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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jet Fans, Ride The Wave!

Nuts to 0-16! If you are a Jet fan rooting against your team to capture a high draft pick, please reconsider. There is no guarantee that quarterbacks Sam Darold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen are sure things. No matter what the situation, I cannot root against the green and white. If they go 2-13 and the last game might give them a chance to get a Peyton Manning, I could possibly see rooting against them. But I want all Jet fans to get on the bandwagon and enjoy this while it lasts. Sometimes in sports all the stars line up correctly for your team. Who knows! Maybe Robby Anderson turns into the next Jerry Rice! Maybe 6th round draft pick Elijah McGuire turns into player like Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos) another 6th round pick. And maybe just maybe a 38-year old journeyman quarterback catches lightening in a bottle and has a career year. Can’t happen? See Earl Morrall of the Baltimore Colts in 1968. Or even Joe Kapp of the 1969 Minnesota Vikings. Both these journeyman quarterbacks led their teams to the Super Bowl. The Jets may end up going 2-14 but give the organization credit, something is happening in Florham Park. And it is good!

How did they do it (so far)?
1. First off remember how upset Jet fans were cutting Eric Decker, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold and not resigning Brandon Marshall and trading Sheldon Richardson? The only one who has done anything is Decker. And he has only 12 receptions for104 yards and no TDs. And Richardson has no sacks with Seattle. 
2.  Draft picks. The Jets had nine and all nine are still on the team. Most are contributing. Jeremy Clark, 6th round pick is on the “Reserve/Non-Football Injury” list.
3.  #1 and #2 draft picks, Safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye have looked great! Adams has played as advertised and at times has been used as a hybrid linebacker moving all over the field allowing the Jets to play the nickel with an extra DB more often.
4. The offensive line. Playing much better than was expected. They have given up sacks but some are McCown’s fault.
5. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and using the tight ends in general have helped open up the offense.
6. Demario Davis. When the Jets brought him back, I could not believe it but he has shown Jet fans and me that he can play at a high level in this league.
7. Offensive Coordinator John Morton. This guy gets it! He is willing to play rookies! Willing to take chances! Has the offense playing well. 
8. Mike Maccagnan. Whether it is picking up Kony Ealy, Jeremy Kerley, David Bass or trading for Jermaine Kearse and Terrence Brooks, his moves the last six weeks have been outstanding!
9. The locker room. The toxic atmosphere last year appears to have been a lot worse than anybody knew. Ridding themselves of Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson were the right moves! The present team chemistry is working.
10. Josh McCown. In this quarterback driven league, McCown could take the blame for a few things. Missing Robby Anderson ahead of the field or holding the ball too long. But this 38-year old has shown tremendous grit. His 87.8 QB rating won’t get him into the Pro Bowl but he has been better than average. When was the last time the Jets had a quarterback with a 70% completion percentage?
11. Todd Bowles. He drives Jet fans crazy with his clock management and his in-game decisions sometimes but give him credit for one thing, this team is playing hard for him.

Jermaine Kearse
Let’s give this wide receiver who is playing like a professional the credit he deserves. He was a local guy born in Lakewood, Washington and signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent from the University of Washington. He was on the 2013 Super Bowl winning team. He caught that incredible pass in the Super Bowl in 2014 against the Patriots that was tipped by Malcolm Butler but he continued to hold on to it as it bounced all over his body. He was living the dream as a local guy who makes good! The Seahawks are perennial playoff contenders every year. Then it happened. This past September 1st, Kearse gets traded along with a number two draft pick for Sheldon Richardson to the worst team in the NFL. He could have figuratively packed it in and tried to get waived or traded to a contender. But Kearse and the Jets have embraced each other. To date he is the leading receiver on the team with 18 receptions for 182 yards and two touchdown receptions. He has become Josh McCown’s favorite target. When Quincy Enunwa went down with a season ending injury, the receiving corp looked very thin. Jermaine Kearse has given the receivers stability and has become a quiet leader. He has been an excellent reliable pick-up so far! 

Jets Should Draft Two Quarterbacks In 2018
We all know the Jets will probably pick a quarterback in the first round. Looking ahead, the way I am reading the draft for 2018 is that the Jets have nine picks. They get an extra 2nd round pick from Seattle for Sheldon Richardson. And they get an extra 5th round pick for a trade they made with the Cowboys on draft day in 2017. The Jets should think outside the box. With the number of NFL quarterback prospects growing almost weekly, I would take a second quarterback in the 4th or 5th round. I really don’t think two of the Jet quarterbacks will be back next year and possibly all three. By drafting two quarterbacks, the Jets would be hedging their bets so to speak. Crazy you say? Go back some 50+ years and I know it was a very different time but look what the Jets did and eventually it put them on top. The Jets drafted two quarterbacks in 1965.  Everyone knows the story of Joe Namath and the $427,000 contract.  However, with their 12th-round selection, the Jets also picked up Notre Dame star and Heisman Trophy winner, John Huarte. No doubt there were more rounds in the draft than today.  But the way certain parts of the team have begun to come together this year, they really should consider drafting two quarterbacks. 

Quarterback Watch
1. Sam Darnold, USC. 15-29, 164 yards with one interception in a 30-27 loss to Washington State.
2. Josh Rosen, UCLA, 28-45, 372 yards with one touchdown  a 27-23 win over Colorado. 
3. Josh Allen, Wyoming, 14-24, 219 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-10 win against Texas State.

The others
4. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
5. Lamar Jackson, Louisville
6. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
7. Luke Falk, Washington State
8. Jake Browning, Washington
9. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern * 
10.Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State * 

* The player is a Junior and may or may not come out.

What the Jet scribes are saying:

Rich Cimini, ESPN
Wrap your brain around this: The Jets (2-2) and New England Patriots have the same record at the quarter pole of the season. This doesn't mean the Jets are a legitimate contender (some perspective, please), but they're better than we thought because they've established an identity. They can run the ball and play some defense. They displayed resilience, too, reclaiming a game that appeared to be lost in overtime. They got lucky because the Jaguars outcollapsed the Jets, but rebuilding teams shouldn't have to apologize for wins. How the Jets won this game is beyond explanation, but they displayed a formula that can drive them for the rest of the season. Bilal Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire ran for a combined 256 yards. With Matt Forte (turf toe) sitting out, Powell and McGuire scored on 75- and 69-yard runs, respectively, the first time since 2002 the Jets produced two touchdown runs of at least 65 yards in the same game. Wonder if Forte ever heard of Wally Pipp. Powell and McGuire are younger and faster than Forte, and they should be the focal points of the running game as the season moves forward.

Brian Costello, NY Post
The Jets have come a long way in a few weeks. They have learned how to handle adversity and bounce back from bad plays. The Jets could have folded Sunday after blowing a 10-point lead, but did not. That is a credit to Todd Bowles. Defensively, Bowles and Kacy Rodgers had a good plan to stop the Jaguars. John Morton dialed up the right mix of run and pass against a Jaguars defense with talented cornerbacks…..Austin Seferian-Jenkins was getting dressed at his locker after the Jets’ 23-20 overtime win over the Jaguars on Sunday, when someone asked if he knew what the preseason over/under win total was for the Jets.“Six?” Seferian-Jenkins asked. Nope. He was then told it was 3 ½.

“Three and a half? Whoa,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I hope someone put a lot of money on that we were going to go over.”

The Jets are halfway to making those who took the over happy. They won their second straight game Sunday and at 2-2, look like they will be much better than most people predicted. So, what did the oddsmakers and experts miss when predicting this team to be 0-16, 1-15 or 2-14? “These people, they make their predictions and all that. Most of the time they’re on, but sometimes they’re off,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I think it comes down to the determination of the guys in the room and how hard do they want to play and how committed they are to each other. I think the cool thing about this team is that we are all really committed to each other — the coaches, the players. We’re playing for one another. We’re not playing for ourselves. I think that’s why we’ve been able to be successful.” The Jets have gotten stronger play than expected from quarterback Josh McCown, who has completed over 70 percent of his passes. The offensive line has played much better than anyone anticipated, paving the way for 256 rushing yards Sunday. Rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye look like seasoned veterans. The secondary has allowed one pass of 40 yards or more this season after allowing 13 last year. But ask Jets players and coaches and they will echo what Seferian-Jenkins said. They believe the key to this team being better than outsiders expected is the togetherness it has.

Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
To hear some people tell it, the Jets were being led by a bumbling, unquotable, uninspiring, clueless fool on the sideline this season. The HC of NYJ was some sort of lost soul incapable of motivating a sad-sack team destined to circle the drain during this tank-a-palooza, they said. The particularly dense contingent went so far as to laughably claim that the Jets might rue the day that they let Amos Alonzo Marrone, the current Jaguars head man, leave One Jets Drive without a job offer a couple years ago. How dare Woody Johnson hire Todd Bowles instead of that quitter from Buffalo? The outrage! Bowles beat Marrone and his overrated Jag crew Sunday, prompting many Suck for Sam Truthers to wonder whether to rejoice or curse the moment. The Jets’ 23-20 overtime triumph over Jacksonville at MetLife Stadium has them even in the standings with – wait for it – the Patriots in second place in the AFC East at the quarter pole of the season. The team left for dead before the race actually began has a long way to go, but the facts are indisputable: The Jets are 2-2 at a time when plenty of folks figured they’d be six feet under.

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