The NY Jets spent the past offseason focused on roster upgrades. There is much to dissect after Week 1.
First, the good news: the Robert Saleh era shows promise. We’d heard all summer from Florham Park that the arrow finally points in the right direction and that there’s a new energy in the building.
Sunday’s tough 19-14 road loss to the ascending Panthers demonstrated that Gang Green has an opportunity to win if they play “all gas no brakes” for a full 60 minutes.
Between Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson, and Matt Rhule, this game was huge for Carolina. Before the contest, Saleh admitted to matchup issues on both sides of the ball.
Beyond Zach Wilson in his first pro game facing a fast, tough top-five defense was the Jets young secondary trying to cover three top-flight receivers, including future Hall of Famer Christian McCaffrey.
And those matchup issues proved to be the difference in Charlotte. The defense gave up too many big plays and made many mistakes before coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s well-designed defensive halftime adjustments.
But the play-calling of “Shanahan tree” offensive guru Matt LeFleur felt downright Gase-like for the first three quarters. So that’s a situation worth monitoring.
There was considerable concern with the team’s youth movement coming out of training camp. Saleh said before the game that he expected eight rookies to start or contribute — and that these young professionals were all intelligent, fast learners exhibiting a presence far beyond their age and draft status.
So understand that the 2021 season is part of a learning curve. There should be much to build on by the season’s end and much for which to be proud.