Jets Season a Roller Coaster

Jets Season a Roller Coaster

Fisher DiSimone, Copy Editor

This season for the Jets has been a rollercoaster of every emotion possible. To be honest, there are no words for what has transpired over these weeks, but the closest word to it is madness. They’ve gone from being projected as a bottom 10 team with a handful of significant injuries to being a legitimate playoff contender with a backup quarterback playing phenomenal football. Thus far the season has had high ups, being our absolutely stellar rookie class, with emerging All-Pro corner Sauce Gardner leading the class, and not being total failures like we have been this past decade. However, there have also been very low lows with breakout rookie running back Breece Hall tearing his ACL, sidelining him for the rest of the season, and QB Zach Wilson being absolutely terrible. Most people thought that the season relied on Zach Wilson and what he brought to this young Jets team. It has taken a complete turn, yet they are somehow defying all the odds and contending for the playoffs? Absolute madness.

One major factor contributing to the Jets successful 2023 campaign has been their defense. They have allowed the fifth lowest passing yards, and tenth lowest rushing yards in the entire league. Players such as Sauce Gardner who is first in passes broken up (14), CJ Mosley who’s fifth in total tackles (107), and Quinnen Williams who is 12th in sacks (8) have contributed to this success. Everyone on defense is contributing to this success, which is why it is difficult to name everyone. The offense, however, has been below average, sitting at 22nd in passing yards and 21st in rushing yards in the entire league. This brings in the Zach Wilson discussion, and his absolutely poor performances. After getting injured in the preseason, Zach Wilson made his debut in week 4 and won, and for the most part played pretty solid. He then went on to win the next three games, starting out the season 4-0. To the naked eye this seems tremendous, and yes winning games is spectacular for a team that has been so deprived of wins in recent years, but these wins were not a result of his play. As the weeks went by he spiraled down this hole of poor performances. After finishing 5-2, Wilson was benched  heading into week 12. He finished with 1279 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. That is an average of 182.7 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and 0.7 interceptions per game. These stats are below average in every aspect. To put it in perspective, star quarterback Patrick Mahomes averages 325.9 yards, 2.6 touchdowns, and 0.7 interceptions per game, almost double Zach’s average. When everything seemed lost after we benched Zach, Mike White came in.

White has been a fan favorite since last year’s start against the red hot Cincinnati Bengals, where White absolutely dismantled their defense, finishing with 405 yards in his first NFL start, second most of all time in quarterbacks during their first start. Fast forward to this season, Mike White is still dominating with a stat sheet of 315 yards and 3 touchdowns. This game absolutely revitalized this Jets team and the fanbase as well; when all thought the season was done, Mike White came in and absolutely dominated. However, White played the Chicago Bears, a bottom 10 team that was also riddled with injuries. The real test came vs the Minnesota Vikings where White threw for 369 yards, a rushing touchdown, and two interceptions, losing in an extremely close contest against one of the league’s best teams. Despite this loss, the main culprit that caused this loss was the coaching. Yes, the offense was held to five field goals, with some drives going into the red zone and settling for the three rather than six, but the play calling did not set the Jets up in a position to succeed. One instance was when the Jets were within five yards of the endzone and called two consecutive passing plays, both being incomplete and turning the ball over on downs, inevitably losing them the game. Their running back situation is currently having a problem with their two main guys out (Breece Hall and Michael Carter); however, when a team is set up with a game winning drive within the five yard line, don’t try to get too smart, run the ball.

At the time of writing this, the Jets sit at 7-5 before the start of week 14, just squeezing into the playoffs as the 7th seed for right now. The road ahead for the Jets will not be easy, facing the Bills, Dolphins, and Seahawks at some point down the line. Mike White has shown he is capable of playing competitive football, commanding this young Jets offense down the field drive after drive. They just need to call the right plays and finish drives with the best possible outcome. If they can work on that, the sky’s the limit for this team moving forward and there is a real possibility they can take flight in the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.


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