It’s been somewhat of a mini rollercoaster for this New York Jets season. From almost wins and blown leads to a surprising three game win streak to no showing in very winnable road games that would have at least kept them in the playoff hunt. Your regular season expectations can be laid to rest and your free agency and draft szn expectations can be awakened from their hibernation. Let’s bid some farewells to the 2017 version Jets.
1. The notion that Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg are potentially the guys for the Jets.We knew Petty wasn’t the guy before the season started but the #HackHive still held out hope that Hackenberg would shine in his extended preseason action. We quickly saw his inability to identify a blitz and call it out at the line, his inability to not read coverages and his lack of a pocket awareness.
This should have been a farewell before the season even started but there are many in #JetsTwitter that still thought that one or both of these guys would be the quarterbacks of the future. I don’t quite understand what more we have to see to further cement that neither of these guys have what it takes to start in the NFL. It’s time to face your mistakes and move on.
2. Muhammad Wilkerson.
Goodbye and good riddance Mo. For a team that cut most of the dead weight in the offseason in an attempt to change the culture in the process of rebuilding, there was still one bad, unmotivated, lazy and overpaid apple. Wilkerson routinely shows up late to meetings with bs excuses, shows little to no effort on the field and has done nothing to even slightly live up to his contract. It’s embarrassing to watch a guy who makes that much money lumber around the field like a Sunday morning stroll through the park. I show more effort getting up to grab a beer during commercial breaks than he does trying to get off a block. See ya never Mo!3. Not getting “your guy”.
How many times in the past have we heard about the Jets “almost drafting x” or “almost signing y” only settle for a band aid version of that player? My third farewell is to that mentality heading into 2018. In what is the biggest Jets offseason in my recent memory, Mike Maccagnan has the chance to change the trajectory of this franchise for years to come. That won’t happen if he drafts and goes into free agency scared.
This offseason the Jets are going to have more cap space than they know what to do with and a top eight (potentially top five) draft pick. If you want Kirk Cousins, make him an offer he simply cannot refuse. If you want Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen or whatever quarterback not named Josh Allen, do everything you possibly can to get that guy. This fan base is sick and tired of hoping guys fall into your lap and not being aggressive in going after them. If the Jets want to escape this cycle of mediocrity and finally exit football purgatory, they have to swing for the fences this offseason.
4. Making band aid moves instead of fixing the problem.2015 is a perfect example of this. Macc used all of the cap space to sign veterans that maybe had one good year left in the tank. That collective group of players played at their highest potential for their ages and almost got the Jets into the playoffs. Then in 2016, the regression to the mean crippled the team which leads us to where we are now.
My point? It’s time to rid the house of all the band aids, face the problems head on and fix them the right way. Let’s leave signing over the hill veterans to fix key holes in hopes they’ll over produce for their age. Let’s ring in a new age of Jets football where the team signs guys with high ceilings and relatively high floors. Not every move has to be of that caliber but there needs to be improvement in talent evaluation. Look at the Patriots for example, they have no mercy when it comes to cutting guys that are over the hill. They also don’t sign guys that they don’t think can produce for an extended period of time. The Jets need to adopt that mantra and live by it going into 2018.
5. Do not listen to the fan base.
I’m appalled that I even have to write this but can we please leave the fan base out of all football decisions? Take a look at any of the great football teams. They make all of their decisions in house without any regard for whether or not the fan base agrees with the decision. That’s how the Jets have to be. No more signing guys for back page headlines. No more firing people who the fan base thinks has done a bad job. No more re signing players because they had an outlier year and the fan base wants to try to recreate the magic. Stop with all of that.
If the Jets want to be looked at highly from an organizational standpoint, it starts with making decisions that don’t succumb to the pressure of angry Jets fans. Everyone thinks they can run a football team better than the owner (might be true in this case) and everyone thinks they can evaluate talent from the confines of their couch with a bowl of chips and a beer in their hand. Let the armchair football personnel guys be just that and let the guys you are paying millions of dollars to make those decisions.
Photo credit: nyjets.com