Players discuss upcoming 2016 schedule
As the New York Jets prepare for the upcoming regular season, several players have chimed in their thoughts via exclusive interviews with The Jet Press about what awaits.
For the New York Jets Jets their upcoming regular season schedule will be challenging, especially in their first six games, where they will go to war against five playoff teams from last season (Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals).
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With a roster of many veterans, it seems as though the Jets are a “win-now” team, but their strength of schedule may serve as a roadblock in clinching a playoff berth. I talked with wide receiver Eric Decker, quarterback Geno Smith and tight end Zach Sudfeld regarding the overall strength of schedule.
Without further ado, here are my exclusive video interviews with each player as on each slide is a YouTube video of each of their responses (from my official channel).
Next: Eric Decker
Eric Decker told me: “[The schedule is] a test, in a sense….” He’s right. The first stretch of games (2 home, 4 away) will serve as a true barometer for the entire season. However, Decker has adopted a “one game at a time mentality” where he believes “[The Jets] can match up with anyone. It’s just a matter of playing good, fundamental football.”
When I asked him if there would be redemption playing the Buffalo Bills at home for last game of the season, he said: “well, that’s too far to say. If we are in a position like we were last year, obviously we know we have to step up [to] another level to get to a goal we have set.” For now, Decker remarked: I’m focused on the… off-season [and] getting better, that’s all I can do right now”.
Next: Geno Smith
With each passing day that the Jets do not re-sign last year’s starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the starting job belongs to Geno Smith.
In regards to the Jets’ 2016 strength of schedule, he took an optimistic point of view, telling me: “Well that just means a lot of opportunity. A lot of good opportunity against some good competition”.
It is true. If the Jets do well in the regular season, especially in the first six games, it will acclimate them to competition in the playoffs. However, a major concern is if they would be able to build, establish and sustain that momentum from September through February.
Next: Zach Sudfeld
A more cautious approach, Zach Sudfeld told me: “…[The strength of schedule] doesn’t necessarily change anything… Right now, we are just trying to be the best team that we can be. …As we get close to the season, we’ll start preparing. You just have to take it one team at a time, and one game at a time.” Most importantly, it is the fact that “You can’t overlook anybody, obviously with that schedule….”
I also fast-forwarded to New Year’s Day and the Bills game with Sudfeld. Imagining another win-and-in situation similar to the 2015 season, will there be redemption and revenge against the Buffalo Bills in the Meadowlands? With a laugh, he responded: “We’ll see….We have a lot of games before that one. We’ll have to take care of business before that. We’ll see what happens”.
Next: Marshall's prediction and Jets Nation chimes in
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
When the schedules were first announced, wide receiver Brandon Marshall took to Twitter to state his prediction for all of Jets Nation to see.
Image of Jets WR Brandon Marshall saying the Jets would go 11-5. pic.twitter.com/I85PtBpRLC
— Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan) June 30, 2016
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Marshall has spoken, as on the official Twitter account of The Jet Press, we asked fans to vote on what they thought the final prediction would be for the Jets this upcoming season. The final results weren’t good:
What will be the final outcome for the New York Jets at the end of 2016? #NewYorkJets #NYJets #NYJ
— The Jet Press (@TheJetPress) July 11, 2016