Heading into next season, fans of the New York Jets should remember it’s all about development and not the final record.
The New York Jets are in full rebuild mode. They made deep cuts to their roster, sending many veterans and their high priced contracts out of town. As a result, the 2017 season will be more about player development than the final record.
Now, many fans will balk at any such suggestion. Jet fans are frustrated after last year’s efforts and rightfully so. Fans want to see results and they want to see them now. That being said, it’s become pretty apparent that the Jets’ front office is taking a slightly different approach. They have taken a developmental approach to improving this team, and are seemingly willing to wait for success.
The Jets face a tough schedule in 2017, and they appear ready to do it with young inexperienced players at key positions. General manager Mike Maccagnan remained quiet in free agency, bypassing the top tier players and opting for a few select players from the second and third tiers. It is a sign that they are willing to wait on players to develop into roles, rather than spend wildly and hope for results.
This does not mean the team is giving up on the season, however. It simply means that the season is more about developing young players, then the win-loss column might show at season’s end. Jet fans may not like the proposition of another losing season, but if it gets the team closer to being competitive, I believe we need to show some patience.
Last season, the Jets added a youth movement to their roster that many fans were excited about. In fact, in the last two years, we’ve seen a move towards youth. As fans, we will hopefully see some of this group develop. It’s something many Jet fans haven’t witnessed much of, homegrown products developing into NFL talents.
Jet fans have already been treated to some of the potentials this movement may hold. The emergence of Quincy Enunwa into a legitimate NFL receiver is just one example of what the Jets are hoping to achieve. Leonard Williams showed the development that the Jets are looking from their players as well.
Much has been made of last year’s young wide receiver group. The 2016 season saw the emergence of some young receivers that fans can look forward to watching this season.Robby Anderson burst onto the scene for the Jets and quickly became a fan favorite. Along with Anderson, the team has young potential in the form of Jalin Marshall, and Charone Peake, to look to for development as well. Devin Smith will also return in hopes of proving that he can stay healthy and that the Jets selection of him was not a mistake.
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Beyond the young wide receivers, the Jets also have young players that fans and the front office hope to see develop from this year. Brandon Shell, Juston Burris, Deon Simon, and Darron Lee are just a few of the players the team is hoping to see take the next step in 2017.
Of course, the teams greatest hopes lie with the quarterback position. Currently, the Jets possess two young arms who haven’t shown much to date. Bryce Petty had a limited amount of playing time in 2016. While much of his play was lackluster, there remains room for development and it will be something for fans to watch for this year.
Christian Hackenberg will undoubtedly see more action this year, as the Jets chose to redshirt him for his rookie season. Hackenberg’s development will be crucial for the team going ahead. Both fans and the front office will have a close eye on him throughout the season.
Of course, the Jets will have a new draft class to watch as well. The team possesses the No. 6 overall selection in this year’s draft as well as a full compliment of draft selections. Maccagnan has already made it clear he’s willing to trade around his draft selections if need be. The idea mostly likely being he can add to his number of selections and increase the talent pool.
This year’s draft is ideal for a team looking for good talent to develop. It is deep at many of the positions that the Jets have needs at, fortunately. If Maccagnan can hit on the majority of his picks, the fans will have that much more to watch for next season.
Watching a young player develop and succeed is an exciting proposition. Jet fans don’t get to see it very often, but that appears to be the plan for the Jets. They’ve added several new coaches, including Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene to get these young players up to speed as quickly as possible.
While wins are what every fan hopes for in a season, Jets fans shouldn’t be too disappointed if they are few and far between in 2017. We need to look for development of skills from our younger players. We need to look for the emergence of true leaders on the field as well in the locker room. The Jets need to develop an environment where players want to play, develop and succeed with the team. If that can be achieved, the 2017 season will be a success despite any record they might post.