Trusting in the process has become such a familiar saying in sports it should have its own wing in the cliché Hall of Fame.
The Jets don’t have Joel Embiid walking around their training facility with a “trust the process” t-shirt on, they do however have a young team appearing to enjoy the journey they’re on together.
No team just wakes up one morning and instantly becomes champions, it just doesn’t work that way. It takes time and commitment to reach the level of being the best in the world at what you do.
Much like in the game of life, the process to get better is full of peaks and valleys. It is hard work and, at times, unforgiving. The players who are able to find pleasure in their work are the ones that will eventually thrive.
The Jets are showing signs of a team that’s embraced the process to get better.
28-year old defensive back Morris Claiborne is entering his seventh year in the NFL, his second with the Jets. The team was just coming off their second consecutive 5-11 season and Claiborne could have moved on to another team.
Claiborne decided to stay.
“It’s an amazing opportunity we have to be part of this organization and take it somewhere it hasn’t been in a while,” Claiborne said. “We’re putting the perfect pieces together to make a run in the playoffs and I feel like there are a lot of young guys.”
There’s a buzz around training camp for the Jets, its optimism. It’s not just about the fresh start to the season that every NFL team looks forward to around this time of year. The Jets aren’t just feeling good about the present, their also excited about their future.
The quarterback situation, for the first time in forever, is actually a conversation worth having without reaching for an Alka-Seltzer. Sam Darnold, according to reports, is well ahead of schedule and the 21-year old rookie could play his way into the starting lineup for week one.
Darnold joins a young core projected to lead the Jets back into the playoffs. Second-year defensive backs Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye respectively are 22 and 25 years old. Leonard Williams, the leader of the defensive line, just turned 24 this past June. Expectations are high for third-year linebackers Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins to step up with added responsibilities.
The Jets only have three players on the roster over the age of 30. But these are not just talented individuals with youth on their side, they’re embracing the idea of getting better together as a team.
The veterans on the team can feel it too.
“There’s a lot of growing to do, but I feel like there’s one little thing about this team,” said Claiborne. “If you’re not in the locker room, you can’t really feel it, but I feel like it’s a good place to be especially at this particular time.”
The Jets still have plenty of peaks and valleys ahead. Darnold has all the looks of being the real deal, but it’s important to remember this is still just training camp. There will be growing pains once the games start to count for real.
But, overall, the big picture for this team is bright. It’s a process worth watching unfold.