The New York Jets reported for duty, today, fully aware of the predictions and expectations from the masses. But for them, they’re blocking out such white noise and focusing on becoming a winning outfit.
Sure, it’s daunting to say the least. But for Gang Green, they’re all hearkening to a famous phrase a former Jets head coach made famous: “they play to win the game.”
But before they get to the winning part, current head coach Todd Bowles and is staff will need to figure out who will lead them to such success. The battle for starting quarterback will begin in earnest this weekend, and it’s really a two-man race – sorry, Bryce Petty.
Veteran journeyman Josh McCown was brought to New York to be the bridge-gap quarterback from today to tomorrow – but yonder could come sooner rather than later if second-year signal caller Christian Hackenberg can actually make this competition interesting.
The former Pennsylvania State University star will be given every opportunity from Bowles and his staff to wrestle away the gig from McCown. It might sound like a long shot, considering Hackenberg didn’t even take a regular season snap, last season, and essentially redshirted. But considering McCown is just 2-20 as a starter over the last two seasons, it gives the youngster a fighting chance.
And why not?
The Jets aren’t going anywhere this season, for all intents and purposes. No matter what guys like Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson say, the Jets could be in for a long season. Especially when general manager Mike Maccagnan gutted the roster and jettisoned numerous respected veterans. Whichever quarterback wins the derby will have a bunch of kids to throw to, so why not insert yet another kid under center and let them grow together?
There are currently 14 wide receivers on Jets’ 90-man roster, and just one (Marquess Wilson) has more than three years of National Football League experience. And his experience (just 56 career catches) merely includes just three games played, last season.
Should the Jets be bold enough and truly start a rebuild on the offensive side of the ball, they’ll at least have a sage unselfish veteran to help along Hackenberg.
“McCown is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had in the locker room,” noted linebacker Demario Davis. “He’s one of the most legit human beings I’ve ever met.”
McCown, 38, has played for a quarter of the NFL, as the Jets are his eighth official stop – not even including cups of coffee with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers during their respective offseasons.
So, that’s 10 teams in all, and enough experience to guide Hackenberg through the rough waters.
The organization’s commitment to undergo a full-fledged rebuild this offseason will make it easier for the Jets’ offense to undergo the youth movement.
So, while the outside world continues to laugh at Gang Green and post memes, perhaps the Jets can catch lightning in a bottle, ride a great defense, lean on star running backs Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, and make this season somewhat respectable.
Unlikely. But after a five-win campaign, last season, and not much being thought about concerning their prospects going forward, they really have nothing to lose.