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What are you most happy about with the New York Jets 34-21 win over the Buffalo Bills?
Dalbin Osorio: It hasn’t been talked enough, I feel, but Todd Bowles deserves all the credit he isn’t getting for having this team ready to play every week. There are games that the talent gap becomes apparent: when you need a first down on offense, the Giants are able to go to OBJ and the Steelers can hand it to Leveon Bell. When you need a defensive stop, Von Miller will get it. Need a turnover? Earl Thomas can force it. The Jets don’t have game changers like that on either side of the ball (the closest is really Marcus Maye, and Bilal Powell). However, they have lost every game except one by under 10 points. They have been in every game except one. And this isn’t s cakewalk schedule either, as they’ve throroughly dominated a then 5-2 Bills team, a Miami and Jacksonville team many picked to go to the playoffs, and were in it versus Atlanta and NE respectively. Kudos goes to Bowles and his staff.
Another hat tip goes to Mike Maccagnan, who took a lot of heat for releasing the veterans on this team. Him and Bowles realized they needed to purge the locker room, and hand it over to their younger stars. That’s exactly what they did. However, 5 teams passed on both Leo Williams and Jamal Adams. Both guys look like franchise type players. Kudos to him for realizing that the rebuild had to begin in earnest. Williams, Adams, and Darron Lee the last 3 weeks (because his coach is using him the right way) are really saving his draft classes.
Scott Mason: I was pleased to see Todd Bowles coach a strong game and get the team motivated to play after three bad losses in a row. I enjoyed watching Robby Anderson take another step towards becoming the best pure deep threat this team has had since Santana Moss. I smiled when I watched the young defense smother and abuse Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy all night.
But most of all, I was happy to see that many of the Jets complementary pieces are really coming into their own. As I talked about with Danniel Essien on the TOJ post game podcast, the offseason is going to require Mike Maccagnan to fill virtually all of the most important spots on the field. There is no “bitch kitty” pass rusher to get 10-12 sacks from the outside. There is no #1 receiver or running back who force the opposing team to gameplan around them. For ad well as Morris Claiborne has played, his injury history means he will not get a long term commitment and a lockdown corner will be needed. Most of all, of course, a major upgrade needs to happen at the QB position.
But the other pieces? Adams and Maye have both played very well and continue to help change the culture. Davis and Lee are both playing the best football of their respective careers. Leonard Williams and Mo Wilkerson are anchoring a revitalized defensive line. And as mentioned earlier, Robby Anderson is looking more and more like a receiver who could be lethal if he gets some other receivers around him and a QB who can consistently get him the ball.
There may still be some major holes on the Jets, but everything around those holes has gotten stronger each week. There is improvement being made by the week, and that was always what was most important. So whether this team’s record ends up being 4-12 or 8-8, the beginnings of a solid foundation are beginning to take shape, and that’s something we can all be happy about.
David Aitken: I was very happy with how the the Jets got after Tyrod Taylor. He was sacked seven times, an explosion of pass rush the Jets haven’t come close to in any of their eight games prior. Defensively we’ve seen bits and pieces of the front seven have good games at a time but we’ve yet to see it comes together like it did on Thursday. Muhammad Wilkerson and Darron Lee in particular have been strong the last few weeks, and they were previously the weak links in the front seven equation. If this sustains, we’re a true edge rusher away (admittedly a key piece not easy to find) from having a complete front seven for years to come.
Greg Armstrong: I was very excited to see how they dominated basically the entire game. Todd Bowles did a tremendous job of having this team prepared on a short week against a Bills team that has real playoff aspirations. The defensive line looks resurgent while the linebackers had arguably their best games of the year. The seven sacks is a huge confidence booster for a team that has struggled to get to the quarterback.
The way the Jets rebounded from a three game losing streak, losing in the ways that they did, and to come out in primetime against a division rival and hang 31 points on their heads is about as resilient as it gets. Coaches can get you ready all week but the players still have to go out and execute.
Ben Blessington: It has to be the play of the defensive line, they were dominant all night. I haven’t seen them have a game like that since week 1 of 2016 where they had 8 sacks. Lesean McCoy had no where to go all night, and Tyrod Taylor was under duress practically every snap. I don’t know what Muhammad Wilkerson put in his coffee the past few weeks but he’s been playing lights out. If he continues to play like this, the Jets may bring him back in 2018.
I’m also very happy with the emergence of Darron Lee. Nobody played worse football than him during the first two weeks of the season, but he has steadily turned it around. Thursday was the best game of his career with two sacks, eight tackles, and one QB hit. He also has stepped up in the run game, where’s he’s been a liability in the past.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com