Sunday saw the New York Jets surrender almost willingly to the Houston Texans’ recent run of form and leave their overall record at a less than impressive 5-5. Earlier Jets performances and fun filled games the fans witnessed are almost a thing of the past and with near enough one third of the season left, things are now serious. The Jets are still in the hunt for a AFC wildcard space, but with two losses on the bounce, do they need a reality check?
The bottom line is the New York Jets are not yet a great team. Just before week 1, we at UK Chronicles posted what we thought would be acceptable from this newly boosted and rookie coached side. Although, after five games, the Jets were 4-1, it is this that may have provided some ‘false hope’ and distracted many fans from what truly lied ahead. Things did start well as we believed they would following a successful preseason. Key players like Marshall, Decker and Ivory were on form and showed their potential, but as the season began to unfold, so did the injuries and inevitably, circumstantial results rolled in. Our preseason prediction was an overall record of 9-7, which does still look possible, however things have to improve and we shouldn’t accept mediocrity from a team who showed early promise.For things to improve, the responsibility falls to head coach, Todd Bowles. Bowles quickly embedded his own mantras at East Rutherford and at first everyone felt instantly refreshed and rejuvenated; with the subsequent winning results helping everyone believe in him further. Now 5-5 after falling from 4-1, the Bowles ‘one game at a time’ and ‘never too high and never too low’ mottos may seem not enough. With only six games left, each result can uniquely affect the overall target of reaching the post-season. Bowles himself said that “the season would be a failure is the Jets don’t make playoffs”, so after the loss to the Texans, he finally let the boys hear it. As per Mo Wilkerson on WFAN, the usually calm and collected Bowles actually “went off on one” and then stated that “losing is not acceptable”. Bowles is in a tough position and has a responsibility to reignite this Jets force and get them facing in the right direction once again. Wilkerson himself said “everybody in the locker room need a spark lit under them this week” and with Miami next up, a similar performance to that seen at Wembley in week 4 wouldn’t hurt. Getting a win seems even more poignant following unfavoured first round pick Quinton Coples going south to play alongside Suh and Co.
Following Bowles, the trickle down effect reaches Jets’ leader, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Again, the early performances may have sold the Fitzpatrick-FitzMagic notion, but the journeyman is what he is and has played predictably although with ‘flashes’ in parts. Fitz may not be putting up numbers like Newton, Palmer or Brady, but he is a veteran familiar with this current Jets situation. Fitzpatrick to the media recently said, “fortunately or unfortunately, I have got a lot of experience playing for teams in this situation” and “we’ve got to right the ship”. The recent losses only naturally raised discussions among Jets fans as to whether Geno Smith should take the helm, however this was quickly quashed by Bowles. Fitzpatrick is fully aware of the challenge ahead and the reasons it’s come to this when he said, “I have no problem shouldering any blame that gets thrown my way and all the blame I deserve and don’t deserve”. It’s leadership like this the Jets need at this point in the season.
The season isn’t quite lost yet if the changes come good in the coming games. Losses elsewhere in the AFC keep the wildcard hope alive but we need to be better than relying on the misfortune of others. However, let’s not forget where we came from and where we thought we was going before the streak. High expectations are important but so is realism. It’s not about predicting the future now, it’s about creating it.
–Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com