The New York Jets shocked people last season towards a 10-6 record, to repeat the feat in 2016 however, they’ll have to perform against tremendous odds.
We’ve now seen a handful of practices for the New York Jets, including the first padded practice of training camp. A lot of story-lines to monitor from Ryan Fitzpatrick shaking off the rust, to Dee Milliner playing with a chip on his shoulder, but the biggest question is if the Jets can have an encore performance in 2016?
Speaking of shaking off the rust, Fitzpatrick was attempting to do exactly that through the first several days of camp. Fitzpatrick struggled out of the gates with several turnovers and head coach Todd Bowles spoke about that at a recent press conference, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
On if guys are knocking the rust off…
Oh yeah, that’s daily. The first of two days are (about) getting back, then the first day in pads you’re going to knock some rust off. We’re going to be a little sloppy with our steps, and tackling and blocking that we have to clean up as we go forward, but the effort was good.
Last season, the Jets had their share of highs and lows, finishing 10-6 on the season. The odds are stacked against the Jets in every facet for them to repeat their shocking performance.
From the schedule makers giving the Jets one of the toughest first half schedules in recorded history, to an aging roster battling father time, not only did the Jets achieve their best record in years, but they broke several franchise records in the process.
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Starting off with wide receiver Brandon Marshall, he set franchise marks for receptions (109) and receiving yards (1,502).
Now he’s 32-years-old, and it’s fair to wonder, “Can he do it again?”
The same can be said for Fitzpatrick, he’s 33-years-old, and he just had the best season of his career in which he set the franchise mark for touchdowns (31), again it’s fair to ask, “Can he do it again?”
In Marshall’s case there are few examples of players successfully staving off father time, the only wide receiver in NFL history to reach the 1,500-yard plateau at the age of 32 or older is Jerry Rice. He did it at 33, amassing 1,848 yards for the San Francisco 49ers in 1995.
In terms of his absurd reception mark he set last season, players in his age range have accomplished the feat more successfully, but not by much. In the 32-and-up category, it has happened only 10 times, including three times by Rice. It also happened last season, when Larry Fitzgerald accomplished the feat, finishing with 109 catches.
— #JetsCamp (@nyjets) July 30, 2016
It has been proven time after time in NFL history that quarterbacks can perform well into their mid-to-late 30’s. Especially considering that now Fitzpatrick after signing back with the Jets, is now the oldest player on the roster.
Which actually ties into the Jets’ chances heading into 2016, while clearly the cards are stacked against the them, there’s still some hope. With age comes experience and the Jets have plenty of that after their first season under this new coaching regime.
One of the main reasons to believe that the Jets can sustain success in year number two, is that very experience. These players and the camaraderie they’ve developed will only churn that much easier with a year under their belt.
When times inevitably get tough in that brutal first seven weeks on the schedule, Fitzpatrick will be the steadfast ship for the Jets. His ability to stay calm, cool, and collected will help mellow this team out on their quest to end the team’s five-year playoff drought.