Some people are ready to throw the season away for the New York Jets if Geno Smith ends up starting, but as ESPN’s Lee Corso says, not so fast my friend.
The New York Jets are coming off an amazing season. They gave us thrills and ultimately disappointment, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lower the bar of expectations in 2016 if quarterback Geno Smith starts. In fact, the bar should be set high. It’s not Super Bowl or bust, but expect a playoff run again and should the Jets make the playoffs, a deep run at that.
They just barely missed the playoffs as a result of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s up-and-down season. With that being said, remember NFL could also stand for “Not For Long”. Usually that is meant for players and coaches and front office personnel, but it also is for playoff teams.
Playoff teams don’t always make repeat runs. In fact, since 2011, there have been as many as six new playoff teams every season, with an average of five new playoffs teams over those five years. 2011 saw six new teams, 2012 saw five new teams, 2013 saw four new teams, 2014 saw five new teams and last season saw four new teams. Remember the Jets were also one of the teams that missed the playoffs and were replaced by a different team in 2012.
No matter who starts at quarterback, the Jets will make the playoffs in 2016 and also potentially make a deep run. This is the best team that Smith has had around him, and the Jets were 8-8 in his rookie season.
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The Jets also rode the backs of a great defense in 2015 and it is much improved heading into the upcoming season.
The 2016 NFL Draft was kind to general manager Mike Maccagnan, as they were able to land a much needed pass rusher in linebacker Darron Lee in the first round and Jordan Jenkins fell to the Jets in the third round.
The running game is also much better than it was last season.
Their wide receiver group is also the best the team has had since drafting Smith. They have Brandon Marshall, who’s a true No. 1 target (something Smith didn’t have when he was a rookie), Eric Decker, who is a No. 2 target capable of 1,000 yards and 10+ touchdowns, an up-and-coming No. 3 target in Quincy Enunwa, a speed threat in Charone Peake and a great security blanket in Jace Amaro.
Before you throw this season away, remember this, Troy Aikman needed Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana won with the help of Jerry Rice and Roger Craig in two of his Super Bowl runs, Terry Bradshaw had Lynn Swann and Franco Harris, Kurt Warner had Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk, and Joe Namath had Don Maynard and Emerson Boozer.
We’re so used to Tom Brady not having a top-flight wide receiver and average-at-best running backs and still finding ways to win, but recently they have added Rob Gronkowski, so he does have a top receiver in the NFL. As you can see though, Brady is the exception rather than the rule.
Football is the ultimate team game. It’s not like basketball, where the best player significantly changes the balance of power on the court. Also, the coaches saw something last season in Smith, because had it not been for IK Enemkpali, he would’ve been the starting quarterback.
Going into last season, fans and media pundits alike were willing to give Fitzpatrick the benefit of the doubt that he hadn’t had a good team around him prior to 2015. Don’t lower your expectations for the Jets because of who is the quarterback, but look at who’s around him and expect the unexpected.