Damn it feels good to be a Jets fan (slowly hummed to the tune of Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta in classic Office Space style). OK, that’s probably a stretch. But still, for the first time in a long time I’m comfortable saying things for this franchise look…dare I say…promising? It could just be the cold from Sunday has prevented my brain from fully defrosting.
Yes, such claims may be the kiss of death for fans of a team seemingly predestined to bumbling and underachievement. It’s cool, though. I’m content as a Jets fan right now — more content than I have been in awhile. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. With a Rookie QB and a Rookie Head Coach, the Jets are Playing in the Postseason:
In many ways, the fact that this team is participating in a playoff game is all sorts of ridiculous. Given inexcusable efforts and collapses of inventive proportions against the ‘Phins, Falcons, Bills and Jags to name only a few, it’s truly a wonder. Still, this is what I said back in mid-October in a predictably cranky post after the Jets dropped to 4-6.
So,what’s it going to be Rexy/Sanchez? Lose out and enjoy the offseason rumor mill questioning your coaching chops, and whether you should be holding a clipboard again. Split (by taking the next three) and save some face by showing a bit of improvement and tempering the tempest. Or, and this is just crazy talk, make a run at .500 and give Jets fans a glimmer of hope that the early season visions that started dancing around in our heads might be somewhere in this team’s foreseeable future.
Well, looky here…the maybe-not-S.O.J.’s took what was behind door #2 and even upped the ante to 9-7.
2. They Say Defense Wins Championships, Right?: Listen, I don’t think the Jets are the heyday Ravens — at least not this second. Still, the top-ranked defense is the top-ranked defense. Plus, they’re still doing it without Kris Jenkins who is a BEAST. And then there’s Revis…let me gather myself. OK.
3. Those Same Folks Say Games are Won in the Trenches: This bodes well for these Jets on the offensive side of the ball in particular. With Mangold and D’Brickashaw, we’ve got a two-time Pro Bowler and arguably the top center in football and a borderline/potential future All-Pro in Brick. They are 25 and 26 respectively. It makes me smile just typing those numbers. Faneca’s still solid and Moore’s come along. A little depth along the line would be nice, but this is an upper echelon if not elite unit…today.
4. Enough at the Skill Position: The offense may not be overflowing with game breakers but Cotchery, Keller and Edwards (let’s just include him for now as a possible short-term future piece) give Sanchez plenty of talent tow work with especially if they’re continually drafting off a a top defensive unit. I think that if you had to bet on area of future on consistency with Ryan that caliber of D (top 5-type) would be it. Throw in a healthy Leon Washington and the Brad Smith of the last few weeks, and you’ve got a good-deal-above-average offense. And…
5. There Aren’t Many Other Pieces Needed, and We Know What They Are: This is where some Jets fans can find more room to debate. Call me overly-optimistic, but the somewhat scary thing to contemplate (keeping in mind Jets fans are used to mediocrity at best and only very brief flashes of “good”) is that a few smart draft picks that address specific needs could put this team in position to be good for several years. Seriously. Like, in a row.
Unlike other seasons, the Jets list of draft “needs” heading into 2010 doesn’t include every position on the football field. On my wish list? A real edge rusher and some more D-line depth. Tell me to dream big and maybe a pipe-hitting safety (although I’m not ready to write off Rhodes) and a diamond-in-the-rough receiver who can stretch the field (no offense to preseason champion David Clowney ). Realistically, if they can address the first two with their first and second-round picks I’m ecstatic.
Package it all up, and there appears to be reason for hope in Jetsville the next few years. One thing Ryan helped bring to this team is an identity, even when they were playing poorly. We ground and pound. We play defense. It’s a formula that works. It’s been proven. I saw it successfully executed multiple times this year. This past Sunday night, I watched it live. There’s no reason it can’t work again on Saturday against the same Bengals team. Ryan’s Jets have a lot of the ingredients to make the formula work, not just on Wild Card Weekend but for the foreseeable future. Dare I say, it’s good to be a Jets fan right now?
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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.