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New York Jets: Remaining games will prove a lot about this team

New York Jets (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
New York Jets (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
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With a relatively light schedule for the remainder of the season, the New York Jets must begin to show signs of improvement after a disastrous start to the season.

2019 was supposed to be a year of improvement for the New York Jets. An offensive-minded head coach along with an aggressive no-nonsense defensive coordinator were brought in.

In addition, the Jets signed arguably the top two free agents available in Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley. And not to forget, slot receiver Jamison Crowder was signed while defensive lineman Quinnen Williams was drafted with the No. 3 overall pick.

Simply put, the Jets overhauled their coaching staff and felt that Adam Gase and Gregg Williams were the right men to lead the team. The organization also believed that it had surrounded young cornerstones like quarterback Sam Darnold and safety Jamal Adams with enough talent to take a step in the right direction.

And throughout training camp and the preseason, all of those things appeared to be true. Darnold had reportedly progressed nicely, while Gase began to implement a creative offensive game plan.

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After a year on the sidelines, Bell was turning some heads in camp and Williams was seemingly bringing new life and a new fire to a defense in desperate need of it.

Then, however, the regular season began and disaster soon struck. After jumping out to a 16-0 lead in the opening half against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, the Jets completely imploded following an injury suffered by Mosley, falling apart and losing 17-16.

Following the disappointing loss, it was reported that Darnold had been diagnosed with mononucleosis and was out indefinitely — a brutal blow to the Jets. Shortly after that, it was announced that wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was out for the season after suffering another neck injury.

With multiple key players sidelined, the next three games were downright awful for the Jets, as the team suffered three-straight losses to the Cleveland Browns, the New England Patriots, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

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With third-string quarterback Luke Falk — who had never started an NFL game before this season — under center, Gase’s creative game plans were long gone and the offense was nonexistent, as the team scored just 23 points and one offensive touchdown over the course of those three games.

When Darnold returned in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys, however, he instantly reinvigorated the Jets. Not only did he complete 23-of-32 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns, but he elevated the play of those around him.

Robby Anderson, for example, had his best game of the season and the offensive line finally looked competent. The defense played strong as well.

That performance, however, now seems like it took place years ago given the form the Jets showed up in this past Monday night in a 33-0 blowout loss to the Patriots.

Overall, nothing went right for the Jets.

Darnold looked lost, though he didn’t receive much help from the offensive line, which played terribly, in protection.

Gase, meanwhile, made no adjustments and the defense, specifically the secondary and cornerback Trumaine Johnson had no answer for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.

After such a promising performance against the Cowboys a week earlier, this loss to the Patriots was undoubtedly a major setback for the Jets.

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While playing against the team who has had a stranglehold on the division for the last decade represents a tough challenge, the game marked a step back for the Jets and proved that the team is still a ways away from where they hope to be.

The performance also, however, highlighted the importance for the Jets to show signs of improvement over the remainder of the season. While making the playoffs may be out of the question, the team’s upcoming schedule is a bit light.

Looking ahead, the Jets will play the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4), the Miami Dolphins (0-6) twice, the New York Giants (2-5), the Washington Redskins (1-6), the Oakland Raiders (3-3), the Cincinnati Bengals (0-7), the Baltimore Ravens (5-2), the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4) and the Bills (5-1) again.

Given the records of the majority of those teams, this stretch should provide the Jets with a few winnable games or at the very least, the opportunity to prove that they can improve and that they are on somewhat of the right track.

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If they continue to perform against lower-level teams as they did against the undefeated Patriots, however, the alarms will begin to sound louder and louder. Many have already begun to call for Gase to be fired.

If things don’t change quickly, those calls will continue and before we know it, the Jets could be right back in the same situation they’ve been in so many times in recent memory.

The remainder of the season will prove a lot about this young Jets team. Perhaps the team will flash more signs that they can succeed and that they can improve.

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But if not, we may just be looking at the same old Jets after all.

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