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Jets May Be Headed For Disaster

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The New York Jets are currently a 6.5-point underdog at AmericasBookie for their September 10 opener against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field, and if you pay attention to what some insiders around the league are saying, they might not be a team who could get to within even two touchdowns. That’s how bleak the outlook seems to be around this team’s camp these days. The attitude seems to be to “rebuild,” but what most people see is that they are just tearing things down.
And part of the problem is that they have let some of the wrong people go, in the opinion of many. Take linebacker David Harris, for example. He was a player voted “most inspirational” two years running, and one of those people who at least supplies a veteran presence during times that are potentially thin. But the Jets discarded him, along with wide receivers Brandon Marshall, who went to the Giants, and Eric Decker, who was, by all accounts, rebounding pretty well from surgery on both his hip and his shoulder.
Guys like that have a tendency land on their feet, but these Jets may fall on their ass, just like their former quarterback Mark Sanchez so infamously did in a game, under his own power, prior to his departure. And speaking of Sanchez, he would probably be most welcome on this team, because it looks like another season where the Jets will wallow around in mediocrity at the quarterback position.
Ryan Fitzpatrick probably had the best season of his career in 2015, but slipped considerably last year, and after he was not re-signed, they brought aboard another veteran journeyman in Josh McCown, who at least has a long resume of NFL starts under his belt. The same can’t be said for the other two quarterbacks competing with him in camp – Bryce Petty, of Baylor fame, and Christian Hackenberg, a second-round draft pick out of Penn State last year who didn’t earn enough trust from the coaching staff to even get on the field.
The Jets are running the West Coast offense, and McCown has some experience with it, so Todd Bowles had to admit he is probably the front-runner. Ideally, the Jets would like to see Hackenberg develop into their starter, because they figure he has the most upside. And indeed, after his freshman season with the Nittany Lions, he looked like someone who could be a potential #1 pick in the draft. But somehow he seemed to regress, and he obviously didn’t show enough in training camp drills or pre-season action, or practice during the regular season, for that matter, to get playing time. You’d have to consider him a long way from being a starter starting quarterback who could avoid disaster.
Then again, there are a lot of skeptics who believe the Jets are headed for disaster, regardless of who is under center. The New York press has been brutal toward these guys, speculating – with a straight (and sad) face – that it could be a 1-15 or 0-16 season. Without Decker or Marshall, they have an unproven wide receiver corps where rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen are going to be asked to play big roles. That’s not all bad, but Stewart, the third-round draft pick out of Alabama, has already developed some injury problems, with surgery on his thumb and his groin during mini-camp.
Although you would probably have to blame general manager Mike Maccagnan for the current state of affairs, Bowles is likely to take the brunt of the criticism, and could see his ticket out the door if things really get embarrassing. That’s a shame, because after he arrived, replacing Rex Ryan, he came ever-so-close to guiding the Jets to a playoff spot with, at best, a retread in the quarterback spot.
One particular New York Post reporter, perhaps wondering if he was being too harsh with his criticism, went around asking some NFL people what they thought of the Jets’ personnel. One executive, who obviously chose to remain nameless, said “they have the worst roster in the league, and it’s not even close.”
So it is no huge surprise that in the NFL futures at America’s Bookie, the Jets are +5500 just to win the AFC East. They might as well be 1000 to 1, as long as New England Patriots are in place. Maybe the best thing that could come out of this season is that they find out if Hackenberg really has a future in the NFL, no matter how many lumps he has to take along the way. Then, if they have to, they can go about the business of looking for a true franchise quarterback, which might just happen from the perspective of the #1 overall draft pick next year.

By Charles Jay
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