Do the Jets have a high ceiling in 2022?
By: Jake Rajala
The New York Jets have struggled to be any type of force in the AFC over the past decade. It may be easy to blame Adam Gase or Joe Namath’s deal with the devil for the Jets failure to make the playoffs since 2010, but NY simply hasn’t found success at the lead head coach spot, the quarterback position, or as a collective unit.
After Rex Ryan led an underdog team to the AFC championship in 2009 and 2010, Ryan, Todd Bowles, Gase, and Robert Saleh haven’t brought the team in the Big Apple back to the playoff dance. The Jets management hasn’t really helped the HC and roster to be dangerous, as the Jets have showcased the following signal-callers since 2010: Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, and Zach Wilson. The Jets haven’t even found a slightly above average QB in a span of 12 years.
With that said, there is hope amid Gang Green nation that the tides are turning in NY. The Jets drafted a superb CB in Ahmad Gardner after inking CB D.J. Reed in free agency. The Jets Achilles heel on defense was unequivocally the CB talent last season. At pick 10, the Jets went offense and picked WR Garrett Wilson. The Jets have really loaded up on WR talent over the past couple of seasons. Many Jets fans feel the Jets should have spent some of their money and draft ammunition to improve the Jets pass protection over adding more beef at the wideout position for Wilson. Nonetheless, it’s obvious that Wilson, Corey Davis, and Elijah Moore are excellent weapons on paper.
It’s not a myth that the Jets have gained more steam this offseason and they should have more fond memories in 2022 than in their 2021 campaign. It’s very possible that the Jets have growing pains with Zach Wilson behind their OL, but the combination of growth in Wilson and the WR talent can override some pain that Wilson will likely endure with his current pass protection.
The Cincinnati Bengals were AFC Champions last season, but Joe Burrow was also the most sacked QB in the league. The Bengals still had unique top-end success given the overly impressive QB-WR duo and very elite talent on defense (ex: Trey Hendrickson). The Bengals formula to be really competitive in 2021 could be inspiring for Jets nation “to be competitive” entering the 2022 campaign. I expect the second-year HC-QB combo to be able to win 8 games next season. It will be difficult for the Jets to make a large leap on offense and the Jets defense is very young and unproven. Wilson and his offense can make a lot of splash plays and potentially win 6-8 games, but it will be a daunting challenge for the Jets to have a winning record in the frigid AFC East next season.