Are the Jets ready for Takeoff? By Josh Fromowitz
(Pictured is Quinnen Williams during media day before 2020 season)
After a turbulent two years under head coach, Adam Gase, the turbulence is finally behind the Jets, right? Well, the skies are starting to turn blue and the dark clouds are long gone, and Jets fans have a lot to be excited about. Starting with the hire of the former San Francisco defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, as the new head coach. His impact on the 49er’s sideline was felt across the league, as he established the 49ers as one of the top five defenses in the NFL. In 2019, he was named, Coordinator of the Year by Sporting News after leading the 49ers defense to rank second in the NFL in total yards allowed per game (281.8), the fewest total yards allowed per game by the team since 1997 (250.8). San Francisco ranked first in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (169.2), the fewest passing yards allowed per game in the NFL since 2009 (NYJ - 153.7). Their incredible run ended in heartbreak, blowing a double digit lead late in the game to the Chiefs, but the historic run by that defense will truly be remembered in large part due to Saleh.
(Pictured is Jets head coach Robert Saleh fired up after a 49ers win in the 2019 season)
What’s next for the Jets? They have their coach which is a step forward in the right direction, but there is much more to be done. The big question remains, “who will be the Quarterback of the future for this team?”
Current Quarterback Sam Darnold had a very unimpressive 2020 campaign, leaving Jets fans question his future with the team. Former head coach Adam Gase admitted to slowing his development in a December interview. He said, “Yeah, I came here to help him, help him develop his career and we haven’t been able to do that.” In 12 games, Darnold had 9 Touchdowns and 11 Interceptions as well as being sacked 38 times. In his third year, he showed flashes of potential, but also inconsistency with his throws. Some will blame Darnold’s failures on the coaching, others say it was due to a lack of O-line and some will claim he rarely had his top 3 wide receivers on the field together.
(Pictured is Quarterback Sam Darnold on the run during a game in 2020)
Which leads the Jets in an interesting situation with the 2nd overall pick in the draft. Rumors swirl around who will the Jets draft. Will it be Justin Fields, Quarterback from Ohio State or Zach Wilson, Quarterback from BYU. Both draft picks rumors don’t show much confidence in Sam Darnold being the QB of the future.
Recently, there are trade rumors for surrounding Houston Texans Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who recently demanded to be traded. The Jets have 2 first round and 2 second round picks in this year and next years draft, so if they happen to trade for Watson, they have a lot to offer without missing out on the opportunity to draft some first round talent. Whoever ends up being the Quarterback for the Jets next season, the team must provide help for him. An unstable O-line, no real Running back, no true #1 target Wide Receivers, and no Tight end isn’t a recipe for success no matter who is under center.
Even though this team has a lot of holes on offense, two rookies, Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims were impressive last year. The Jets used their first two picks on offense, and they showed why. Becton was a monster on the line blocking for Darnold. If they Jets could have 5 Becton’s on the offensive line, they would have the best line in the game. And Mims, a Wide receiver, was hurt most of the year, but showed flashes of potential, and could be that #1 target they desperately need.
(Pictured is Mekhi Becton smiling before media day in 2020)
A lot of optimism if you are a Jets fan. A great young defensive minded coach will help our defense. And with a lot of questions surrounding the Quarterback position, I’m sure they will make the right decision whether it is to keep Sam Darnold and build around him or drafting a young QB or even make a blockbuster trade for an elite QB. With the holes we do have, one big draft and free agency can change this team from being a joke of a team, to a playoff contender real quick.