The NY Jets may have lost out on Trevor Lawrence, but they restored a sense of dignity.
Afterward, the beleaguered locker room erupted in a post-game celebration. Even Adam Gase cracked a smile. His team will no longer be infamously remembered as one of the league’s all-time worst.
The victory was an all-around team effort. Sam Darnold saved the game with precision passes. Frank Gore sealed the victory with his Hall of Fame-bound rushing and receiving. Marcus Maye ensured the win with a phenomenal fourth-down stop.
Punter Braden Mann made a game-saving tackle on a fourth-quarter punt return with the Rams surging to a certain triumph. And don’t forget the recent free-agent signing J.T. Hassell, born with two fingers on his left hand, blocking a first-half punt that put the Jets in the lead for good.
But likely losing out on Lawrence will cause ripple effects.
Giddy Jets fans may not want to deal with this reality, but here’s the likely nightmare scenario for 2021. Woody Johnson, with no football vision, punts on the coaching decision to his heli-skiing brother Christopher Johnson, who just weeks ago proclaimed Gase a brilliant offensive mind.
And don’t forget that general manager Joe Douglas owes his cushy job to Gase.
So, between COVID-19 and injuries, the head coach — despite his own stunning admission that he failed both Sam Darnold and the Johnsons — could very well return for one more year.
It is sickening to think that this organization would allow “the quarterback whisperer” to ruin another top prospect. But what evidence is there to the contrary?
Channel surfing on Sunday, Jets fans realized what might have been, after standout performances from the likes of Sheldon Richardson, Demario Davis, Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams, Nick Folk, Jason Myers, and Andre Roberts. Heck, even Chad Hansen, who couldn’t play for Todd Bowles, led the Texans in receiving yards.
The NY Jets don’t have much to build around at the moment
Looking forward, there are few players on this roster worth building around. Jamison Crowder is a consummate professional. Thomas Hennessy might be the league’s top long snapper, Breshad Perriman deserves another chance.
Quinnen Williams and Folorunso Fatukasi offer the semblance of a defensive line. C.J. Mosley remains a question mark. Marcus Maye may bolt.
Back-of-the-roster considerations for 2021 include Neville Hewitt, Tarell Basham, Harvey Langi, John Franklin-Myers, Kyle Phillips, George Fant, Ty Johnson, Chris Herndon, and Trevon Wesco.
Douglas deserves credit for his 2020 draft pool. Mekhi Becton, Denzel Mims, Bryce Hall, Braden Mann, injured La’Mical Perine, and undrafted free agent Javelin Guidry can perform on this level.
But Jabari Zuniga looks lost, and Bryce Huff has hit a wall, while Cameron Clark and James Morgan aren’t close to contributing.
The GM has a master plan, and he’s sticking to it. But this is just the beginning of a long rebuilding process.
Remember, as AC/DC famously sang, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.”