With the crushing news regarding Mekhi Becton likely being out for the Jets 2022 season it’s important to remind ourselves of all the good things going on around the New York Jets. We are days away from real(ish) football as we approach the first pre-season game. So here are 5 reasons to be optimistic about the 2022 New York Jets.
1. The Person Leading the Jets into 2022
The Jets fan base was thrilled when Robert Saleh was appointed as Head Coach following the welcome demise of the Adam Gase era. Saleh was a hot commodity coming off success with the San Francisco 49ers as their Defensive Co-ordinator, with a reputation for the fire and enthusiasm he brought to their sideline.
Although year one of Saleh’s tenure was peppered with a few questionable calls and management of the clock that you expect from a first year head coach, what has never been questioned is Saleh’s ability as a leader. This was on fine display yesterday with how he handled the Becton news; displaying an attitude of care and respect for his players that has garnered the kind of positive national press attention that hasn’t come the Jets way for quite some time.
2. Edge Rushers Galore
How long have we waited? 16 years? 17? All I know is every time I listen to a podcast I hear the phrase “not since John Abraham …” at least once as the hosts lament how long it’s been since the Jets had a legitimate presence coming off the Edge of our defence. Now we sit here with not 1, not 2, but potentially 3 or 4 absolute game wreckers coming at the opposing quarter back every week.
Lawson is back from his injury and doesn’t look like he’s skipped a beat since last off season; JFM is poised to continue what brought him the big contract last year; and the addition of Jacob Martin in free agency and Jermaine Johnson in the draft have created what could be one of the more terrifying rushing rooms in the league.
3. The RB room
Running the ball is an area we all expect the Jets to shine in this year. Apart from Michael Carter being a one-man hype machine he’s also coming off a very impressive first season where had racked up 639 yards on the ground and 325 through the air in only 11 games. Joining him as the likely RB1 is the SEC record holder Breece Hall.
Hall is a monster: 3941 yards and 50 TDs over his 3 year college career. The Jets came up for some quite honestly baffling criticism for trading up 2 spots to take Hall ahead of the Texans in the draft, but with the Jets being built to be a run first team Hall was a natural choice and a bold move by Joe Douglas to support his young QB.
At the 3rd spot the Jets have an interesting battle going on. Veteran Tevin Coleman, UDFA Zonovan Knight and last year’s RB3 Ty Johnson all in the mix for the position and each bring something different to the table. Nice to be spoiled for choice!
4. Having a TE Room
There could just be a picture of Tyler Conklin here with hearts around it. Conklin has been a camp story we all love to see. He’s seen more targets every day in camp as he and Zach continue to build chemistry, and is proving to be one of the better signings of this off season. Conklin caught 61 passes for 593 yards with the Vikings in 2021 and showed willingness and skill blocking that will be a huge part of what the Jets do with this scheme.
CJ Uzomah came on board as head of Zach’s PR team and has played some TE in his time as well. Uzomah brings experience being in a successful locker room and is a clear leader for this young team. Production has been up and down over the years with 2021 being his best year since 2018 so the hope for the Jets is that he can carry that forward this season.
Jeremy Ruckert is a great local-boy story. The Long Island native was drafted in the 4th round by the Jets in the recent draft, and shows some promise as a pass catcher and a blocker, and coming into a room with Conklin and Uzomah some give him the time and space to develop without needing to rush him into the starting line up.
There’s nothing quite like seeing things going badly for the Patriots to warm the hearts of Jets fans everywhere. After having a widely panned draft in 2022 which saw them make one baffling move after the next, the Pats then made the decision to take on Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, both coming off disastrous tenures as head coaches, to the offensive staff. They’re seemingly still without a play caller for the offence, and if reports are to be believed this lack of certainty is translating over to the practice field:
No-one is ever quite ready to call time on the Patriots whilst BB is still in charge over there. But all things come to an end, and the New York Jets sweeping the New England Patriots seems as good a nail as any to hammer into this particular coffin.
So there it is, some optimism to carry us off into the first pre-season game of 2022. There’s some things the Jets need to figure out at Tackle and if how the rest of this team and this organization has been transformed over the last 2 years is anything to go by then there’s reason to be hopeful they’ll be able to fill the void left by 77.