Jets’ December hopes rest on bucking September ineptitude

Back in March, standing on the patio of a complicated resort in Florida, Jets common supervisor Joe Douglas set the baseline for the expectations for the 2022 season.

“We need to be playing meaningful games in December,” Douglas stated throughout the NFL conferences.

Douglas is correct. This Jets season will likely be outlined by whether or not this workforce may even be within the playoff race in December, overseas territory for the Jets since 2015. But earlier than we get to the Jets enjoying significant December video games, they should win video games in September.

One of probably the most staggering items of the Jets’ latest ineptitude is that they’ve lost 12 straight video games in September. Their final victory within the month was the season opener in 2018 in opposition to the Lions. You keep in mind that one, proper? Sam Darnold’s debut. The Jets smoked Detroit, 48-17, on a Monday night time and regarded as in the event that they have been on their method earlier than falling aside for one more 4-12 season.

The Jets have had two new head coaches since that recreation, a brand new GM, six completely different beginning quarterbacks and extra personnel strikes than one can rely. There are simply two gamers nonetheless on the roster who performed in that recreation — defensive sort out Nathan Shepherd and lengthy snapper Thomas Hennessy.

The month of September has been a horror present, and the losses have made the Jets’ season really feel over earlier than it even begins. It is tough to beat an 0-3 begin, and that has been the Jets file in every of the previous three seasons.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas talk
Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas need significant December soccer — however should get out of September first.
Noah Okay. Murray-NY Post.

That has to alter for head coach Robert Saleh’s crew this year. This is a younger workforce that wants a confidence booster early. These should not the Tom Brady Patriots, a workforce that all the time appeared to start out slowly, however which you knew would determine it out by November. The Chiefs or the Bills may begin slowly this year and also you’d nonetheless be assured they might win 12 video games.

The Jets?

If they begin 0-3, we’ll be speaking about the place they’ll be drafting in April and whether or not they can land star Alabama linebacker Will Anderson.

The schedule-makers didn’t do the Jets any favors. The Ravens, Browns and Bengals are their September opponents. All three are playoff contenders. The Jets now most certainly should play a few of these video games with out beginning quarterback Zach Wilson, including to the problem. The Ravens have been 8-3 final year earlier than accidents and a bunch of shut losses ruined their season. The Browns, even with out Deshaun Watson, are a robust workforce. The Bengals are the defending AFC champions and will likely be on the lookout for revenge in opposition to a Jets workforce that upset them final year.

One of the most important challenges Saleh and Douglas face is erasing the shedding mentality from contained in the Jets. The group has been crushed down over the previous decade. Though gamers change, the shedding feeling has continued. A couple of years in the past, one veteran participant advised me there was a sense of “Here we go again” as quickly because the workforce hit some adversity.

And these are the Jets. There will likely be adversity.

July 29, 2022; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh gives a fist bump to quarterback Zach Wilson (2)
Saleh and second-year QB Zach Wilson could have their work reduce out for them early within the season.
Noah Okay. Murray-NY Post

The story of the previous few Septembers is not only about shedding. It can be about watching not one, however two quarterbacks drafted within the prime three lose their dwelling openers, throwing chilly water on the hope they offered. Adam Gase’s Dolphins introduced Darnold again to earth in Week 2 of 2018, and Wilson was intercepted 4 occasions by the Patriots in Week 2 final year. There have been blowout losses to the 49ers and Colts in 2020 and to the Broncos final year. There was Darnold’s 2019 bout of mono, which led to Luke Falk beginning video games. There was Baker Mayfield coming off the bench for the Browns on a Thursday night time in 2018 and Cleveland’s Myles Garrett breaking Trevor Siemian in half on a Monday night time the next season.

No one expects the 2022 Jets to get to the Super Bowl, however the season can’t be over by Halloween, because it has been for the previous three years.

Ultimately, the 2022 Jets will likely be judged by whether or not they’re nonetheless within the race in December and enjoying these “meaningful” video games Douglas talked about this previous March. But there are a couple of extra pages on the calendar to go earlier than we get there.

The Jets could make their December goals far more real looking with a September to recollect.

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