As the New York Jets enter their bye week, The Jet Press sits down with Christa Levitas to discuss their top five observations of the season so far.
At the bye week, the New York Jets are currently 4-6 and have a lot of work ahead of them if they plan to turn things around to make a run towards the NFL Playoffs. They recently lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that they should have won.
At the end of that game, the Jets were exposed for their inefficiency on offense and inability to show any consistency. It was as if the Jets the football world saw in Week 9 was a completely different team from the one in Week 10.
Since the Jets get a break this week, I wanted to take this opportunity of the bye week to sit with Christa Levitas of Locker Room Update to discuss the team at this point in time. In case you didn’t know, she has written a plethora of articles on the Jets and specializes in interviews with rookie prospects that are about to enter the pros via the NFL Draft.
Without further ado, let’s get right to our sit down breaking down the top five observations of the season so far with the Jets. Also, please give a like to the Facebook page of Locker Room Update to stay in the loop of their work and feel free to follow Christa on Twitter.
Next: 5. Which rookie stands out the most?
5. Which rookie stands out the most?
LTJ: Hey Christa! Thanks so much for sitting down with me to discuss our beloved Jets as they enter the bye week. Right off the bat, let’s talk about which rookie players stands out the most to you and why? I already have my pick!
CL: Hey Luis! Thank you for having me and for the opportunity to talk Jets football with you! For me, it was a tie between Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Last year, the Jets secondary really struggled last year. One of the biggest concerns within the secondary was getting beat by long passes. The Jets did a great job of getting two physical safeties who compliment each other well in the backfield. These two don’t play like rookies, watching them they look polished. They’re not afraid to tackle and are not afraid to make plays in space. Both have been a tremendous upgrade to our secondary. Both are interchangeable and have been a great fit/asset to Todd Bowles type defense*
LTJ: Great picks, Christa! For me, it’s all about Jamal Adams who has overachieved and surpassed even my own expectations. He’s a natural born leader and I swear, every single defensive play I see him on the field he’s always near the football. I admire his work ethic and it’s no surprise he has a top ten selling jersey so far this season among defensive players since he’s all about making plays, hustling, and playing up to his potential. Adams is easily a player that’s only going to get better over time. Do you see him making the Pro Bowl this season, Christa?
CL: Without a doubt! Jamal Adams is a special talent! I agree with you! I’m rooting for him to make the Pro Bowl. I’m hoping he does, I’m doing my part to vote for him ?
Next: 4. Which Jet has improved the most?
4. Which Jet has improved the most?
LTJ: The Jets have overachieved this season, despite what their current record is compared to preseason expectations. In your opinion, which Jet has surprised you the most that stepped up and improved big time?
CL: Wow! This is tough. I actually have a few Jets in mind but I’m going to with Robby Anderson. From Quincy Enunwa sadly going down with a neck injury to the Jets trading Sheldon Richardson for Jermaine Kearse and a 2nd round pick, Anderson has a done a great job stepping up for the Jets and has helped the offense tremendously. He has great speed that makes it hard for defenders to cover him and has been a great target for our QB Josh McCown. He started as a UDFA and worked his way up to being one of the top leading targets on offense for the Jets. So far, Anderson has 35 catches for 568 yards and 5 touchdowns leading the Jets in receiving yards and touchdowns. He has shown and stepped up as a great target for the Jets this year.
LTJ: Excellent choice as for me, that goes to Demario Davis. Before last season, Davis looked like he regressed and I was happy when the Jets parted ways with him. It’s ironic that he ended up coming back to the team after spending a year with the Cleveland Browns and now has stepped up and improved more than I could ever imagine. He’s turned into a vocal leader on defense and is on pace in having the best season of his career statistically. Besides Anderson and Davis, I’d like to give an honorable mention to Darron Lee since he’s also showed some major improvement compared to his rookie season, what about you?
CL: I agree with you! Great choices! Demario Davis is also currently leading the team in tackles with 82 tackles he also leads the team in sacks with 3.5 sacks. I also agree with you with about Darron Lee he seems more comfortable and I feel like the Jets are starting to use his great speed to their advantage on defense. If I could add another player it would probably be Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He has been a playmaker for the Jets at the tight end position. The last time the Jets got good production out of their tight end was back when they had Dustin Keller. Jenkins overcame a lot, the Jets gave him a chance and it’s paying off. I also believe he’s another good player to put down on this question. I’d also give an honorable mention to Josh McCown because he is playing a lot better than I thought he would. He’s brought leadership and has helped make this team come together.
Next: 3. Is it time for a quarterback change for the final six games?
3. Is it time for a quarterback change for the final six games?
LTJ: Like you mentioned earlier, McCown has definitely delivered above and beyond the call of duty for the Jets this season. I’m sure you’ve heard all the rumblings from Jets Nation after that Week 10 loss but in your opinion, is it time for a quarterback change at this point in time?
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CL: I understand the frustration especially watching the Jets lose against Tampa Bay. I get why people want to take a look at Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg because of where they stand record wise and because they are rebuilding but at this point right now, I’m going to say no.
During the summer, I will admit I was praying and hoping Petty or Hack or possibly even both would start at some point this season but seeing McCown play and seeing how the team rallies with him make it hard for me to want a quarterback change. He has helped the development of players such as Robby Anderson/Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Watching Petty and Hackenberg play preseason I just don’t think they are ready yet especially with quarterback coach Jeremy Bates latest comments on both young quarterbacks I believe playing McCown (for now) is the right move. I don’t want to throw Petty or Hackenberg into a role that they are not ready for yet.
LTJ: I completely agree and that’s why I recently wrote why McCown should continue starting for the rest of the season. Petty and Hackenberg aren’t ready and won’t magically turn this team into a playoff contender. It’s best to keep McCown starting until they’re mathematically eliminated and then go with Petty since I keep reading Hackenberg continues to struggle. Only then would it make sense and obviously if McCown gets injured or something. Do you see the Jets keeping Petty and Hackenberg in 2018 or is one on the way out?
CL: Exactly I agree! That’s not to say that we think McCown is the future by any means but we’ve seen teams for example like the Cleveland Browns who are constantly making a quarterback change and that’s not good for the team either. For me, it’s tough to say. I don’t know what goes behind closed doors or how the organization feels about both of them. I think a lot determines what goes on behind closed doors and what Mike Maccagnan ultimately does during free agency whether it’s resigning McCown to a backup/starter role until a young QB is ready to take over, to signing a big-time free agent quarterback such as Kirk Cousins. Another option is drafting a quarterback early in the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s tough for me to say. A lot can happen between now and then.
Next: 2. What about Todd Bowles?
2. What about Todd Bowles?
LTJ: Just like McCown, a lot of Jets fans also are torn on whether or not to bring back head coach Todd Bowles next season. What do you think, Christa? Should the Jets bring back Bowles next season?
CL: I believe in continuity. I believe he has done a great job building up a good coaching staff this season and we can see how it really impacts the players in a positive way. He has overachieved when most media outlets had the Jets not winning a single game as I believe he deserves to be brought back.
LTJ: I completely agree, Christa. A lot of people don’t give him the credit he deserves for taking this team and making them play hard week in, week out. A lot of people also just focus on his negatives rather than the big picture as he’s kept his players in check and in a position to still be in the playoff hunt. That’s not easy to do but to me, Bowles has redeemed himself from last season and deserves to be back and continue molding this team into a playoff contender. Would it be fair to say that Bowles should stick around for at least another two years or so as they hopefully get a franchise quarterback under center?
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CL: Agreed and I believe he should be. Here’s to hoping the Jets find the answer at the quarterback position soon.
Next: 1. Final predictions to end the season?
1. Final predictions to end the season?
LTJ: With six games left to go, what are your final predictions to end the season? What in your opinion will be the final record of the Jets?
CL: I expect this team to play hard and fight hard. They’re a young team who show no quit. Would love to see them work on finishing games and I’d like to see them clean up on penalties. Don’t mean too sound pessimistic but I see the Jets winning two more games at most simply because the Jets are playing tough teams and have the toughest schedule in the NFL. Ending the season at 6-10, the record might not show it if that’s the case but the Jets are on the right track and have come a long way compared to last year.
LTJ: I totally understand and for me personally, I see them going 5-11. This team is simply inconsistent and even though they have a shot at making a run at the playoffs, I’ve always been a realistic kind of football fan and writer. They’re not beating the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, or San Diego Chargers but guess what? I’m calling it now and especially since it falls on my birthday (December 31st), the Jets will get one more win on the road over the New England Patriots. You see the Jets winning two more games this year, who do you feel they can beat for it to happen?
CL: I hear you! Here’s to hoping the Jets get you a win on your birthday! Personally, the W’s for me comes from the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers.