All Gas, No Brake: Why the New York Jets’ Future is Brighter than Ever

The New York Jets are a franchise competing in the National Football League (NFL). Nowadays, many people who follow the NFL associate the Jets with poor on-field performance, incompetent coaching, and even less competent management. However, I think that this past season’s 4-13 record is misleading. I would go as far as to say that this was probably the best losing season for the team since the team’s last playoff appearance 11 years ago. 

Firstly, consider 2021 #2 overall draft pick Zach Wilson, a man who experts and fans alike hope will become the face of the Jets franchise at the most important position, quarterback. Sure, 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for the season may not sound like much, but this is misleading. Wilson improved over the last 5 games, throwing 0 interceptions, compared to 11 interceptions in his first 8 games (did not play Weeks 6-10 due to injury). He learned to manage the game better and had a better grasp of what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. Furthermore, Wilson has been reported to have been visiting teammates’ homes to perform basic drills during the offseason, while also working with his trainer (and former Jets QB coach) to hone his technique. Give the rookie some time, and he’ll pan out for sure. 

Secondly, there comes Wilson’s supporting cast. Rookie running back Michael Carter rushed for 639 yards and 4 touchdowns in 147 attempts last season, a good start, and barring any injury, should be a dependable back for the future. Next is the receiving corps. Fan-favorite and All-Pro Braxton Berrios led the NFL in yards per return at 30.4 yards, including a kick return touchdown in Week 16, and performed well as a receiving threat. Such skills earned him a new two year contract for $12 million with the Jets. Rookie receiver Elijah Moore led the team with 538 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, proving himself as a reliable target for Zach Wilson, especially in the second half of the season. Finally, 2021 free agent signing Corey Davis compiled 492 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns, despite missing 7 games due to injury later in the season, cementing himself as a dependable receiver for a developing quarterback. Nice pieces, but more depth is needed. Free-agent signings including C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin (Tight End), Laken Tomlinson (Offensive Lineman), Greg Zuerlein (Kicker), and Tevin Coleman (Running Back) should add more depth. 

Next is the defense, which was the worst in the NFL last season. General Manager Joe Douglas and Head Coach Robert Saleh adopted a philosophy that the Jets can only go so far in developing Zach Wilson with the offense. Strong defense will be key if the Jets want to win football games. Luckily, current pieces on the roster include C.J. Moseley (who led the team in tackles with 103), Quincy and Quinnen Williams (the latter of whom led the team in sacks with 6.0), and Bryce Hall (who led the team in passes defended with 16) are sure to be solid pieces for the future. Furthermore, recent free-agent signings including Jordan Whitehead (Safety), D.J. Reed (Defensive Back), and Solomon Thomas (DT) should bolster the Jets defense, and with Robert Saleh at the helm, this defense will in time become a competitive NFL defense. 

Finally, we should mention the 2022 NFL Draft. Experts and fans alike have commended Joe Douglas for possibly compiling the greatest draft class in Jets history. A combination of defensive studs such as Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (cornerback, 4th overall), Jermaine Johnson II (edge rusher, 26th overall) in the first round, and some more offensive firepower in Garrett Wilson (wide receiver, 10th overall) and Breece Hall (running back, 36th overall) headline this impressive haul by the Jets front office. This is a team that is versatile on both sides of the football. The draft’s top cornerback, wide receiver, and running back are on the New York Jets. Wow. Just wow. 

With all of this in mind, perhaps there is reason to be optimistic for Jets fans. The fans are excited, the front office is making great moves, and the players are looking forward to bringing Gang Green its first championship since the 1968-69 season.