NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh spoke with confidence at his press conference during OTA's on Tuesday saying "we're better. I know we're gonna be better." Quarterback Zach Wilson echoed the same sentiments stating "we're definitely going to be better."
There is plenty of evidence to prove these claims correct and fans should expect to see results starting this season based on the improved talent on the team.
The way that general manager Joe Douglas has approached the rebuild for this organization has been methodical. It is easy to see the fingerprints from his past stops in the front offices of both the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles within his approach towards roster building.
Douglas is on his way to creating a pipeline of talent at almost every position where there is a blend of youth, veteran leadership, and depth. He has also managed to do this while focusing on reducing dead cap money to the point where the Jets now rank last in the league in that department.
The NY Jets are getting better one step at a time
A few of the position groups that exemplify this 'pipeline' approach are the wide receivers, tight ends, cornerbacks, and edge. Only a few years ago, you could look at all four of these positions and make an argument that the Jets had the worst collection of talent in the league at these key positions.
At wide receiver, the rotation of Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios, and Denzel Mims is a blend of players with high ceilings and unique skill sets.
As the position has risen in value across the league, Douglas seems well aware of the importance of maintaining an injection of talent at wide receiver (Douglas has drafted a wide receiver in the first two rounds in each of the last three years).
Building a core group of receivers that "thick and bulky" quarterback Zach Wilson can grow with is crucial to his all-important development in his second year and beyond.
The tight end position is labeled as the "security blanket" for a quarterback and this is another unit where the talent and depth have greatly improved.
C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, and Jeremy Ruckert could each individually end up being the best tight end the Jet has had in a decade. The fact that all three are in the building is hard to fathom.
The combination of veteran leadership and youthful ascending talent in the tight end room will be a major factor in the Jets' success on offense this season.
The upgrade of the cornerback position will make a big impact on the 32nd-ranked defense in 2021. Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Bryce Hall, Michael Carter II, and Brandon Echols make for a deep and versatile cornerback group.
The depth and flexibility of this unit will be a great help when the team faces a multitude of top-tier pass catchers this season. Not to mention that the Jets carrying on the tradition of having exciting and talented cornerbacks.
The position that might be of most consequence to the team's identity and the position that fans have craved for a while: edge rushers. Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson, John Franklin-Myers, Vinny Curry, Jacob Martin, Bryce Huff, and Micheal Clemons make up a vicious array of threats to get to the quarterback.
In Robert Saleh's scheme where rotating pass rushers constantly is a key strategy, the depth at this position could compensate for weaknesses elsewhere on the defense.
Each of the position groups listed above and others not mentioned has players that are building blocks for the future and proven impact veterans that have played in winning situations.
The path toward legitimacy is being built tactically at One Jets Drive and for the first time in a while, Jets fans can start to rattle off players from their team that could be difference makers on any roster in the league and get past five or so names.
Douglas and Saleh seem to share a mindset on how to build a team which has resulted in a pipeline of more sustainable talent than any Jets roster since their last playoff appearance in 2011.
There are still holes on this team, and while the 2022 schedule is a doozy, there are many reasons for fans to believe in this organization's ability to build the foundation of this team the right way.
The Jets are unquestionably getting better, and this is only the beginning.