Make no mistake about it, the New York Jets are starting from scratch. Their 2016 season resulted in a 5-11 record, good enough for last place in their division. The Jets believed they were a team ready to make the playoffs, their reality was nowhere near this goal.
A new season always brings about new hope. NFL teams are currently in training camps, across the country, excited about the thought of a fresh start when week 1 kicks off in September.
The thought of new hope is great, however embracing reality is a must. Last season, the Jets were ready for their first postseason since 2010. However, their record reflected a team in dire need of a fresh start. Their truth was this was a team in need of a rebuild.
Rebuilding isn’t a word which goes over well here in this market, especially in the world of professional sports. Owners can be impatient, fans can be cruel, both can be demanding. The truth of the matter is professional sports is a business where money and wins is always the bottom line.
Every team in this market, at one point or another, has fallen victim to going the quick-fix rout. Last summer the Jets overpaid just to bring back veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick because they believed he was the missing piece to a playoff-run.
To say the Jets guessed wrong on Fitzpatrick would be an understatement, he’s now in Tampa Bay holding a clipboard for their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston.
Fitzpatrick, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, and Nick Mangold are all gone. The Jets are now a team focused on youth, better team chemistry, player development, and restoring the foundation every team must have to compete for a championship.
There will be temptation to think after possibly winning a couple of games, there’s no longer the need to continue a rebuild. It is always fun whenever a team’s playing well and winning games, but the true work is in how well that team handles adversity.
There will be plenty of growing pains ahead for the Jets. They entered training camp with only four players over the age of 30. One of those players, 38-year old Josh McCown, could very well be the starting quarterback for week 1.
McCown isn’t on the Jets roster to spark any talk of making the playoffs, he’s there to help with a rebuild which includes mentoring their 2016 second-round draft pick, and enigma, Christian Hackenberg. It’s not what fans like to hear, but it’s the truth.
The truth will be the Jets biggest opponent in 2017. There are questions to be answered at every position on the depth chart, on the sidelines with the coaching staff, and upstairs in the general manager’s office.
How the Jets go about handling the truth to all of those questions will go a long way in determining just how much of a rebuild this team has ahead of them.