Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts Defensive Coordinator
Matt Eberflus is a rising coaching candidate in the league, and for good reason. The well-traveled coach began his coaching career as a student assistant at Toledo in 1992, he then spent eight years coaching at Toledo, holding the positions of graduate assistant, recruiting coordinator, outside linebackers coach, and defensive backs coach. Due to his success at Toledo, Eberflus was named defensive coordinator of Missouri in 2001, where he coached until 2008. He then signed on for two seasons as the linebackers coach of the Browns before he entered into the most crucial years in his coaching development. From 2011 to 2015, Eberflus coached under Rod Marinelli, super bowl champion coach. Marinelli taught Eberflus the Tampa 2 style defense, which has proved to be his staying power since then. Marinelli mentored Eberflus and developed him into a disciple, which led to him ultimately landing his current gig.
Eberflus was initially brought on to the Colts staff by the short-lived coach, Josh McDaniels. When he decided to return to New England and Frank Reich was hired, the team looked to Marinelli for his advisement on someone who could instill the Tampa 2 defense in Indy, and he let them know that guy was already on the staff. So, Eberflus kept his job, and in the time since, he has become an esteemed coach. The Indy defense has become a top one in all of football, but the way Eberflus has gotten the most out of his players is the true shining piece of his resume. Darius Leonard was not supposed to be a star in this league, he was out for most of his rookie camp, and he was a little known second-rounder. Now, Leonard is one of the best linebackers in football. The team also acquired Deforest Buckner this offseason, and he has had a monster season in the defense.
Eberflus’ only indictment is that he may not be that CEO type coach rumored to be the target. Eberflus does not have experience as a head coach, and just like most coordinators, there is no hardcore proof he could have success. Still, Eberflus is well connected in the league and could likely build a good staff and be a good leader. Eberflus is a true wildcard candidate; depending on his staff, he could be a solid hire.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Rams Defensive Coordinator
A year ago, Brandon Staley was a rather unknown coach, now, he has a shot to be a head coach rather quickly. Staley has bounced around the college ranks, starting in 2006 at Northern Illinois. From there, Staley went to various schools including, St. Thomas, Hutchinson Community, and Tennessee. Then, Staley got his shot as a D3 defensive coordinator at John Carrol University. From there, he went to James Madison and back to John Carrol. Then, he drew the eye of Vic Fangio and had been on his staff in both Chicago and Denver before getting his shot as a defensive coordinator this season in Los Angeles.
Brandon Staley succeeded esteemed defensive coordinator Wade Phillips after his retirement last season. He inherited a defense with two of the best players in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey, and Aaron Donald. Donald brings a ferocious ability to get into the backfield unmatched by anyone in the league. Ramsey is one of the best lockdown corners in the game and didn’t have a single game this season where he allowed more than 20 yards. Despite that, the talent they had was present in both Phillip’s time and Staley’s. So, in analyzing their defensive jump from the middle of the league to first, that makes what Staley was able to do all the more impressive.
Staley has earned quite a reputation quickly. He has drawn comparisons to the man that hired him, Sean McVay, and been labeled as the defensive carbon copy. Staley would be the younger, more flashier hire than Eberflus, but both are unproven. Staley has not been in the league long, meaning his staff hires could leave something to be desired. Staley is a bold choice, but the Jets have gone the successful defensive coordinator route once in the past 8 years, and it didn’t bode well, will they make the same choice again?
Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator
Robert Saleh is a football guy. The former college tight end began his coaching career in 2002 with Michigan State. He then coached at Central Michigan and Georgia before going to the pros. Then, in 2005, Saleh was hired as an intern with the Texans, and he climbed through the ranks to the position of assistant linebackers coach before heading to Seattle. In Seattle, Saleh got to learn under Pete Carroll and coach on a Super Bowl championship-winning staff. Saleh coached there until receiving a shot to coach the linebackers in Jacksonville, where they had a large amount of success in his time there. His success across the board drew enough attention from Kyle Shanahan to earn him the defensive coordinator job in 2017. Since then, Saleh has become a household name.
Last season, the San Francisco 49ers went to the Super Bowl behind one of the most talented defensive lines I have seen in the past decade. Their defense was ranked in the top tier of the league overall, and although they were unable to pull off a win in the big game, they still showed major growth in 2019. This set them up as one of the most heavily feared defenses heading into this season, but when Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, Javon Kinlaw, and Kwon Alexander are among the big names who missed multiple games, if not the entire season. The team was banged up but still managed to finish as a top defenses again, taking only a small step back.
Robert Saleh is that CEO type of coach Joe Douglas should target. Saleh is the middle ground of Staley and Eberflus. He has the connections of Eberflus and the youth of Staley. Saleh brings juice and energy to the defense. One rumored connection is with Mike McDaniel, a rising offensive mind in San Francisco, who some believe could follow him as an OC wherever he choses to go. He is so intense that he runs the stadium stairs in order to get mentally prepared before games. Saleh is a fantastic coach and near the top of my board for prospective coaches. Saleh is a hot commodity, though, and there is a hometown connection with the Lions that could prove to be too much for the Jets to overcome.
Here we go, New York Jets fans! The coaching search has begun, and the Jets will look to hire their next head coach. The Adam Gase era is in the past, and the team will now look at guys who can lead the Jets for, hopefully, the next decade. Here are three of the most popular confirmed candidates so far, a summary of their background and how they could impact the team.
Brian Daboll OC Bills
Brian Daboll has an extensive coaching background. He has had the privilege to learn under two of the greatest coaches in all of football history at Alabama with Nick Saban and in New England with Bill Belichick. His history includes multiple roles on both sides of the role, but predominantly as an offensive coach.The 45-year-old has been a coach in football since 1997 and in the pros since 2000. With over 20 years of knowledge, he has hit his stride in Buffalo. Daboll has transformed the Bills offense and completely shaped Josh Allen. When he inherited Allen, he was a raw player who still missed simple throws and needs grooming. Now, Allen looks like a top-five quarterback.
Daboll is a football guy. He is well-liked and well respected, and with the mentors he has had, he obviously knows the game well. Daboll is a hot commodity on the coaching market, and landing him will be tough if he is who the Jets end up liking most. Daboll seems to fit the leadership and culture-changing mold on the surface due to the impact he has had on the Bills offense, but with no past as a head coach, you have to wonder how he will do leading a roster of 53 men. Daboll is likely a front runner for multiple jobs, and it will be interesting to see if the Jets can get him in for at least one interview and potentially make a run at him.
Arthur Smith OC Titans
Arthur Smith did not have to be an NFL coach. The former college guard could have easily taken a role in the family business, FedEx. Smith’s father owns FedEx, but rather than pursue money, Smith pursued a passion and is doing a good job at it. Smith started coaching in 2006 as a grad assistant at his alma mater, UNC. He then carried that into jobs as a defensive assistant for the Washington Football Team and Ole Miss.
Since 2011,Smith has been a coach on the Titans. Despite four regime changes, Smith has been the constant. Smith is highly respected and has taken his time moving up the ranks, learning, and not rushing anything. Then, when he saw Matt LaFleur heading to Green Bay, he jumped on an opportunity and approached Mike Vrabel about a promotion from Tight Ends Coach to Offensive Coordinator. Since then, the Titans offense hasn’t looked back. Ryan Tannehill is playing the best football of his career and has gone from a backup QB to a top 10 one. Not only that, but Derrick Henry is finally being used as the beast he is.
Arthur Smith is a go-getter and someone who is well-liked by his players. He commands respect and is a leader. As a former offensive lineman, he is sure to be someone who clicks with Joe Douglas. Smith has no previous head coaching experience, but his impact has been more apparent than that of Daboll on the offense. Smith is a highly respected coach and has been requested to interview for every opening. If the Jets can get a shot at him and he prefers to come here, I firmly believe he is a favorite to land this gig.
Eric Bieniemy OC Chiefs
Rounding out our list of most popular coaching candidates confirmed for an interview is perhaps the most popular one: Chiefs Offensive Coordinator and Super Bowl Champion coach Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy has been a coach in the NFL since 2001, after taking two years off. He is a former pro running back and finished third place in the 1990n Heisman race. He has been an offensive coach and coordinator in both the college and pro ranks and has been a fixture on Andy Reid’s staff since 2013. Bieniemy is well-liked by his players and is highly regarded by Andy Reid. Bieniemy has reportedly played a key role in play-calling and in maintaining the offense.
Bieniemy is another real football guy. As another former player, there will be that admiration between him and Douglas. Here is the thing, I think their philosophies will lead to a massive disconnect. Where Smith and Daboll are more traditional football guys (Smith more than Daboll because of his playing days), Bieniemy is more modern. I think that Bieniemy will be a player first coach based on his reputation with the Chiefs and not the leader/CEO type the Jets need.
There are character issues with Bieniemy; he has faced harassment and assault allegations at multiple points in his playing and coaching career. He has also had a few issues driving, including a DUI in 2001. However, this was all 20 years ago, and Bieniemy strikes me as a guy who has turned over a new leaf. Still, there was a reason the Jets didn’t bring him back for a second interview a few years ago, and part of me wonders if it was due to the aforementioned character concerns. Nonetheless, Bieniemy has proved he deserves a shot as a head coach on the field, and if he interviews well and can explain his past, I think he ends up with a head coaching job; I just don’t think it will be for the Jets.
Jordan Jenkins has been regarded as the New York Jets‘ best pass rusher for the past few years. Jenkins was rumored to be leaving the team last season, but Jenkins came back for another year under Gregg Williams on a prove-it deal. Jenkins was projected to be the lead disruptor for the team this season. Instead, amongst all the bad on the team this year, his underwhelming performance has flown under the radar.
His Poor Performance
Last season, Jenkins hit career highs in sacks, TFLs, deflections and tied his career high in forced fumbles. He ended the season with 32 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 9 TFLs, 2 FFs and 3 deflections. The years before that, in 3 seasons, he showed consistent production increases in his pass-rushing stats. In his rookie year, he put up 2.5 sacks, 2 TFLs, and 3 QB Hits. Then, he had a sophomore jump slightly to 3.0 sacks, 5 TFLs, and 9 QB Hits. Then, prior to his big year last year, he had 7.0 sacks, 6 TFLs, and 15 QB Hits. Jenkins was evidently growing and at 26, was projected to be the potential lead pass rusher for the Jets.
Then, this season he has taken a big production hit. In 12 games, Jenkins has 31 tackles, 2.0 sacks, a FF, 2 TFLs, and 6 QB Hits. Jenkins still has 4 games left to take a statistical jump, but he has not been able to replicate any disruption that he shown in previous seasons. Jordan has failed to bring any sense of true disruption in the backfield this season and it is rather concerning. So why did Jenkins take a big dip this season?
Why the dip in production?
Coming into the season on a prove-it deal, Jenkins needed a big year. The thing is, the Jets significantly depleted the resources around him. The Jets most prolific disruptor the past few seasons was Jamal Adams. When Adams was shipped to Seattle, the Jets pass rush took a hit. As one of the leading pass rushers for the team in the past few years, there is a deep background to why he is called, “Blitz Boy” now. In all honesty though, where Adams excelled and still does excel in Seattle is in the pass rush. Teams knew this and worked to prevent him from breaking through. This opened up a huge opportunity for a guy like Jenkins to step up and capitalize off the attention Adams garnered.
Without Adams, Jenkins has drawn a lot more attention from opposing teams this season facing more double teams then he did in past years. Not only that, but the Jets have had some low level secondaries during his time in New York, but this season they have one of their worst yet. Simply put, Jenkins has a lot less time to rush the passer than before and a lot more work to do to get there.
This is in no means an excuse for his dip though, this was purely the reasoning. With that said, the Jets have relied on Jenkins to be a key piece in this defense for the past few years. He has been a leader and a vocal one at that. The thing is, the Jets don’t need a complimentary pass rusher, they need a dominant one. Jenkins deserves to go to a competitive football team and get a chance to succeed. He is a talented piece, he needs help around him to succeed though in terms of an outside pass rush and the Jets don’t have that. The Jets will look to get that kind of player this offseason to capitalize off the massive jump Quinnen Williams has taken with his interior pass rush. However, the Jets don’t need to throw money at a complimentary pass rusher that is not as imperative to success as some other positions. Jenkins deserves to get to play that compliment role elsewhere and the Jets deserve a chance to allocate resources elsewhere.
The New York Jets are certain to be in the market for a new head coach. With a competent and respected general manager in Joe Douglas, the projected second-most cap space, a plethora of draft picks, and the likely 1st pick, the Jets head coaching opening is surely going to be attractive. Apparently, that thought is shared by Hall of Fame head coach and current CBS Analyst Bill Cowher.
Lost in the news of the Jets firing Gregg Williams was the report from Boomer Esiason alluding to Bill Cowher having potential interest in the Jets Head Coaching job. Per Boomer himself on his show, “Boomer and Gio,” “He was saying to me yesterday, he’s the one that told me the Jets job is going to be really attractive, and they could hire whomever they want, and he told me he loves Joe Douglas.” This report doesn’t necessarily mean Cowher himself is interested in the job, but Boomer also said this, “All I know is that yesterday, he was showing me and Nate film of him coaching on the sideline where he was mic’ed up, and we looked at each other like, ‘Hmm, what does that mean?’.” Esiason continued, “Is he sending a message? I’ve worked with him for 14 years, and I’ve never seen that.”
So, what does this mean? Well, there have been rumors linking Cowher to the Jets long before he retired in 2006. Not only that, but rumors have swirled in the past about Cowher’s potential return. What is eye-opening to me, though, is that Boomer has a close bond with Bill, and for him to say all of this on the air openly, there must be some weight to these statements.
Cowher, at 63 years old, is still regarded as a bright football mind, but he is a bright mind in general. This move could mean two things, Cowher could be indirectly working with the Jets to add more hype around the presumed opening, or there really could be interest on Cowher’s end, and he is trying to float the idea in order to get a sense of the reception.
Could Cowher Fit In NY?
Bill Cowher is a highly respected coach, having went 149-90-1 from 1992 to 2006 with the Steelers and going to two Super Bowls, with a win in Super Bowl XL. Cowher is a proven leader. The issue surrounding Cowher, though, is that he has not coached in 14 years. The game has changed a lot in that time period, and some could say it has developed beyond the kind of coaching style he has. What I would say, though, is that a leader is a leader. Cowher is the kind of coach that has a reputation to rely on. Going from a coach who reportedly has no respect in the locker room to a Super Bowl champion is something that can rebuild a culture. The Jets on the field performance is putrid, but off the field, a potential 0-16 team is going to need not just a cultural rebuild but an entire overhaul.
By bringing in Cowher, the Jets are committing to experience and leadership. Pairing him with Joe Douglas would form one of the most formidable personnel tandems in franchise history. The likelier outcome is that the Jets go to the college ranks or to a coordinator for their next coach, but they are likely to cast a wide search for their next coach. This is an unlikely move, but the premise of a franchise-changing hire like this is enticing.
The New York Jets are the worst football team currently in the NFL. They have a chance to go winless this season. The Jets have not fired their current head coach Adam Gase. There have been a few names that have emerged in the conversation, but this has been a name that has emerged since 2009.
The New York Jets have been linked with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh for the past three head coaching searches. But in 2020, it seems like the stars have aligned to get Harbaugh back into the NFL.
In 2009, the Jets secretly interviewed Harbaugh. Ultimately the Jets went with Rex Ryan, who was the coach at Stanford University.
Two years later, in 2011, the 49ers signed Harbaugh to be their head coach. Harbaugh went to a Super Bowl with them and lost to his brother, the Baltimore Ravens’ head coach. Harbaugh only lasted three seasons with the 49ers before he was let loose.
Three years later, in 2014, after being released by the 49ers. The Jets ‘toyed’ with hiring Harbaugh again. Harbaugh decided in 2014 that he would go back and coach college football at Michigan. Were Harbaugh currently coaches at. The Jets ultimately hired Todd Bowels.
Four years later, in 2018, the Jets released Bowles and tried to lure Harbaugh once more. The team to this day denies all reports, but at the end of the day, Harbaugh decided to stay with Michigan.
Now we are here in 2020 wondering the same thing, will the Jets pursue Harbaugh once again?
Harbaugh’s time at the 49ers
In 2011, the 49ers made one of the best decisions that their franchise made in a decade. The hiring of Harbaugh changed their entire organization for a few years. The 49ers did not have a winning record from 2003-2010, and Harbaugh turned them into a Super Bowl contending team and his short four years there. In four seasons, Harbaugh went to the playoffs three out of the four seasons and also went to the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens.
Harbaugh changed the entire team, but he changed the most important position on the field, his quarterbacks. Harbaugh brought the best out of Alex Smith. When Smith got hurt during their 2012 season, Colin Kaepernick was the backup. Harbaugh turned Kaepernick into a dynamic and starting quarterback for years to come.
In 2014, Harbaugh and the 49ers’ front office clashed so severely, the 49ers fired Harbaugh. Harbaugh decided to go coach college football again at Michigan, where he currently coaches at now.
Does it make sense for the Jets are hire Harbaugh?
The New York Jets needs a coach that he player love. Harbaugh was loved by his players when he coached for Stanford and Michigan but also when he coached for the 49ers.
Harbaugh built successful programs at Michigan and Stanford. Harbaugh turned the 49ers from a losing record team to the playoffs and Super Bowl in just a few short years.
At Stanford, Harbaugh developed one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, he is currently retired, in Andrew Luck. Harbaugh also brought the best out of Smith when he was the starter for the 49ers. Harbaugh changed his entire playbook for Kaepernick but also made him successful and also win a Super Bowl with him.
The issues aren’t with the players, it’s more with the front office and general manager. It will be hard for the Jets general manager, Joe Douglas, to hire a coach that was fired a few years ago due to clashes with the front office.
Another con would be, Douglas does not have a clear connection with Harbaugh other than working with his brother, John Harbaugh, with the Ravens.
Harbaugh is a name to follow during the rest of the NFL season and the offseason. Harbaugh and the Jets have been a thought for the last 11 years, it would a shock if the Jets go after Harbaugh hard this offseason.
The hot button issue of the New York Jets organization right now is whether or not to trade former number three overall pick and presumed franchise quarterback Sam Darnold in order to clear the way for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawerence. Now, in theory, as the Jets continue to lose, the likelihood of the New York Jets trading Darnold increases by the day. Here’s the thing though, Darnold has been bit by the injury bug in a big way during his first three years. Not only that, but with a career line of 6,934 yards, 39 TDs, 34 INTs, and an overall passer rating of 78.3, there are surely more proven commodities on the market. So, what does a potential market look like for Sam Darnold, and what kind of value could he hold?
It’s evident the Jets are tanking at this point. Roles are being cleared out for younger players to stake their claim to be here for the long haul, the incompetent coaches were not axed, and if a player needs extensive recovery time, they are getting it. Darnold is a prime example of someone who likely could’ve tried to play through an injury but was kept on the bench in order to protect him and, more specifically, his value in the long term.
In talking about Sam and his potential value, you cannot forget the fact that he is only 23 years old. Not only that, but he is still the same physically talented athlete who was selected out of USC just a short time ago. Darnold has regressed, though, due to poor coaching, injuries, and lack of talent at skill positions and in protection. At times though, despite all those circumstances, Darnold has looked like a special talent. There are still many within the league who agree with that statement as well.
If Darnold is to hit the trade market, there is hope the Jets can recoup significant compensation. Specifically, though, a first-rounder. If the Jets are unable to obtain a first for Sam, it is going to sting. Now, don’t get me wrong, the floated around a combo of a 2nd and a 5th would be great, but not for a 23-year-old quarterback. See, the Jets should play hardball with Sam, if they’re going to draft Trevor Lawerence, they should and will trade him, but at the same time, they can’t give him a way.
A 2 and a 5 offers great flexibility, but anything above that, particularly a 1st, would be a phenomenal deal. Josh Rosen was mediocre at best in his rookie season, and he fetched a 2nd, so Sam’s value should exceed that. Joe Douglas has shown in the past he is capable of making massive trades, a la the Adams to Seattle deal. Darnold may have flaws, but he could also be the missing piece for a franchise. A team like the 49ers, the Bears, or the Colts could pull the trigger on Sam because right now, there are not many other young and high potential options outside of the draft.
A team like the Bears may be reluctant to take a shot on Sam if they feel they’re a few pieces away. However, the Colts and 49ers have both shown they can be two of the top teams in the league when healthy, but both teams need a more talented and long term signal-caller. Jimmy Garoppolo and Phillip Rivers have had their moments just like Sam, but in Garoppolo’s case, he is likely nearing his ceiling. As for Rivers, he has played solid football this year, but his days are likely numbered on his career. Trading for Sam could rejuvenate one of those offenses that have felt so stagnant this year while also landing the Jets premium draft capital and signaling the true beginning of a new era in New York, led by Trevor Lawerence.
The situation is undeniably dire, but there are still clean, less-than-macabre reasons for New York Jets fans to keep watching.
After a one-week reprieve, the New York Jets return to the football field on Sunday…much to the chagrin of their embattled fanbase.
The Jets’ annual bye was perhaps liberating for supporters of the NFL’s only winless team in 2020. It perhaps gave them the freedom to talk to family members, work around the house, prepare for their own week ahead. They probably tuned into other NFL action or partook in the final round of The Masters during a busy Sunday in sports. Those in the metropolitan area, in fact, are blessed enough that this tri-state area provides enough activities in which to adequately distance that one perhaps can avoid the Jets outright as they wrap up a woebegone 2020 season.
But countless fans will undoubtedly flock to their television monitors on Sunday late afternoon to watch the Jets battle the Los Angeles Chargers in their first visit to SoFi Stadium (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS). New York returned to Florham Park this week, looking to find the good from their latest loss, a 30-27 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots. Head coach Adam Gase that his team won’t be going down without a fight as they prepare to play seven weeks of what will amount to mostly meaningless football.
“I think we had some really good plays this last game, where we won one-on-one matchups and made the other side pay for it. I think defensively, we just got to continue to get better at getting people off the field,” Gase said, per notes from the Jets. “I think there’s a lot of little details that we can definitely clean up and I know our coaching staff’s, that’s what they spent the majority of the last week doing is making sure that we had a good plan going into this week, we explained it to the players today, we made sure that we went in detail of our expectations and what we need to work on moving forward.”
If Jets fans truly need a reason to get back into the fold of things, if only to have a built-in excuse for avoiding holiday preparations, ESM has a corresponding number of reasons…
Mims’ the Word
Jets fans had to be patient when it came to Denzel Mims’ NFL debut after the second-round pick endured hamstring injuries during training camp that eventually put him on injured reserve. So far, Mims has proven to be well worth the wait, earning 146 yards on 10 receptions thus far. Mims has earned positive reviews for his route running and ability to create separation and set an infantile career-best with 62 receiving yards in last week’s Monday night tilt against New England.
“I think the last few weeks you’ve seen some positive things from him, especially for a guy who’s really had two weeks of practices prior to playing in two games,” general manager Joe Douglas said about Mims, per Jack Bell of NewYorkJets.com. “I mean really, this is almost like the end of training camp for him in terms of the amount of actual professional football reps that he’s had. We’re really excited about seeing his progression these last eight games and what he brings in terms of his catch radius, ball skills, and route running.”
The Baylor alum has strong potential as a big play receiver and has put the Jets’ minds at ease for passing on several name-brand receiving talents at 11th overall to take Mekhi Becton (who has done a decent job in dispelling those doubts as well). Some big milestones could await Mims over these final hours, including his first NFL touchdown and 100-yard game. Provided all stay healthy, the Jets’ progress with the top three receivers of their group (with Mims joining veterans Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman) should be something to keep an eye on. With all three in the lineup for the first on Monday against the Patriots, the Jets put up a season-best 322 yards of offense.
The Kids Are All Right
Even with extra playoff capital, 2020 was never meant to be a year of contention for the Jets, but one to develop and nurture their rookies. Between Becton and Mims, Douglas’ first draft has positive reviews, but other plays have struggled to get into the fold due to injuries (OL Cameron Clark, DE/LB Jabari Zuniga, CB Bryce Hall), or being stuck behind talent that has been bid farewell (RB La’Mical Perine, S Ashytn Davis)) or lost to injuries of their own.
With nothing to lose, there could be some prime opportunities for the Jets to work their rookies in their lineup on a more regular basis. Gase certainly appeared to have the idea in his mind shortly before the Jets departed for their open date.
“We’ve got to lead the way. I think especially, this rookie class, these guys have done a good job of just focusing on the present, trying to get better, trying to make sure that when their number is called that they’re available and they’re ready to make plays,” Gase in Jets notes. “I know these guys are getting a ton of playing time now, and that’s going to work to our benefit in the long run. It’s frustrating right now to go through, but seeing these guys going out there and playing and the amount of guys that are playing that are that are rookies, I want to say we almost had 10 playing this last game.”
“The thing that you can say is the effort is through the roof, they’re given everything they have. We’re going to have to live through some mistakes, but at the same time a lot of these guys are playmakers and they’re going to help us find ways to win games eventually.”
The Last Stand of Super Bowl XLVII
Joe Flacco and Frank Gore are more than likely set to join Brett Favre and Chris Johnson on the all-time “Wait, He Played for the Jets?” team’s depth chart. But these staples of new century football may be making their final stands not only in green New York uniforms but in the NFL as a whole. Flacco has taken over starting duties in the absence of Sam Darnold while Gore continues to hold primary rushing duties since Le’Veon Bell departed.
While it’s clear that neither potential future Hall-of-Famer is living up to the numbers or performances of their glory days, the former Super Bowl co-combatants have embraced their roles as veteran mentors to a team full of young players and guys trying to find their NFL footing.
“My goal is to show the young guys what it takes to be successful in the NFL. If they can see me working hard every day, they have no other choice than to follow. I’m going to keep working and keep fighting,” Gore told the Inside the Jetspodcast. “That’s why I’m playing the game still.”
“The only thing you can do and, in terms of being on teams that have gotten through tough times, is that you have to stay in the moment, tune out the outside noise,” Flacco said in a report from Bell following a defeat in Miami last month. “It’s a lot harder to go out every week in practice. It happens to a bunch of teams every year, but the NFL doesn’t stop playing games because you’re going through a tough time.”
The Jets’ youngest participants would be wise to heed the advice of Gore, who is now 993 yards away from passing Walter Payton for second place on the all-time NFL rushing yards list. Gore’s NFL endeavors began in the midst of a rebuild in San Francisco, who began the rusher’s career with six consecutive non-winning seasons. With the help of fellow homegrown talents like Vernon Davis, Alex Smith, Patrick Willis, and Colin Kaepernick, Gore eventually broke the 49ers out of their rut with a 13-win season in 2011. The season after, Gore led the charge for the 49ers’ first Super Bowl trek in nearly two decades.
“Frank has been an unbelievable veteran to have on this team,” Douglas said, per notes and video from the Jets. “The leadership that he brings on a daily basis, how vested he is to help not only the offense but the entire team and especially young guys.
Free Agency’s Anything But Free
Part of the reason why it’s so ludicrous to guilt the Jets into the already ludicrous notion of tanking is that there well could be some NFL futures on the line moving forward. Rookies are relatively safe and veterans like Gore and Flacco are another step toward retirement or don’t figure to play major roles in future depth charts. But the Jets have plenty of free-agents-to-be whose last seven weeks could well be the difference between an NFL job next year and counting down the days until the XFL’s return in 2022.
The Jets have 29 players set to hit free agency once the 2020 season hits its merciful end. Primary among them are several defensive starters like Marcus Maye, Pierre Desir, and Brian Poole (who is currently dealing with injuries). An inevitable purge is likely coming to the Jets roster, a storm signaled by the dealing of reliable veterans like Bell, Avery Williamson, and Steve McLendon elsewhere. The final seven games will more or less serve as an audition for not only New York for the other 31 NFL outposts across the country. Offensively, Breshad Perriman will seek to not only stay healthy, but look to try and build a long-term home in either New York or elsewhere as he works with the final stages of his one-year deal inked over the spring. The former first-round pick is certainly excited about the immediate future and the opportunities ahead over these last seven weeks, especially if he can continue to work with Mims and Crowder on a consistent basis.
“You’ve got to kind of be positive about the situation,” Perriman said of the New England loss, per Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com. “It was the best game the offense has had all season, and like that’s just the start.”
Sam-I-Am (the Future?)
Darnold’s continuing issues with a shoulder injury couldn’t have come at a worse possible time from a personal standpoint. With the team on a collision course for the No. 1 pick and the quarterback prospects that come with it in next spring’s draft, these final weeks could’ve served as one last stand for him, seven opportunities where the only thing that mattered is providing reassurance to the Jets’ decisionmakers that he is indeed the man under center for the future. The already painful injury must certainly sting a little more with the top receivers back, which could’ve set the stage for Darnold’s long term future.
In his statements during the bye week return, Darnold expressed a desire to play well over these final weeks but made it clear that his health had to come first, especially since he has already missed considerable time due to injury this season. Darnold sustained the injury during the Jets’ Week 4 loss against Denver and suffered a re-aggravation four weeks later against Kansas City.
“I’m just going to continue to do what I need to do, first and foremost to get healthy, and then when I do play, play well. Just make sure that I’m doing everything I need to do to execute the plays that are called,” Darnold said, per notes from the Jets. “At the end of the day, my job as a quarterback is to move the ball down the field, take care of the football, and score touchdowns. I feel like once I get back out there, I’m going to do everything I can to do that.”
If and when Darnold gets healthy and gets back on the field, his potential last stand could be one of the biggest storylines across the league, especially amongst the eliminated teams.
Q & Pay
To say it’s been a tough season from a Jets standpoint would be the understatement of this chaotic year. But Quinnen Willaims, the final top pick of the Mike Maccagnan era, has undergone a redemption season that shows exactly why it was worth taking him third overall in the 2019 draft proceedings.
Apparently set to stick around after some rumors of a deal swirled at the trade deadline, Williams has been one of the rare consistent silver linings of the modern Jets. The sophomore from Alabama has already broken his rookie totals in tackles (31), tackles for a loss (7), and sacks (3). Amongst his fellow interior linemen, Williams ranks in the top ten in a good number of Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics.
The final seven games of Williams’ strong push in the right direction should be inspiring to Jets fans everywhere.
“He’s at the very top of our league as an interior guy,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (no relation) said shortly after the trade deadline passed, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “He’s only going to get better. I believe that. If he stays healthy, he’s going to be really, really, really good and I’m glad he’s here.”
This could well play a factor in the Jets’ joining the Lions and Browns in 0-16 infamy, but the Jets have an improbable chance to leave an impact on the NFL playoff picture in their winless state. With the exception of the Chargers (whose seven losses have come by a combined 32 points), each of the Jets’ remaining adversaries is no more than two games removed from a playoff spot. If the season ended today, all but two (the Chargers and Patriots) would go to the postseason.
The idea of the Jets disrupting the postseason party is not as shocking as it seems. Last season, their Week 16 win over Pittsburgh was more or less responsible for keeping the Steelers out of the 2019-20 playoffs. In modern times, this woeful campaign might all be worth it in the end if the Jets were to go to Seattle in Week 14 and at least put a dent in Jamal Adams’ playoff hopes. The Seahawks currently hold the final NFC playoff slot after dropping three of their last four games, leading Chicago by a game-and-a-half.
While many Jets fans would probably be downright pleased with losing outright to improve their draft position (if the apathetic reaction to the New England loss was any indication), the players aren’t letting the scary schedule determine their fate.
“It is Monday night football, but at the end of the day it is another game, another opportunity,” Fatukasi said prior to the New England game according to Bell. “My biggest objective is to go in and play as hard as I can with my teammates, rally with my teammates, and play a good game.”
Fans across the tri-state area admonished the New York Jets for the sin of playing better football on Monday night.
Let’s be clear from the get-go that while metropolitan fans have been forced to deal with a lot in the year 2020, it pales in comparison to the issues on a broader scale. If the biggest problem in your life is seeing Henrik Lundqvist in a Washington Capitals sweater or that the New York Knicks fell in the NBA draft lottery, you’re a lot better off than at least 99.999999999 percent of the rest of the world, especially in these trying times.
That being said, it was hard not to send at least a few sympathies to New York Jets fans on Monday night.
If only because New York City skyline shots are ratings gold, the Jets partook in their second nationally televised NFL game this season on Monday night, their AFC East showdown with the New England Patriots streamed to the masses of a football-loving public. Placing such a matchup in a national TV slot more or less explains why Hollywood keeps churning out gory, repetitive interations of franchises like Saw: they’re violent, often one-sided, and unpleasant from anything but a macabre sense, but people keep watching them, so the powers that be continue to make sure they remain in production. Since 2010, seven New York-New England get-togethers have been placed in either the primetime windows of Sunday, Monday, or Thursday night. The Jets have lost each of those meetings, including a 30-27 last-second defeat on the most recent edition of ESPN’s Monday Night Football. It’s the Jets’ ninth consecutive loss to New England and their ledger reads 0-9 for the first time in franchise history…a mark so dubious even Rich Kotite and Co. managed to avoid it.
Yet, when Nick Folk’s 51-yard triple sailed through the uprights as time expired, Jets fans throughout the tri-state area were…relieved?
Yes, the 2020 season has become so wretched for Jets fans that they are actually resorting to begging the Patriots to humiliate them. Such declarations are made in the name of tanking, the supposed art of intentionally losing games so as to secure a better draft pick. As the only winless team left in the NFL and only one single-win left on the docket (the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars), the Jets are well in position to secure the top overall choice, presumably to be used on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Tanking has become a far-too-common entry in the New York sports ledgers recently. The Jets’ case to do only increases due to the NFL Draft’s straightforward method of sorting. Unlike their counterparts on the ice and hardwood, the NFL eschews a lottery system, merely ranking non-playoff teams from worst to best record in determining the first 18 picks. A lower strength of schedule serves as the primary tiebreaker. It’s understandable that fans comfort themselves through thinking of the future, whether it’s via endless visits to Tankathaon or rhyming/alliterating social media tags (#TheEndeavorForTrevor).
The Jets have had to deal with accusations of tanking after eight straight defeats (with an average margin of defeat at three possessions). A mini fire-sale that bid farewell to touted names like Le’Veon Bell (released), Steve McLendon, and Avery Williamson (the latter two traded for day three draft picks) did nothing to ax those notions. Head coach Adam Gase, perhaps the most common name on the top of many Jets’ fan purge lists, insisted that it wasn’t a sign of a complete 2020 shutdown.
“I never look at waving the white flag. That’s not in my DNA,” Gase said earlier this fall, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. Regarding the departures, Gase noted that “I know it’s not always ideal, but that’s the NFL. That’s what it is. That’s part of what happens when you don’t win. We’re at a part of the season where we haven’t won a game yet, and things like this happen”.
But obsessively, almost masochistically, hoping your team loses is not the way to go.
For one thing, the unpredictable nature of the NFL Draft is too much to hinge every one of your future hopes on. One look at the countless montages all of the football rights-holders play on draft weekend showcasing the Jets’ high-profile misses should tell you that. Even if the Jets do earn the No. 1 pick and the presumed rights to Lawrence, he’s not going to wave a magic wand and make them into a contender again. It should be clear at this point that the Jets don’t seem to be making any major decisions when it comes to the beleaguered coaching staff, at least before the year lets out.
The macabre silver lining of such a woebegone record is the gift of consequence-free opportunities (at least from a franchise standpoint) for your team on game day, chances to work with research and development, see what works and what doesn’t. For their part, the Jets did seem to take advantage of this dark gift and played their best game of the season on Monday night. Sure, the Tom Brady-free Patriots aren’t what they used to be, but the fact that the Jets put up a good effort against a desperate divisional foe should be inspiring to whatever fans have opted to stick around for this.
Yet, what could’ve been a night of hope and inspiration was instead one of fear for the fanbase for the majority of the evening. The mortal sin of a New York sports rooting for a Boston team is often only applied in “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” situations. There were probably New York Yankees fans that secretly clamored for the Red Sox to top the Mets in the 1986 World Series. The New York Giants’ faithful donned a new shade of blue for Super Bowl LII, unsuccessfully getting behind the Patriots’ championship cause against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fans must realize, though: even if games have no consequence in the long run…box scores from the final seven games might week be erased from the New York archives at the end of the season. But to these players, Monday’s game in New England…and the final seven games overall…mean everything.
A combination of health and social factors have served as reminders that these athletes are human. These are not interchangeable parts. Living, breathing men and women partake in these games for our entertainment, a form of amusement we, the sports-loving people, have turned to in these times of turmoil. The dark side of it is that careers and livelihoods are on the line. For some on this Jets roster, it could be the last time they see their names on an NFL depth chart. To tell these players to toss a game aside so your team will be on the clock sooner…potentially taking that player’s replacement…is naive. Tanking is a ludicrous notion in any sport. Asking players to do so in the 16-game nature of the NFL makes it even more callous in the wider picture.
Take, for example, Folorunso Fatukasi. A native of Far Rockaway and now-defunct Beach Channel High School, Fatukasi has been on and off the Jets’ active roster since joining the team as a sixth-round pick in 2018. There was promise on display from Fatukasi last season after missing all but one game in his rookie year, but perhaps nothing to truly solidify his status for the Jets’ future. His case, and perhaps many others, was perhaps hurt by a lack of preseason games, exhibitions canceled in the wake of the ongoing health crisis. The casual observer might not be able to tell whether Fatukasi was more likely destined for the Jets or, say, an XFL roster in the future.
But with injuries and the ongoing purge taking over, Fatukasi has pounced on his newfound opportunity, particularly when McLendon was dealt to Tampa Bay. His Monday output (7 tackles, including a big fourth-down stop that eventually led to a Jets field goal) added to his impressive 2020 resume, one that has him ranked in the top ten of Pro Football Focus’ interior defensive lineman ratings.
Do you really want to tell this guy to quit now for the mere possibility of hope later? Fakutasi admitted that the situation is far from ideal, but he and his fellow Jets are committed to figuring things out immediately.
“It is frustrating,” Fatukasi said, per Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post. “But we’ve still got a lot more work to do and guys are going to make sure that we’re encouraged to get this thing turned around somehow.”
Even before his big Monday night moment, Fakutasi was adamant that tanking wasn’t in the Jets’ vocabulary, without ever having to say those cursed words.
“It is Monday night football, but at the end of the day it is another game, another opportunity,” Fatukasi said in a pregame report from Jack Bell of NYJets.com “My biggest objective is to go in and play as hard as I can with my teammates, rally with my teammates, and play a good game.”
Do you really want to tell a guy like that to lose on purpose? Do you really want to tell the Jets’ upcoming free agent group, consisting of 28 players, some of whom will be biting and crawling for a chance to stay in the league, that their futures mean nothing? If and when Sam Darnold returns, shouldn’t he get seven final opportunities to prove he’s the Jets’ franchise man?
The sheer quality of upcoming opponents may wind getting the Jets the top overall pick their fans so desire. Five of the Jets’ final seven adversaries are either in a current playoff spot or at the very least tied for one. The exceptions are a Week 17 rematch with the Patriots in New England and their next immediate game against the Los Angeles Chargers following their bye. Los Angeles is only two wins up on the Jets, but, unlike New York, the Bolts at least seem to have some semblance of hope. Justin Herbert appears to be their franchise man and the six losses on their slate have come by a combined 24 points.
Realistically, the pro-tank party’s philosophy could be the talk of the team as they freefall toward an imperfect season. That outlook involves embracing the positives gleaned…and one could look at young developments like Denzel Mims and smile…while thanking the football gods that the Jets did just enough to add another tally to the right-hand side of the win-loss column.
But you can be assured that the Jets won’t buy into the tanking philosophy. If postgame comments from Monday’s aftermath ring true, they’re focused on November/December 2020…not April 2021.
At least in the grand scheme of things, Jets losses are heartbreaking again. Guard Greg Van Roten made of this change in a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post. Van Roten made it clear that the best way out of the Jets’ current woes it to go out and win a game.
“A loss like that is heartbreaking because it’s ‘Monday Night Football’ and it comes down to the very last play of the game,” Van Roten said. “I felt like we played well enough to win and just didn’t finish. You lose and you come in on a day like today and everyone’s spirits are down. You have to watch the film, see what you did well and build on that, see what you did not so well and correct it and you have to move on. We have a bye week to kind of recover a little bit, get healthy physically and mentally and hit the ground running when we get out of the break and just go win a game.”
“In this league, you have to play with confidence,” quarterback Joe Flacco added in the same report. “The more you lose, the harder it is to do that. The more you win, you expect to go out there and run for 200 yards and throw for 350 and score five touchdowns. You expect to do that. Right now, the way we’re playing, we’re trying to convince ourselves that that’s going to be the case. We don’t really know. We’ve just got to go out there and continue to believe, continue to take it day by day.”
Even before Joe Douglas called him “part of the solution”, the New York Jets seemed to be creating a bond with their embattled head coach.
There’s little, if anything, to look forward to over the rest of this New York Jets season. The Jets (0-8) have eight games left on their 2020 ledger, and it’s more than likely they won’t be favored in any of them. Even with colder weather on its way, fans in their metropolitan area are blessed with enough activities, many of the holiday variety, to keep them occupied while they seek to avoid joining the Lions and Browns as the only team to record an imperfect 16-game season.
Silver linings have been few and far in between. Decent first half showings that would passable at best elsewhere…only in modern New York football is a 21-9 halftime deficit considered a step in the right direction…have come over the past two weeks, but they’ve done nothing to trim an average margin of defeat away from three possessions. The only reassurances Jets fans have from a football standpoint is that things have become so dreary that maintaining the status quo would be probable cause to relegate the team to The Spring League. But the inevitable purge has brought forth a light at the end of the green tunnel, one the Jets are scheduled to reach after their Week 17 tilt in New England. Many foresee that light coming in the form of a pink slip to Adam Gase.
It’s easy to see why Jets fans think of Gase in a lame-duck position. The supposed offensive guru currently has the Jets positioned at or near the bottom of almost every major stat ranking. Their closest margin of defeat was a nine-point showing in a Thursday night defeat to Denver…a game that saw the Broncos roll out a third-string, undrafted quarterback for his de facto NFL debut. Gase turned over control of the play calls to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and the Jets showed progress: they held a 10-0 lead on the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills before reality set in and scored on each of their first three drives against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. The 2020 success of former Gase disciples…Ryan Tannehill, Robby Anderson among them…only serves as further proof that the second-year man might not be the right name for the Jets to advance their perpetual rebuild. Current franchise building blocks have only seemed to regress as well. Sam Darnold’s struggles have the Jets on the path toward an endeavor for Trevor (Lawrence) while fourth-round project La’Mical Perine continues to struggle for carries behind a 37-year-old Frank Gore.
But events over this traumatic first half of football certainly suggest that Gase is part of the Jets’ uncertain future.
Emerging from an understandable seclusion earlier this week, Jets general manager Joe Douglas, provided those calling for Gase’s firing a late Halloween scare by hinting a long-term future for the former Miami Dolphins boss.
“I have to do a better job for all these coaches and players, and the hope is that we can fix these problems together and be here together for a while,” Douglas said of he and Gase’s relationship per video provided by the Jets. “I’m going to say that this is not all on Adam. Again, I have to do a better job of surrounding him with better players and better weapons. We’re in this together. I’m going through and thinking of everything I can do to try to help Sam, or help Adam. The goal is to get this fixed together.”
Douglas’ words, effectively taking a bullet for Gase, are admirable in the sense that he’s not trying to absolve himself of the blame for this disaster of a season, even if his first draft pick with the team (Mekhi Becton) seems to be one of the few silver linings the squad has going for it. But they’ve still got Jets fans buzzing with even more fury and anger. Analysts have used the opportunity to break out the “Same Old Jets” or “Just End The Season” tropes that arise at the slightest hint of Gang green controversy.
But, in reality, Douglas’ words shouldn’t come across as shocking. Through his nearly two years at the helm, Gase has slowly ingrained himself into the Jets’ franchise. That much is evident through the series of moves made in a relative fire sale that ended with the NFL’s trade deadline on Tuesday.
Gase has emerged as the victor in several rumored power battles throughout the organization. Before he even appeared in his first game, he won out over Mike Maccagnan, leaving the Jets to fire the incumbent general manager Mike Maccagnan after their 2019 draft process was completed. Right from the get-go, Gase might’ve provided himself a hidden failsafe, whether it was intentional or not: if the Jets lost immediately, the fallen Maccagnan could serve as a scapegoat of sorts, a built-in excuse of being unable to win a team that wasn’t “his”.
It more or less worked in the first season. The Jets started last season 1-7 before they took advantage of a weak final slate (that included wins over eliminated interconference foes and a playoff-bound Bills team resting starters) to finish 7-9. Even with such a brutal start (including a Monday night shutout against New England, a seemingly impossible task in today’s offense-worshipping NFL) and the quicker trigger fingers of NFL decisionmakers (just ask Steve Wilks about his stay in Arizona), it never felt like Gase was truly in danger. But the strong finish seemed to mask the underlying problems that still linger in the organization.
Anderson lasted a season under Gase’s watch, a season that would become his last in New York green. The receiver now serves as a building block in a more stable rebuild in Carolina. Speaking with Josina Anderson (unrelated) on the latter’s web series Undefined, the current Panther seemed to take a subtle shot at Gase’s offensive game plan, one that seemed to treat him solely as a deep threat.
“I love being in this system because for so long it was, ‘Oh, he’s only a deep threat,’” Anderson said. “It used to eat me up because I’m like, ‘I know what I can do.’ I love that I’m in this offense, where I really get to catch and run and play football.”
The dismissal of Anderson, one where the Jets seemed to make no real effort to retain his services, appeared to be foreshadowing the coming purge of franchise faces that has accompanied this winless start. Douglas was able to soothe the blow of Jamal Adams more or less napalming each and every one of his New York bridges by netting multiple first-rounders, but they wound up releasing Le’Veon Bell outright weeks later. The timing of Bell’s departure was made all the more ironic by the news breaking in the midst of Ryan Tannehill’s four-touchdown performance for a then-unbeaten Titans teams in a blowout win over Buffalo. Defensive veteran Steve McLendon was the next to go, trade to Tampa Bay for third-day draft picks.
If the Jets are willing to give up on such vital names before they give up on Gase…that should tell Jets fans all they need to know about who they see as vital to this team’s future.
Granted, we’ve seen the general manager’s vote of confidence ultimately serve more as a kiss of death rather than any form of extension. But, the fact of the matter is that the possibility of Gase sticking around shouldn’t be so shocking. Even if the Jets do manage to preserve the goose egg in their win column, there’s precedent for the head coach who worked with it to make a return (Hue Jackson was welcomed back after the Browns’ most infamous campaign in 2017).
If this is indeed the case, then Gase must make the most of his opportunities. Though the Jets have relatively little to lose from a team-standpoint (besides the whole triple-zero win percentage things), there’s time to at least provide hope for the future, much like they did last season. The first opportunity to do so comes in a bizarre Monday night game against New England at MetLife Stadium (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN). At least on the surface, Gase appears to be shaking off Douglas’ words and plans to go all out in an attempt to place further egg on the face of the struggling Patriots, who have had the Jets numbers for years on end.
“I never look at waving a white flag, that’s not in my DNA,” Gase said in Jets video. “This is our profession. When things like this happen, guys aren’t ever going to be shocked by this, like we’re in a profession of we got to win games, when we don’t, things change, and younger guys get opportunities to play.”
Gase appears to be sticking around for the long haul, in part thanks to Douglas’ words. It’s time for him to repay the favor.
The New York Jets have already been an active player in the trade deadline and the rumors surrounding it. Sitting at 0-7, the organization is not expected to be in contention any time soon, so with the opportunity to accumulate some draft capital before the end of the season, it is expected the Jets will continue to jump on those opportunities.
As for the guys the Jets should not answer calls on, well, there are not many. Still, the Jets should not answer calls on some of these key pieces for the future because not only are they building blocks, but they are guys who can draw in a new head coach.
LT Mekhi Becton
Becton has been a wild success to this point. He has been a mauler in the run game and been a reliable piece of the pass blocking attack as well. Joe Douglas said he would build this team through the trenches and this pick has become a key part of the offense already.
Whoever becomes the new head coach should take solace in knowing that the left tackle spot would be solidified with Becton. You can make the case that Becton still has a small sample size, but a quick look at the film shows that this monster of a man has been everything the Jets bargained for. A franchise left tackle could fetch serious draft capital, but it makes no sense to trade Becton or even entertain the idea.
DL Quinnen Williams
Quinnen may not be everything the Jets thought he would be when they picked him with the third selection, but he has stepped up mightily this year. This season in seven games and seven starts, Williams has 28 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3.0 sacks, and 1 FF. Those numbers have already exceeded his numbers from his rookie campaign, but that hasn’t been the impressive part.
Williams has shown a capability of dominance in bull rush scenarios as evidenced against guys like Trent Williams in San Francisco among others. Williams is still very young and he is only going to get better with time and a new coach. This is another guy who can be a building block in the trenches like Joe Douglas wants.
QB Sam Darnold
This is a controversial one. Darnold currently has a 58.4 completion percentage, 912 yards, 3 TDs, and 6 INTs. Darnold has also rushed for 117 yards and a TD this season. Those numbers are mediocre at best. Now, factors like Adam Gase, poor supporting cast, and injuries have really hurt his development. With Trevor Lawerence available and the team continues to lose, rumors have run rampant. Darnold deserves another shot, but maybe not in New York. Still, if Lawerence is on the board, the team must think long and hard about who gives them the best chance to win.
All of these players provide examples of guys who hold a lot of long term value. The team is probably not going to field offers on these guys, but if they do, there is no reason to trade these guys when they have long term potential. The three guys above though are the ONLY guys the team should not trade unless they are wowed, and even then, Becton should still remain on the roster no matter the price.