Is it time for the Jets to focus on 2018?
By Kyle Hirshkind
The New York Jets have lost a few games but have been playing above expectations. Is it time they shift their focus towards 2018?
The New York Jets have been much better than most have given them credit for this season. The “0-16” talks quickly simmered down after a win in Week 3, and the tank rumors have all but dissipated since the team rode a three-game winning streak early on.
And just when things looked better than ever for Gang Green, the tide quickly turned. After two heartbreaking losses in back-to-back weeks to divisional opponents, the Jets have fallen into a deep hole, one they may not be able to climb out of until 2018.
But to be clear, the season isn’t over for the Jets quite yet, though it may soon be. Now sitting at 3-4, the Jets have a tough road ahead, facing seven teams that are currently at .500 or above with only nine games left. Can they win some of those games? Sure they can. But they could have also won games against New England and Miami, and we all know how that worked out.
So should 2018 be the next destination in the eyes of the Jets?
Well yes, and no.
As previously mentioned, this isn’t a bad football team as many expected them to be. The Jets have proven that winning is more mental than most would like to think. In that same regard, they have been beaten on the mental playing field as well.
But for this young team that has been wrapped into the so-called “rebuild,” winning is important, and that’s for both the players and the franchise as a whole. It is truly about gaining experience and maintaining a positive culture, something that some may say the Cleveland Browns are absent of.
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So when it comes to 2017, the players should remain focused. If this is truly a rebuild for the organization, then constructing a winning culture off the bat is crucial. That will allow for future signings and additions to integrate into the locker room more smoothly and understand that this is an organization on the rise.
But what if winning isn’t on the upcoming menu for New York? The organization should move their sights to 2018 if they don’t smell any more wins from the NFL kitchen.
Now when I say the organization, I am not speaking of the players because simply, they are going to continue to play hard throughout 2017 no matter what. What I am talking about is the guys higher up who make moves in the shadows.
Landing the right guy could be absolutely crucial for this team’s future success. It is extremely hard to ignore teams that have upgraded significantly after grabbing the right guy in the draft. Teams such as the Titans (Marcus Mariota), Colts (Andrew Luck), Eagles (Carson Wentz), and Rams (Jared Goff) all stick out in that regard as they all seem to have transformed their organizations for the better.
And while yes, there has been plenty of times that that similar strategy has not worked out for some teams, it is difficult to ignore the temptation of what it could possibly bring.
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So in that sense, the Jets should be focused on 2018 and the potential moves that will need to be made to successfully abort this apparent “rebuild.” I say “apparent” because in some ways, the Jets already have many of the pieces they need to be a winning team, and they’ve shown just that by remaining competitive and earning victories in the midst of negativity.
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This team and it’s fans have a lot to look forward to, especially with the success that is already evident in many of the Jets young pieces. The potential for 2017,record-wise, may be capped sooner rather than later, but the ability to form a strong-hold of a culture is what should motivate this team for 2018.