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Same old Jets open new season with a heartbreaker

Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) tackle Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Jets 23-22. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) tackle Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Jets 23-22. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
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As the New York Jets lost a real nailbiter of a Week 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, an old mantra is starting to settle in earlier than usual; Same Old Jets.

This has to be one of the terms that drove all previous head coaches of the New York Jets crazy. The one term that many of the coaches of the past tried to deny existed. However, when a team has accomplished as little as the Jets have in their history, this term is deserved.

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The head coach Todd Bowles/general manager Mike Maccagnan regime has certainly done a lot right in their short time with this franchise. They won 10 games last season. They made the moves they needed to make to put the best team on the field this season. However, ultimately their regime is going to be graded on whether or not they did what all the other coaching staffs and general managers couldn’t do. Basically, create a consistent winner that can win a Super Bowl.

The idea that the Bowles/Maccagnan regime is different created more hope leading into this season. That’s what made watching their loss to the Bengals to start the 2016 campaign so difficult. If I had to write a book of the typical, agonizing Jets losses that has given them the “same old Jets” moniker, this game provided me with the perfect blueprint.

Missed opportunities, poor execution, confusing play calling, inability to execute in the red zone, the defense failing to nail down the game, then the offense throwing a pick when they had a chance to answer.

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There you have the Jets since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

The amazing thing to me is that listening to fans after the game, most when trying to think of positives played the “IF” game. “If Nick Folk remembered how to kick” “If Ryan Fitzpatrick executed better in the red zone”, “If Brandon Marshall didn’t drop a pass” “If our safeties played better” etc…etc…

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For those of us who have been around for the last four decades, the “IF’s” always exist with the Jets. Memories of “IF’s” go back to “If

Memories of “IF’s” go back to “If Richard Todd saw Derrick Gaffney alone in the back of the end zone” we would have won the 1981 Wild Card Game. “IF’s” are nothing new.

“IF’s” are nothing new.

However, Bowles and Maccagnan were supposed to be different. This isn’t the “same old Jets”. Unfortunately for Bowles and Maccagnan, until the Jets start to win those games by eliminating the “IF’s” that happen in a game, this season will be another in the long history of failures and same old results.

This regime doesn’t have much of a safety net to fall back on after not making the NFL Playoffs last season. Looking at the next five games, its hard to imagine this team any better than at best 2-4.

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From there, the season could spiral out of control very quickly if the “IF’s” aren’t turned into execution. If the Bowles/Maccagnan era is really different from the same ol’ same ol’, then today’s loss will be nothing more than a learning curve. However, history tells us that this first loss of the year is more of a warning sign of worse things to come, and until a regime stands up and turns those “If’s” around, they are still the “same old Jets”.

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