With 2017 finally upon us, the New York Jets should make some New Year’s resolutions. The kind of which bring some clarity and peace of mind to the organization and their loyal fans.
After a rather successful 2015, where the New York Jets finished 10-6 in Todd Bowles‘ first year as head coach, the team had a frustrating and long 2016. The Jets head into the last game of the season at 4-11 on the first day of the new year. Fans and players can only look forward to a fresh season next year and not dwell on the past. Especially while the coaching staff and management look to get started on the rebuilding process.
Every year, people all around the country use the eve of December 31st to take a step back and make resolutions to abide by in the coming new year. It would be useful for the Jets to do the same in an effort to bring them out of their losing ways. Here are some simple suggestions for New Years’ resolutions for Jets’ management.
Get the quarterback situation straightened out once and for all
In 2015, the Jets had no problems with their starting quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, as he broke the franchise record with 31 touchdowns and came 100 yards short of Joe Namath‘s single-season record for passing yards. However, this year was an utter disaster.
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Fitzpatrick, fresh off signing his $12 million contract in the offseason, became one of the worst starters in the NFL. He threw a career-high six interceptions in a game at Kansas City this year and also was the complete opposite of clutch in the loss at home to New England.
Bryce Petty, the second year quarterback, took over starting duties and was no better, turning the ball over constantly before getting injured in the Miami game last Saturday night. And finally, there is Christian Hackenberg, the rookie quarterback from Penn State, who the Jets drafted in the second round but have yet to even dress him in a game.
He’ll dress as a backup for the Week 17 season finale but will likely see no playing time. For 2017, one of the top priorities must be to get this situation under control and find out who the true starter will be, even if it means exploring free agency.
Groom players into leaders who can maintain team composure
It truly seems the team is lacking any sort of leadership on the roster and it is affecting them negatively on all aspects of the ball. In football, a key component that goes unrecognized most of the time is team leadership, which the Jets obviously do not currently have.
Sheldon Richardson has been the biggest problem by far, even dating back to his rookie season. He was arrested for speeding while possessing marijuana in the car, was late to a team meeting this season and, most recently, posted a Snapchat video on a teammate’s account that was filled with profanity and vulgar comments.
Additionally, Brandon Marshall is as unpredictable as it gets–some days he’s the leader out there and other times he is coming off a bit strong when trying to speak his mind to teammates. Muhammad Wilkerson also has a history of mistakes and Fitzpatrick also had a problem with the coaches earlier in the year. In order to make 2017 and the future beyond that successful, it will be time for guys like Calvin Pryor and Darron Lee to become the main go-to leaders in the locker room.
Release older veterans and let the young guys take over
A 16 game regular season plus playoffs can be grueling for anyone. But in this fast-paced league, fatigue is an extremely important factor for all teams to take into consideration. And this past season, certain players on the Jets were exposed and it became hard to watch.
First, Darrelle Revis became problematic all year round, getting torched by opposing wide receivers every week, especially by rookies like Malcolm Mitchell of New England and Terrelle Pryor of Cleveland. While he had an incredible career as a lockdown cornerback, it is time to let him go, because his age is catching up to him even more each week.
Next, Fitzpatrick cannot be re-signed, as his roster spot kept Petty and Hackenberg from getting more playing time. His one-year, $12M contract is now up and there is no reason why the Jets should keep him. Finally, as difficult as it is to admit, it just might be time to draft a center early, because Nick Mangold‘s tenure might just be up.
Mangold has been suffering injuries to his whole body, most recently an ankle injury which landed him on the injured reserve and ended his season early. He also had injuries to his knee, hand, and neck in the past couple years. While keeping the veterans may seem like a benefit, it is leading to unprepared rookies taking the field and fewer roster spots available.
As 2017 is finally here, we look forward to seeing what the new year ahead has in store. 2016 was a very disappointing season but with the right moves and strategic roster decisions, 2017 could bring back the Jets the fans saw last year and could potentially land them in the playoff picture once again. It all starts with some resolutions and well, actually going through with it all year long.