Top 5 things for Jets fans to look forward to in 2017
By Nick Giacone
The New York Jets won’t be as bad as everyone proclaims them to be. Here are the top five things that fans can look forward to this upcoming season.
The New York Jets are rebuilding. Crazier things have happened, but it seems we are at least a year or two away from competing for the NFL Playoffs. This is a hard mentality to embrace, even for the most loyal fans.
Gang Green’s front office has made it clear that it’s time for the youth movement. We’ve moved on from long-tenured veterans, made some coaching changes, and have invested in some young, yet raw talent.
The season outlook makes it easy for fans of the Jets to get down, so here are five things on what to look forward to this season.
Next: 5. This young quarterback will get his shot
5. Christian Hackenberg will get his chance
Josh McCown is starting, head coach Todd Bowles named Bryce Petty the backup, but Christian Hackenberg is going to get his chance. I personally don’t think he is the quarterback of the future, nor a long term No. 2. However, it’s unfair to judge him before he plays a single snap in a pro game.
NFL analysts and beat writers have been harsh on Hackenberg in his young career. His preseason play certainly hasn’t helped his case, but maybe he’s a gamer and we never knew it.
Let’s remember that we’ve seen Hackenberg’s potential in Bill O’Brien‘s pro-style offense at Penn State. As a true freshman, Hack put up career bests in completion percentage, touchdown passes, and quarterback rating.
Hackenberg has nothing to lose this year and he may just play like it. If not, we have closure on our 2016 2nd Round pick.
Next: 4. A rookie safety ready to dazzle
4. Jamal Adams is going to dazzle
The Jets may have stolen the draft’s most talented player in 2017. Jamal Adams brings a NFL-ready skill set to a team that is in dire need of re-stocking its defense.
Adams’ best attribute is his attitude. He appears driven, shows leadership potential, and seems to have a genuine love for playing football.
I’m excited for him to learn the NFL game. Regardless of the result, Adams will gain invaluable experience when he faces off against the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers.
Adams will be top five safety in the league within three years, and it’s going to be fun watching his rise to the top. Gang Green has a special player on their hands.
Next: 3. A hidden gem at wide receiver
3. Robby Anderson will be a hidden gem
This section was supposed to be the breakout season of Quincy Enunwa. We’ll have to wait another year. Injuries happen, and here’s to wishing Quincy a healthy recovery.
Robby Anderson shows potential to be a star wide receiver. He shows big play ability, stretches the field as a deep threat, and provides the occasional circus catch.
Anderson is still raw, but he should relish this opportunity to spend a full season as the No. 1 wide receiver. It’s time for him to put his head down and become a student of the game. If he stays healthy he can easily notch his first 1,000-yard season in 2017.
Next: 2. A young linebacker ready for his time to shine
2. Darron Lee will take a big step forward
The Darron Lee pick raised eyebrows in 2016, and his rookie season followed suit. It’s imperative that he bounces back in 2017 to become the impact player he’s expected to be.
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Lee was drafted to assume the linebacker-safety hybrid role who can defend the run but also stick a slot man or a tight end. A linebacker with Lee’s size and speed is supposed to excel in coverage, an area in which he disappointed last year.
I’d like to see the coaching staff experiment with Lee. He doesn’t fit the traditional linebacker mold, and he can greatly benefit from moving all over the field. I’d also like to see his speed be utilized in the pass rush.
I’m rooting for Lee to have an improved sophomore campaign. He’s got the physical attributes and the skills so it’s expected he will take a big step forward to prove his worth this season. Watching his growth will be fun to see as he’ll only get better with each passing week.
Next: 1. The next NFL star
1. Leonard Williams is the NFL’s next star
In two years, Leonard Williams has honed his craft from his raw talent college days to looking like a well-versed veteran. He gets to the quarterback, is stellar against the run, and can be moved around to create mismatches.
Williams has emerged not only as a defensive leader but as an overall leader of this young Jets team. He is the prime example of how one should conduct themselves on and off the field.
Jets Nation knows Big Cat is a premier defensive end, but now it’s the rest of the league’s turn. He’ll go from Pro Bowl alternate to starter, will make those around him better, and will provide one of the few bright spots for fans during this time of rebuild.
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Defense wins football games and since the Jets will be somewhat competitive, they’ll be in a lot of close games thanks to everything Williams brings to the table. Get excited Jets fans, Williams is easily going to be the next big NFL star and face of the franchise.