NY Jets: COVID-19 pandemic poses a unique challenge

NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The entire NFL is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the NY Jets look to be at a particular disadvantage in response to this crisis. 

Before delving into the complex topic of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts the NY Jets and the NFL, it is worth remembering that there are far more consequential stakes to this crisis.

For all of the heroic healthcare workers, we offer our most sincere thanks. To those who feel lonely, to those who lost loved ones, and to those who are struggling financially, we offer heartfelt support.

Now is truly a time when we remember, and fight for, that which matters most in life. Family, friends, and the things we share together are always essential.

During good and bad times, many people look to sports as a source of peace and comfort. And here at The Jet Press, I will always be happy to talk about sports with you (in particular NY Jets football).

On that note, it’s essential to address one of the biggest offseason questions facing the NFL. How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact the league?

The pandemic so far has had a significant, but not overwhelming effect. The league was still able to have the 2020 NFL Draft, but they did have to move it to a virtual format. And NFL team facilities have been closed, though some of them may be reopening next week.

The pandemic has and will continue to interfere with the offseason preparations of all teams. Unfortunately for the Jets, they will disproportionately suffer from it.

The reopening of NFL facilities will be uneven, which is why coaches are not allowed back yet. For instance, according to the Giants, they are not yet allowed to return to their building under local rules in NJ.

— Judy Battista (@judybattista) May 15, 2020

For starters, COVID-19 has hit New York and New Jersey especially hard. It stands to reason that those two states will be among the last in the country to fully reopen.

Teams like the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and the Jets will have to continue to do events virtually or move to out-of-state facilities.

The Jets’ preseason preparations will be significantly altered this year, and they are not ready for it. They are a young team, and every second of practice and preparatory activities is essentially important.

Let’s start with the quarterback. Sam Darnold has had a promising, albeit inconsistent, start to his career. Entering his third year in the league, he is looking to take a big leap forward. Every practice rep is important to his development.

Further complicating things is the fact that the Jets basically rebuilt their entire offensive line since last season.

While this decision was necessary and should be applauded, it does leave the team scrambling to develop experience and chemistry among the members of the new unit. First-round draft pick Mekhi Becton is especially in need of as much practice and coaching as he can get.

Finally, the Jets added a couple of wide receivers who figure to play a key role in the offense this year. Free-agent acquisition Breshad Perriman and rookie Denzel Mims need time and practice to develop consistency with Darnold and the Jets offense.

General manager Joe Douglas did a fantastic job rebuilding the Jets this offseason. But rebuilt teams require lots of time, coaching, and practice to mold into an effective unit.

One bright side for the Jets is that their defense, led by coordinator Gregg Williams and veteran players Jamal Adams and C.J. Mosley, has the experience and chemistry to remain effective in 2020.

And to his credit, Darnold is trying to make sure the offense keeps up with the defense. In addition to working out at home, he also virtually communicates with teammates on a regular basis.

But there is simply no replacement for in-person activities. The Jets are a young inexperienced team with limited opportunities to change that.

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Throw in a brutally tough schedule, and the team could be in for another rough season.