What causes more stress: New York Jets football or your family on Thanksgiving?
It’s that time of year again when you get the unique opportunity to combine the two in a four day span. With Thanksgiving on Thursday and the Jets hosting the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, now is the perfect time to reflect on your life and how fortunate you truly are. Whether you have a loving and supportive family, great friends, an excellent job or anything else, take a step back from the chaos of your life and appreciate everything you have. You’re also a Jets fan, which can be a good or bad thing. It hasn’t been a pretty ride but there are many things Jets fans should be thankful for this holiday season. Here are 10 things Jets fans should appreciate they have in 2017.
10. Your bridge quarterback has played excellent: Josh McCown is putting up career numbers. He has never thrown this many touchdowns (14), has the highest completion percentage of his career (69 percent) and has the second-highest quarterback rating of his career (93.7). McCown has been more than the statistics suggest. He has been a calming influence in the locker room for a young and inexperienced offensive core. His teammates love him and for all intents and purposes, he has been a role model for young projects – Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Though he has a couple of backbreaking interceptions this season, McCown has been fairly consistent and has given the Jets the best chance to win week in and week out. He is better than previous stopgap signal callers of the past ala Ryan Fitzpatrick, Michael Vick and Brett Favre. General manager would also be wise to consider bringing back McCown for cheap next year, especially if the Jets can secure a young quarterback in the upcoming draft. McCown is the perfect man to learn from both on and off the field.
9. You’ve got some talented wide receivers: Think about this for a second: How much stronger would the Jets offense be if Quincy Enunwa was lining up at the line of scrimmage? The answer: more lethal. Enunwa is a young talent – he proved that last year. With Robby Anderson having a breakout season (35 catches, 568 yards, five touchdowns and one unbelievable celebration in the first row of Hard Rock Stadium), Jets fans can understandably get giddy thinking of the possibilities of having a franchise quarterback throw to Enunwa, Anderson and Jermaine Kearse for at least the next two seasons. Not many experts believed in Anderson entering this season but the undrafted free agent has proven speed and size to outrun and outleap the opposing cornerback. Tell him to run a fly route and dare the corner to bite. It won’t end well for the competition.
8. Your team has finally found a tight end (with a life-changing story): As said perfectly by Associated Press Jets reporter Dennis Waszak, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has quickly become a fan favorite. It also helps that everyone loves a true redemption story. This is the last year of his four-year/$5,254,920 contract he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and loves it in green and white. He has openly said many times he is extremely grateful to the Jets organization for taking another chance on him. Maccaganan would be silly not to offer the 25-year-old a contract that would allow Seferian-Jenkins to play the bulk of his prime in New York. McCown has a connection with Seferian-Jenkins and every rookie or young quarterback loves having an oversized safety net in the middle of the field with excellent hands and game-breaking abilities.
Not sure I’ve seen a #Jets player who wasn’t a top draft pick or big FA signing become as big a fan favorite as quickly as Austin Seferian-Jenkins. His redemption story clearly hits home with many in this NY/NJ fanbase.
— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) November 15, 2017
7. Your safeties are going to be mainstays for years to come: When Maccagnan drafted safeties with back-to-back picks, many questioned his strategy. Well, nobody is batting an eye now. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye have played admirably in their rookie seasons. Though they do have their ups and downs in coverage, both are hard-hitting, ball-hawking safeties with a strong work ethic and passion for the game. Through the first four weeks, Adams was the top graded rookie safety according to Pro Football Focus. Also worth noting, he has 13 run stops. No rookie safety through 10 weeks has had that many run stops in the last decade. Kind of reminds you of how the Seattle Seahawks constructed their Legion of Boom, no?
6. Your running backs are pretty explosive (and young): Besides Matt Forte, who has one year left on his contract after this offseason, Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire has shown Jets fans their running game can be versatile threats in the near future. Both Powell and McGuire can run and catch out of the backfield. Knock on Forte all you want but you have to give him credit, he has been a true professional, leader and mentor to Powell and McGuire during his tenure. Two running backs that can do a little bit of everything is also a good asset to have for a rookie quarterback.
5. Your linebackers are finally showing development in coverage and pass rushing: Demario Davis has been a steal of a trade for the Jets. Remember, they shipped Calvin Pryor to Cleveland for Davis. But, this is a focus on Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins – two young players who had their growing pains a season ago. Lee and Jenkins have been two of the more consistent players in recent weeks and they’re both showing progression in covering tight ends and pressuring the quarterback. Lee and Jenkins have both played fast and decisively – two traits they lacked in 2016.
4. Your team will likely finish ahead of your cross-stadium rivals: Were you ticked off when you saw several members of the Giants posing for a picture on a boat before a major playoff game? How about when video went viral of when the entire Giants depth chart started dancing around the locker room? Maybe you didn’t like Justin Pugh’s since deleted tweet: “At the airport and I forgot a hat. They only have @nyjetshats. All of them untouched. Literally not one @Giants hat left…Wonder why?” Karma? The Giants have been a disaster while the Jets have been a refreshing surprise.
3. Your team still has a potpourri of draft picks lined up for 2018: It seems as if the Jets will shock the football world, make things interesting in December, but fall short. Look at the bright side, your team still has nine draft picks lined up in the upcoming draft. This draft will be deep. Look no further than the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles – two teams that did not tank in 2015 but had mediocre seasons. They both traded up for the first and second pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and locked in their franchise quarterback. The Jets look to be heading in that same route of mediocrity this season. If Maccagnan believes in Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson, trade up and get him. You have plenty of draft picks to work with this offseason.
2. You’re still in the playoff hunt: If somebody told you in August that your favorite football team would have four wins at their BYE week and still be alive for a Wild Card spot, what would you have done? Well, that’s a reality – take a look. It’ll take nine wins to clinch a playoff berth this year with the AFC playoff picture being watered-down by parity. In the NFL, anything can happen any given Sunday. The Jets will need to steal some games from worthy opponents and receive some help but stranger things have happened.
1. You’re not a Cleveland Browns fan: Talk about football purgatory. This organization has defined ineptitude for the last 25 years; they only have three winning seasons. The organization has no quarterback, no offensive identity and no future. Be grateful you’re not Browns fans, Jets Nation. Things could always be worse. The Jets are on the right path. Cleveland has no clear path towards anything.
Happy Tanks-giving, er, I mean, Thanksgiving, Jets fans! (Sorry, force of habit).
Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28Joebarone) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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