I realize full well that as this post comes out, it is only Week 7 of the 2022 NFL season. But the reality is that the New York Jets have a surprising 4-2 record. To put this in perspective, the Jets haven’t had a winning season in 7 years when I was a 3rd year resident. They haven’t been to the playoffs in a decade. So, every year, I follow and root for the Jets watching every game, and it has been a lot of disappointment.
So yeah…I’m leaning into this!
Let’s take a look at what has contributed to their early success this year…
A new culture
Culture is such an imperative aspect of any organization. Whether it be in sports, business, or even family. However, it is so hard to define, measure, and therefore develop culture.
To me it always seems that culture is something that grows so slowly, so minutely, so step-by-small step that you hardly notice it. You really need to be paying attention but also have the big picture in mind.
Anyway, the Jets seem to finally be growing a string, healthy, winning culture. And the large credit for this goes to their head coach Robert Saleh, who is relentlessly positive, and their general manager, Joe Douglas – whose drafts have been spectacular as I’ve documented here.
Players are playing hard. The whole organization believes it can win. And the fans therefore believe as well. It’s a beautiful thing.
A stifling defense
If there is one aspect of the team that has been most impressive so far, it is the defense. It’s fair to say that the defense had no where to go but up after the past few years when they ranked among the worst in the league.
But this jump has been even more than expected. Their defensive line is dominant and led by third year player Quinnen Williams. Their linebackers are solid if not exciting. But their secondary, namely their lock down cornerbacks – rookie Sauce Gardner and veteran D.J. Reed – are incredible. Their coverage allows the Jets to get more pressure on the quarterback, generate sacks, and induce turnovers.
A growing ground attack
The Jets offense has not been spectacular. But it has been efficient and competent – two words that could not have been used in the past many years. However, what is looking like it will make the offense special moving forward is its ground attack.
Last year, the Jets drafted running back Michael Carter in the 4th round. He has a very good rookie year by all accounts. This year, in 2022, the Jets drafted running back Breece Hall in the second round. They had him graded as one of the 18 best players in the draft. So to have him fall to the second round was a huge steal.
This pairing gives them a dynamic running back tandem that has powered their offense. Both are great catching the ball out of the backfield as well. Hall especially looks special with nearly 350 yards from scrimmage in just the past 2 games.
Competent QB play
The NFL is a quarterback driven league. And the Jets have not had a really competent and winning quarterback in a long time.
Whether they have a great or just good quarterback currently remains to be determined. Zach Wilson is in his second year and has yet to have a 300 yard passing game or show that he can “take over” and win a game.
But, he is 3-0 this year since returning from injury and looks much more comfortable than he ever did last year. He appears to be pressing less and has played turnover free football the past 2 games.
If he continues to improve, the sky is the limit.
Look out for the surprising New York Football Jets!
Thank you for indulging me with this post. Like I said, I haven’t been able to be super excited about the Jets in a looooong time. So I’m all in.
If you are a Jets fan, hit me up or leave a comment below letting me know what you think about the team so far! If you aren’t a Jets fan, tell me about your team!