Ghosts No More: Jets Rebuild Project Shows Progress in Win
All of a sudden, the New York Jets have pieced together two games and two wins that have changed the narrative about this team. And while there is still plenty to be done following their 34-17 win on Sunday over Washington, the Jets at least have a sense of direction in what has been yet another rebuilding year for the franchise.
After spending big in free agency, the thought during preseason was that the Jets were poised to take a step forward and become a playoff team. Now sitting at 3-7, the playoffs are almost definitely out of reach but that doesn’t mean that important building for next year can’t and won’t take place. Following last week’s win over the New York Giants, the Jets put together their most thorough and comprehensive win of the season on Sunday at FedEx Field.
They were solid on both sides of the ball against what is likely the second-worst team in the league. But for a team decimated by injuries and having gone through a myriad of trials this season, a win is a win for these Jets.
And with the win, perhaps a sense that they’ve turned the corner and quieted the critics both inside and outside the building.
“It felt good, it felt good. We’re tired of dramatics, know what I’m saying? We were able to go in here, start off fast, get a quick lead, sustain the lead, run the ball well – I mean efficiently,” running back Le’Veon Bell said. “It was good today.”
Two weeks ago in the lead up to the Giants game, the Jets had to answer questions and take a deep, hard look at themselves. They were coming off a loss at the Miami Dolphins to a previously winless team and faced a fan protest demanding that head coach Adam Gase be fired.
Instead of crumble, the Jets locker room rose to the occasion and in consecutive weeks beat two teams that also have been struggling this year. The Jets did what they had to do and didn’t sink to the level of their opponent on either Sunday.
It is in many ways a series of building blocks for the Jets as they look to not just be competitive but rattle off a couple of wins during the backend of this schedule.
“At the end of the day we wanted to go out and play team football and play our defensive brand of football,” safety Jamal Adams said.
“I think we did, like I said, for the most part. But we still have a lot of things to clean up.”
For those like Bell, this year has to be frustrating. The Jets running back is used to winning and making playoff runs with his old team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This offseason, Bell signed as a free agent with the Jets to help change the culture and perception of the team.
He was a signing for the immediate, a player believed to help get this team over the hump and back to being competitive.
Instead, he’s thrust onto a rebuild and is now being asked to be patient as the Jets look likely to continue their roster overhaul this upcoming offseason. Very much to his credit, Bell has played the role of leader on this Jets team as they fought through a tough spell of games.
Now, it appears that the Jets have emerged through some dark times to find better footing as they look to erase the perception around the league that they are a joke.
Next up for the Jets are the Oakland Raiders. On Sunday, the Raiders elevated their record to 6-4 with a tough 17-10 home win over the Cincinnati Bengals, who are now 0-10 with the loss.
“Just continue to do what we did,” Bell said. “Go, have a great practice this week, make sure we stay on the details and not hurt ourselves when we play next week, I don’t even know who we play. Enjoy this one and make sure we get ready for next weekend.”