and holding penalties to eliminate positive plays are true examples of a team not being prepared.

These types of discrepancies between the Jets and their opponents are what really irks Jets fans. Most did not expect the Jets to finish with a winning record or even much better than their 5-11 mark of last season. However, fans didn’t expect the last two losses to be the norm this season. In order for Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan to be worthy of the extensions they both signed in the offseason (through 2020), the franchise needs to show improvement. They need to show they can compete and come up with game plans that can expose and react to the changes that other teams make.

The Jets will have over $100 million in salary cap space and three picks in the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL draft. How can the fans and ownership be confident that Mike Maccagnan deserves another chance to prove he can learn from his disastrous first try at rebuilding the franchise? Building a championship roster takes time, but Maccagnan can’t keep wasting the valuable draft picks he has. If the Jets continue on their current trend and show very few players that Maccagnan drafted and signed via free agency showing improvement, then why should he be given another draft and offseason? Eventually, fans need to see some improvement in order for them to support the general manager and coach.

The fans feel the frustration of winning the fewest division titles since the AFL-NFL merger. They feel the frustration of never hosting an AFC Championship Game.  Fans want to finally see improvement and that they can trust the people running the organization. Bowles and Maccagnan are on the hot seat now. How the team performs over the last 12 games will decide if they get to keep their jobs.

Mark Everett Kelly, formerly of ESPN, Mark Everett is a 2-time Emmy Winner that had to retire from ESPN in 2008 due to side effects of cancer treatment. Since then Mark has been active as a Public Speaker, Author and Blogger. He is a Sports History Expert and his speeches inspire many who fight daily setbacks to pursue their goals. Mark occassionally writes for ESNY. He is the author of "My Scars Tell A Story" which highlights his endless battle fighting the side effects of cancer treatment. He also blogs on his website, about "Living As A Cancer Survivor". Mark also does not hide that he has a personal relationship with Jesus. He despises judgemental people and his speeches encourage and speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.