At this time a year ago, the Jets were 1-5, their team was in disarray and their season was over. The offense had 15 turnovers, including 11 interceptions by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the defense was giving up over 27 points per game. Yet in a rebuilding year, Todd Bowles has his team sitting at 3-3 and playing competitive football. So why can the Jets already chalk up this year as a win?
Although 3-3 doesn’t qualify as elite status, it must feel nice to be the good team in New York for once. It is always said that good teams find a way to win close games. The Jets have had three games decided by a touchdown or fewer and have been able to win two of the three, only losing to the Patriots after a touchdown for New York was taken away on a controversial call.
Despite the Jets surprising record, they haven’t been playing all that well. New York doesn’t rank in the top half of the league in nearly any offensive or defensive category, so their three wins may have something to do with the opponents they’ve been playing. What the Jets have done well is avoid big mistakes, and play complete team football.
For example, Josh McCown has thrown six interceptions this year but inside the red zone, he is a perfect five touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Jets’ defense has embraced the bend but not break philosophy; teams have no trouble moving the ball on the New York defense (giving up 358.0 yards per game, 22nd in the league), but opposing teams haven’t been able to finish drives. Jets’ opponents are one of five on fourth down attempts this year and are only four of nine when attempting a field goal. The grit this team has shown says a lot about head coach Todd Bowles’ leadership in the locker room. The Jets definitely feel like they are heading in the right direction.
Building for the future
The main reason this team can count this year a success is that they don’t need to win anymore. The Jets were supposed to be in a rebuilding phase, and while the wins are nice, this team still doesn’t have the talent to achieve any real milestones; their first-round pick Jamal Adams has played well but needs time to grow, and even though Josh McCown has performed admirably as the team’s quarterback, at 38-years old, he is not the guy that’s going to lead the Jets back to prominence. Todd Bowles’ team has shown they have the fight, but they’ll need to wait at least a year before they have the personnel to match.
Honestly, the Jet’s don’t want to win too many more games. Their schedule gets tougher as the season progresses; they still have Atlanta, Carolina, Kansas City, Denver, New Orleans, and their final matchup with the Patriots. While you never want to lose your competitive edge, it would be beneficial if the Jets could go down swinging in most of their remaining games. The Jets need a quarterback if they are going to capitalize on the momentum Todd Bowles has built, and there are some good ones coming out of next year’s draft. Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson may all turn out to be franchise quarterbacks, and the Jets need to be sure they are in position to grab one. So although 3-3 is cool, it’s not what’s important. The Jets have nothing else to prove in 2017, but if they can get a quarterback, look out for Todd Bowles’ crew in the years to come.
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