So far in 2017, the New York Jets have overachieved in almost every aspect possible. Here are the top three reasons why this year will be a historic one for Gang Green.
If you didn’t already know, 2017 has been quite an eye-opening year for the New York Jets. Stories surrounded the franchise for all the wrong reasons during the offseason, from why Gang Green will go 0-16, to the Jets having the worst chances in NFL history to win the Super Bowl.
— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) November 3, 2017
But now, more than halfway through the season, the Jets are turning heads and have become one of the league’s most shocking stories simply due to their unprecedented success.
And while the Jets continue to hold a charge on their 2017 outlook after a recent blowout win against Buffalo, it is no guarantee that the season will pan out to be anything more than a shocker for the media and fans, even if the playoffs are not on the upcoming calendar.
But in that same regard, there are a handful of reasons why, down the road, this organization is going to be looking back at 2017 as a milestone and as a year of triumph. It may very well be one of those seasons where we look past the record and focus on the outstanding accomplishments.
Next: 3. The Emergence of a Threatening Secondary
3. The Emergence of a Threatening Secondary
The Jets have been a defensive-minded team for quite some time now as recent hirings in the coaching staff have led the organization to realize the importance of a strong secondary. In that regard, we’ve seen Gang Green look for key defensive pieces both in the draft and in free agency as of late.
And it may very well never go unnoticed that they grabbed two safeties with their first two draft picks in 2017, which some people highly questioned early on.
But now, those questions are simmering down. Both rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are quickly proving to be potential stars in this league, and the Jets couldn’t be more content with how it’s panning out.
Tony Romo said it best as he overlooked the young studs in their prime time debut against Buffalo:
Romo and Nantz on #Jets’ surprising decision to draft back-to-back safeties: “It’s looking like a genius move.”
— Kimberley A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) November 3, 2017
While the two up-and-coming stars still have a lot to work on, fans should be thankful for the Jets belief in them. They have shown a lot of dominance in various ways throughout 2017, and that trend is looking as though it will only continue. Drafting Adams and Maye could turn out to be one of the smartest moves the Jets have ever made, and in turn could become historic if the franchise is able to continue working towards a winning culture.
Next: 2. Potential Culture Shift
2. Potential Culture Shift
While the Jets have only hoisted one Lombardi Trophy in their 53-year history, they have remained a competitive franchise through negativity and doubt. In recent years, however, that competitive nature hasn’t seemed to maintain it’s overall stamina.
The last true time we saw the Jets unleash their full potential was in 2009-2010 when the team defied the odds and found themselves in back-to-back AFC Championship games. It looked as though it was finally for the Jets time to dethrone New England as kings of the AFC East, but consistency was never maintained.
While 2015 was certainly a positive year for the Jets, it still somewhat remains an outlier as the team slowed up significantly in 2016 despite keeping many of the same weapons. The winning mentality somehow disappeared.
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But fast-forward to the present, 2017, where the Jets were only projected to get worse, and we can see a whole new perspective. The team is striving to win games. They are hungry. And they are currently in line to surpass the team’s overall record from last year.
Despite whether or not they make the NFL Playoffs, it’s hard to ignore the extreme shift in mentality we are seeing in this team. The Jets have always seemed to be a team that is overlooked, and while that may be the case again this year, they have ignored that proposition in able to establish themselves as an up-and-coming dominant force.
The Jets have played tough while playing against tough teams in 2017. They have shown the media and their fans that they are not backing down to challenges along the road and that establishing a frame of mind induced by winning is the ultimate key. Defying the odds for one year is one thing, but the Jets look as though they are ready to extend this out for years to come, making 2017 a hallmark year for the organization.
Next: 1. No Names with No Shame
1. No Names with No Shame
A big reason why the Jets were projected to be one of the NFL’s worst teams coming into 2017 was simply due to their lack of potential playmakers. “Who is going to score the points?” they’d ask. “Who is going to be a difference maker among a team of no names?”
While those were certainly fair questions to ask in the offseason, the Jets paid the doubters no mind. Success has found a home in the eyes of an abundance of Jets’ “No Name” players. We’ve seen players such as Robby Anderson and Elijah McGuire find a niche in becoming evolving playmakers. Others such as Kony Ealy, Darron Lee, Terrence Brooks, and even Josh McCown have become difference makers for the Jets when they truly need them to be.
The point is, the Jets have been willing to give players who have never truly seen the spotlight, the opportunity to do so with an overwhelming amount of trust. While many teams see this as a huge risk, the Jets have used it to their advantage to not only develop players further but to build upon a culture that is based around team play, rather than the play of one individual.
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For example, and some may not agree, but the Green Bay Packers have worked to develop a culture around their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He is the heart and soul of that team, and he is what makes them so lethal. As we’ve seen as of late when Rodgers is not at the helm, the team struggles. It is a high risk, high reward approach that a lot of NFL teams tend to lean on.
The Jets, on the other hand, are relying on the play from each and every player, every single night. McCown hasn’t really had an outstanding overall career in the NFL, but he is shining this year with the Jets for multiple reasons, one of which is the team play that surrounds him. The organization has put the pressure on the guys who are eager to learn how to deal with it, the hungry ones. It is making this team better each and every day, and will likely hold a long lifespan for this team.
The approach can be looked at as a “rebuild” but in reality, it is just the act of tapping into the potential to see what exists. The Jets have been fortunate that, for the most part, many of their underdeveloped players are stepping up in the spotlight. This, in turn, should not only make these players better in the long run but appreciative of the organization’s trust in them. The Jets are taking on this new approach with quick success in 2017, and it will likely pay dividends down the road.