The New York Jets were the fourth-worst team in 2021 and the second-worst the year before that. They also have the longest NFL playoff drought, and it’s not even close.
The new regime aims to change that. Led by general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh, this front office and staff have had one thing on their mind since entering the building — championships.
That may sound bold coming from a franchise that has not made the postseason since January of 2011. Douglas and Saleh don’t care if it does, and neither does this young roster captained by veteran linebacker C.J. Mosley.
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‘Playoffs or Bust’
During an exclusive interview with Mark Inabinett of AL.com, Mosley set the record straight on where this roster’s mindset is heading into 2022.
“I’m really expecting playoffs or bust,” he proclaimed. “Obviously, that’s my goal every year, but I think it’s something that’s a realistic goal for our entire team and our coaches.”
You might say you heard a similar bravado in 2021 but Mosley had a retort for that as well:
Last year, everyone was kind of learning the system and learning each other. This year, coming into the offseason, you can tell guys already know it, and we’re two steps ahead of where we were last year as far as being in the playbook. We know what we have to do, guys are comfortable and now it’s all about going out there and making plays and executing, so I think that’s going to be the biggest step for us this year – everybody having that confidence in what we’re doing and being able to execute the plays.
Forget all the talented additions in free agency and the draft for a moment. Mosley just stated the biggest gamechanger for the Jets in year two under Saleh, Mike LaFleur and Jeff Ulbrich — experience.
Anyone who’s ever played the sport knows just how much goes into learning the playbook and building chemistry. Football truly is a team game at its core and that knowledge and trust go a long way in constructing a winner.
Just think of all the confusion fans witnessed last season. Zach Wilson was digesting a complicated offensive system as a rookie. Receivers and tight ends were mixing up routes and running into each other. Defenders were blowing gap assignments and coverages.
The growing pains weren’t just real, they were plainly evident most weeks. That’s what happens when you overhaul a roster, implement a new offense and transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 in a matter of months. Things get messy — fast.
According to Mosley, that’s one less obstacle Gang Green will have to worry about in 2022 with the majority of the core settling into their second offseason under this staff. So long as the added arsenal of veterans and rookies can work their way up to speed, why shouldn’t the mentality be “playoffs or bust?”
For Mosley and the Jets, they’ve waited long enough, it’s time to get back to “the Promised Land.”
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Jets Need to Shatter Projections
NFL columnist Jim Trotter recently predicted that the Jets would win four extra games in 2022, which put them in his “five NFL teams that will improve the most in wins” article.
He reasoned: “Last season, the Jets had a rookie quarterback, first-year head coach and glaring holes across their roster, yet they still managed to double their win total from the previous season. Against that backdrop, it stands to reason that they should at least double last season’s four-win total this year with significantly upgraded personnel and QB Zach Wilson having a year of experience behind him.”
While that’s nice and all, eight wins aren’t getting the Green & White into the playoffs in a highly competitive AFC, and Trotter is well aware. “The Jets are still a year or two away from ending a playoff drought currently at 11 years,” he concluded, “but it would not be shocking to see them finish above .500.”
To make the postseason, the Jets will likely have to shatter projections and win at least 10 games. Looking at their frontloaded schedule, four victories before the bye could be the ticket paired with a six-win run (out of eight) down the stretch.
If this hungry roster can pull that off in New York, you better believe that the playoff hype will be unbelievable.
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