The New York Jets season of limited expectations brought out less than stellar crowds to MetLife Stadium for the first two home games. There were plenty of empty seats along with an atmosphere that did not really resemble any type of home field advantage for Gang Green. Now, following the Jets 17-14 win over the Cleveland Browns, their third victory in a row, the team deserves a much better environment as they face the Patriots for first place on Sunday.
Quarterback Josh McCown is the undisputed leader of the offense, and is the perfect example of a team first guy. Following a very ugly first half against the Browns, McCown rallied his team with 2 touchdown passes and several quality throws. There is no quit in McCown and that rubs off on his teammates.
The Jets running game stalled against Cleveland, but that was no surprise as the Browns’ defensive unit was ranked 7th against the run entering the game. The difference in this year’s running back group is the versatility and explosiveness of Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire. Both backs are threats catching the ball out of the backfield and can take it to the house when given space.
So much was made about the departure of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, yet after 5 games Jermaine Kearse has more touchdowns than the two combined. Jeremy Kerley is a very reliable target for Josh McCown, while Robby Anderson offers the game breaking speed needed to open up the offense. ArDarius Stewart slowly, but surely, is coming along as a very physical playmaker.
Austin Seferian Jenkins is emerging as the safety valve for McCown with his excellent size, athletic ability and consistent pass catching. When was the last time the Jets had a tight end like ASJ to feature in the passing game? Meanwhile Eric Tomlinson is doing an excellent job as the blocking tight end and even had a big 34-yard catch against the Browns. Rookie Jordan Leggett finally returned to the active roster following his injury and it will be interesting to see what he can contribute after a significant amount of lost time.
The offensive line, which was considered the weakness of the team, is gelling and becoming a solid group. Young players like Brandon Shell and Wesley Johnson are starting to hold their own aside veterans Brian Winters and James Carpenter.
The Jets offense is not likely to score 30 points any time soon, but creative game planning from offensive coordinator John Morton allows the group to effectively maximize all of their resources. The group is fun to watch, especially when you see them fighting for every yard.
The defensive line, which was considered the strength of the team, has not played as expected with both Mo Wilkerson and Leonard Williams off to slow starts, with injuries playing a factor. Kony Ealy has been a pleasant surprise with his relentless pressure and ability to knock down passes.
The linebacker group has been decimated by injuries but that has not stopped the group from being productive. Demario Davis is arguably having one of the best years of his career, while Darron Lee continues to find his way. Josh Martin and David Bass have been surprising solid contributors while Jordan Jenkins remains a rock at outside linebacker. This group plays very physical and with a lot of emotion which is a refreshing change.
The Jets revamped secondary features two exciting rookie safeties that are flying around the field making plays. The passion and energy of Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams is infectious along with their consistent playmaking abilities. Morris Claiborne has played like a true number one corner while Darryl Roberts played at a high level prior to his injury. Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams have struggled at times, but made big plays in big moments during this 3 game winning streak.
Once considered the biggest weakness on the team the Jets special teams units, especially on kick coverage, have improved. The Jets are no longer losing significant yards in the field position game. Lac Edwards remains a bit inconsistent with his punts, but has shown off a huge leg at times including a 62-yarder against Cleveland. Chandler Catanzaro has been showing off a big leg as well including a 57-yard kick against the Browns.
Fun team to watch, easy team to root for
The New York Jets are 3-2 and playing very hard for each other and their head coach. This is a united team that is giving every ounce of their energy to earn victories. As a fan what else could you ask for in a rebuilding year? And now playing a game for first place on Sunday. This Jets team deserves a raucous welcome home from the fans on Sunday and a loud, rowdy crowd supporting them as they take on the Patriots. No one expected to be in this situation and there is no reason why you can’t enjoy it and give the team some enthusiasm in the stands. J E T S JETS! JETS! JETS! should be loud and proud starting at kickoff. You never know, this team could be 4-2 a week from now.