There’s no guarantee that the Jets are going to be bad. There’s just a really high likelihood that this upcoming season won’t be very enjoyable from the fan’s perspective. It’s easy to just be a sack of sadness and whine whenever things inevitably go wrong every game. But there are better ways to watch football when the Jets aren’t piling up wins.
1. Take A Closer Look at the Future
The Jets have tons of young players on the roster. Sometimes its more enjoyable to watch the game within the game. There will interesting positional battles at QB, WR, OLB, ILB, and CB. Obviously, the QB battle will carry most of the attention. However, also keep an eye on whether or not rookies like Dylan Donahue, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen can make a significant impact and prove to be worthwhile long term investments.
Also, keep close watch on second year players like Darron Lee and Robby Anderson. The Jets need them to take a big step forward in their development this season. For Lee, he needs to improve his ability in coverage and increase how quickly he’s able to read and react. For Anderson, he needs to add an expanded arsenal of polished routes to his game. It’s important for him to show he’s more than just a deep threat.
Finally, you should also zero in on the offensive line when you can. Wesley Johnson will get his shot as the true starting center. Along with Brian Winters and James Carpenter, they will be tested with some powerful defensive lines this season. Teams like the Dolphins, Chiefs, and Panthers will all be a great test for them. On the edge, Brandon Shell will try to solidify his status as the Jets long term answer at right tackle against some of the best edge defenders in the NFL. He’ll be facing the likes of Vic Beasley/Takk McKinley, Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, Justin Houston/Dee Ford, and Von Miller. Shell will have his hands full but we’ll get a good sense of his ability and his resolve this season.
2. Watch Up and Coming Teams a Little Closer
Another good practice during a rough Jets season is to keep track of up and coming NFL teams. Especially teams that have similar strengths/weaknesses as the Jets. It helps get an idea of what the Jets can build towards or emulate.
For example, it’d be good to watch the Houston Texans this season. They’re at a similar place as the Jets on offense, with a young inexperienced QB, a veteran starting ahead of him, and a young group of WRs around them. The Jets may be back in the same situation next year if they draft a QB in the first round in 2018, so it’d be a good idea to watch how Bill O’Brien navigates the offense with Tom Savage and if/when he decides to hand the job over to Deshaun Watson. Defensively, like the Jets, they’ve invested several first round draft picks. Unfortunately, unlike the Jets, it has resulted in the number one defense in the NFL. However, its good to take note of their positional strengths and weaknesses, and how they’ve distributed talent on defense.
Another intriguing team to watch are the Jacksonville Jaguars. They’re not quite on the upward swing yet but they’ve begun to amass a nice group of young players. They also have a similar tumultuous quarterback situation like the Jets but they took a different approach to address their offense. They drafted Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson in rounds 1 and 2, and plan to rely on their running game much more than before. It will interesting to see how it turns out, especially against a team like Houston, who they play twice a year. Should the Jaguars offense show significant signs of improvement, it will be interesting to see if the Jets consider a first round worthy RB in next year’s draft (i.e – Saquon Barkley), despite how dangerous that is for a team with so many needs. In addition, also keep an eye on Allen Robinson. Jacksonville is yet to offer a contract extension to him and he’s set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 if they don’t. Like the Jets, the Jaguars are likely to be in the market for a QB in the next draft so it also makes sense to keep an eye on their record.
3. Watch More College Football
Its always good to keep track of impressive college players that can elevate a weak position on the depth chart of your favorite team. For the Jets, it’d be to watch the top QBs this season which will actually be tracked here on TOJ. It also would make sense to also keep an eye out for OTs, RBs, ILBs, OLBs, and CBs. What you want to look for, regardless of position, are players that dominate the competition and show consistency in their production.
Really the best reason to watch more college football is because it’s exciting, unpredictable, and a great neutral fan experience. It’s also probably healthier for you than what you go through on Sundays.
These are a few good ways to enjoy football when your favorite team is struggling. If you happen to end up at a game, take advantage of having a full perspective of what’s happening on the field. Look at matchups taking place that you normally wouldn’t see on TV. If things aren’t going well, try your best not to pick a fight with another Jets fan. We’re all gonna get through this as a family.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com