Dyer: In Rebuilding Year, Fans Can’t Complain About These Jets
By Kristian Dyer
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A 19-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon was disheartening for New York Jets fan, who wanted their team to right the ship with a win to go 6-5.
A win and they would have an eye towards one of two wild-card berths in the AFC. The loss instead has led to much hand-wringing and second-guessing about this team.
Jets fans need to shut up for a moment and consider that their team was never supposed to be here at this point in the season in the first place. It isn’t to say that they shouldn’t expect more each and every week from their team. It is to say that this has been quite a ride so far and any more twists and turns – and wins – are a pure bonus.
Look through nearly any power ranking during preseason, nearly any mock of the season and the Jets were pegged as a 3-13 team and sometimes even worse. They were always near the bottom of any projections and even most in the fan base, while more optimistic than many in the media, still chalked this up as a rebuilding year.
Instead, the Jets up until this weekend were considered to be in the driver’s seat for a wild-card slot and even at 5-6, still could muster the right stuff for a run at the postseason. Sunday’s loss was admittedly a step in the wrong direction.
But it comes in a season of zero expectations. No Jets fan believed the playoffs were a possibility this year and now with their team still in the postseason mix, they are distraught over the recent results.
Jets fans can’t have it both ways. Last year, they lamented a team that they saw as aging and lacking depth and they largely bought into their new general manager’s message of patience. John Idzik didn’t use the term rebuilding about his team but gone were six prominent starters on defense and three key starters on the offensive side of the ball. The free agents brought in by Idzik weren’t big names, instead they were very much of the role player variety. They were moves that were needed but they weren’t splashy.
They were moves that – on paper – pointed away from the playoffs at least for a season or two as the team took on a younger, faster shape. Jets fans were fine with going into rebuilding, the price that had to be paid for their consecutive AFC Championship game appearances just a few seasons ago.
Now there is griping about a team that has already essentially doubled its projected win total with five games left in the season. A team by the way that has seen key contributions from a number of young, formerly unheralded players. In the offseason, Jets fans embraced rebuilding and now in the season they got a better than expected team. Jets fans have no right to complain about this team, at least not yet.
Simply put, fans of a rebuilding team can’t rightfully kvetch when their team is exceeding expectations. The Jets are doing just that.
This team is far from a finished product and the quarterback position remains a troubling situation for this franchise with no easy solutions to be found. But this was a team with low expectations, perhaps as low as any in the league. And by and large this season, they haven’t played that way.
They were supposed to have three wins and they likely will double that, maybe do better. Maybe they improve on last year’s 6-10 mark. Maybe they do make the playoffs.
Simply enjoy this flight, Jets fans. Your team has surprised nearly everyone, including yourselves. So stop whining and enjoy the journey. The present is bright right now for this team.
And for the entire Jets organization, it looks to be getting only brighter.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the New York Jets as a beat reporter for Metro New York and also is a contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @KristianRDyer
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