I believe in Sam Darnold. Did he make some head-scratching throws this season? Sure. Did he continue to make mistakes that he made in his rookie year? Yes. Was his start on MNF against the Patriots awful? Absolutely! But he also made strides forward and bounced back from a difficult first half of the season for an impressive second half. He is a 22-year-old kid who has played 26 games in 2 years, and has overcome bad offensive lines, subpar coaching, and limited offensive weapons to improve in nearly all statistical categories, throw more touchdowns than interceptions in both years, and get himself to a winning record as a starting quarterback in 2019. That’s progress.
Darnold will be a second contract player with the New York Jets. He is the quarterback of the future. I believe that he will be a top 10 quarterback in this league.
The question is, can he continue to overcome bad coaching like he has in his first two seasons?
1. Robby Anderson should be back in Green & White… but I don’t feel optimistic.2. Joe Douglas and Sam Darnold are and will prove to be the two most important members of this organization.
3. There was a point in time where I felt that Jamal Adams was a great player at a non-impact position. He has changed my view, and now I believe that he is so great that he has made his position impactful. I truly believe that he should be here for the long haul, and I hope he is. He proved that he is a game changer at safety.
4. The offensive line, after about as miserable a start to the season as you could imagine, managed to get themselves back to decent by the end of the season by making necessary moves like starting Alex Lewis and Jonotthan Harrison. That being said, this unit still needs 3 new starters in 2020. At least.
5. Marcus Maye proved how good he could be if he was able to stay healthy. He quietly had a very impressive year.6. Of the Free Agent acquisitions that the Jets made this past offseason, Brian Poole and Jamison Crowder were easily the best moves. Ryan Griffin wasn’t far behind.
7. The Jets should offer Bill Callahan a blank check to come back and coach their offensive line.
8. Gregg Williams did an outstanding job with what he had to endure on defense this year. This defense, and his performance, were THE reasons the Jets finished with 7 wins. There is no debate on that.
9. This team should not invest another first round pick on an interior defensive lineman. Ever.
10. Take your feelings out of it. Do your best to remove your hatred for Adam Gase from the equation. Remain objective. We have to admit, on some level, that going from 1-7 to 7-9 was impressive. Just how impressive is debatable. Here is where we get back into our feelings. It didn’t feel impressive. It felt ugly. The Jets had quality wins against Dallas, Oakland, and Washington. The other wins felt, in the words of Mr. TOJ himself, “meh.” Give credit to the team for being able to win close games, being able to close out games, and improving their win total by 3. Those are marginal improvements, but improvements nonetheless, and things they weren’t able to do in years past. But credit can’t be given for those things without also acknowledging that this team also lost 9 games by a combined 154 points… that’s 17 points per game! That’s on the coach.
From a macro view, although the Jets and their fans were so beat up by November that they really didn’t feel anything by the time the team started to win games, this season was a small step in the right direction. The optimist in me says that the Jets can build upon these small steps, administer a quality offseason under the direction of Joe Douglas, and fix this thing to become a contender in 2020.
The pragmatist in me thinks that it doesn’t matter because they’re led by a coach that will never get out of his own stubborn way to allow this team to be anything better than .500.
Optimistic, pragmatic, pessimistic, idealistic… who cares?! Regardless of how we view it, one thing that should be agreed upon that it’s put up or shut up time in 2020. Make or break. Playoffs or bust. The Jets should be in the playoffs next season or Adam Gase is gone. Plain and simple.
This fanbase has suffered enough.