Jets Look Ahead to 2018 After Recent Struggles

2011 first round draft Muhammad Wilkerson has become the veteran of the defense that includes young first round picks such as Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams and Darron Lee. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I wrote about the New York Jets a few weeks back in the Nov. 9 issue, talking about how the 2017 season had been a positive for the team after they improved their record to 4-5 with a Week 9 victory against the Buffalo Bills. But if you take a closer look, the win against Buffalo is the only win for Gang Green in their past six games.

Since my last article on the Jets, they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an ugly 15-10 loss during Week 10 where the offense was non-existent for the majority of the game. They followed up the Tampa Bay defeat with a 35-27 home loss against the Carolina Panthers this past Sunday to drop their record to 4-7. The Carolina loss included blunders from the team that make me question if current head coach Todd Bowles should be the coach going forward for the franchise.

While I gave credit to Bowles for the start the Jets got off to this season, there is something that stuck out to me during the Carolina game that I believe falls on the coaching. The first thing is the amount of penalties the Jets took, seven through the whole game. Penalties have been a running issue with the Jets this season, as they have committed the third most penalties in the NFL with 88. Among the seven penalties called against the Jets was an offsides penalty committed by linebacker Jordan Jenkins on an fourth-and-2 for the Panthers during the third quarter, the Jets were leading 17-12 at the time but Carolina eventually scored a touchdown on that same drive of the offsides penalty to take an 18-17 lead.

Another killer penalty was the one that ultimately decided the game: A roughing the passer penalty committed by defensive lineman Mike Pennel as he unncessarily hit Panthers quarterback Cam Newton late with 2:17 left in regulation preserved the 35-27 victory for the Panthers.

It will be up to general manager Mike Maccagnan on whether or not Bowles will still be the coach for the 2018. With five games left, the decision can become easier or tougher for Maccagnan depending on how the Jets finish out. It is a tough final five games which includes opponents such as the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots. If the Jets lose out the rest of the way and continue to play undisciplined football, it would be tough to justify keeping Bowles.

Another tough decision for Maccagnan this offseason will be finding a franchise quarterback, which is something the Jets haven’t had since Joe Namath. The future quarterback is currently not on the roster, as Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg have not yet shown that they are capable NFL starters, while current starting quarterback Josh McCown is 39-years-old and not the future starter.

Depending on where the Jets finish up, their draft spot can allow them to take a quarterback prospect such as UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold or perhaps Oklahoma’s Heisman hopeful Baker Mayfield. Maccagnan can also go the route of free agency and possibly sign Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason.

Until then, let’s just hope the Jets look competitive and finish out the season strong with Robby Anderson continuing to catch touchdowns and the two rookie safeties in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye continuing to show signs of greatness. Then before you know, maybe us Jets fans will get a franchise quarterback that we’ve been long overdue for.