The New York Jets haven’t made the playoffs in eight years, but new head coach Adam Gase believes his team can be in the postseason conversation this year.
It feels like another lifetime ago when the Jets were playing in back-to-back AFC title games with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez calling the shots.
But can this new breed of Gang Green finally get back to the playoffs?
Adam Gase believes his roster is capable of making it happen, if a few things can fall their way as the regular season winds down (per team senior reporter Eric Allen):
I’m looking at it as if we stay healthy, we should be in the conversation in December. That’s realistic. We have a good quarterback, we have a lot of good pieces around him. I feel like we’ve added a lot of pieces to the defense.
Injury is a factor into this to where if you’re banged up really bad in December, you have to play good ball. You have to win your home games and you have to steal a game on the road in December if you want a shot at making [the playoffs]. If we stay healthy, I think we’ll be in the right spot at the end of the year. If we lost a bunch of really good players, I think our probability goes down.
If you’re looking at the recent track record for both Gase and the Jets, it might be hard to believe the team is ready to contend for a playoff spot.
Gase failed to turn around the fortunes of the Miami Dolphins, losing his only playoff game and finishing with a losing record in each of the last two seasons prior to his firing this offseason.
The Jets have had just one winning season since their last playoff appearance, losing at least 10 games in five of those eight seasons. They’ve lost at least 11 games in each of the last three years.
That said, the Jets do look primed for a bounce-back on paper. They have a young franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, a dynamic running back in Le’Veon Bell, and defensive stars at every level (safety Jamal Adams, linebacker C.J. Mosley, defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Quinnen Williams).
The Jets are indeed talented enough to push for a playoff spot, but as Gase said, staying healthy will be key to them remaining in the conversation into the final weeks of the regular season.