By Jason Keidel
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A startling headline sprouted from Newsday this week: “Jets receivers don’t see loss of Quincy Enunwa as setback.”
Seriously. Perhaps the only player on the New York Jets whom anyone would even consider for their fantasy team is lost for the season, and his comrades don’t see it as problematic. Not that the Jets are fretting over fantasy football, but they did lose their only proven wideout, the only one we know belongs in the National Football League. But it’s not a setback. (It’s an opportunity, according to the article.)
Brandon Marshall swapped locker rooms to play for the Giants, and while NFL.com still shows Eric Decker in his Gang Green gear, we assure you he’s gone, to Tennessee, on a team that can actually make some noise this autumn.
Now the Jets lineup at wide receiver resembles those redshirts you saw at the beginning of a Star Trek episode, whom you knew would be killed or zapped into salt cubes before the first commercial. Among the future Canton contestants are Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall, who is suspended for the first four games.
Not that Enunwa was missing much. Who was going to get him the ball anyway? We actually heard reports that quarterback Christian Hackenberg was booted from practice for not properly breaking a huddle. This is equal parts Pop Warner and Halloween. Can you be a bust if you weren’t drafted in the first round? If so, Mr. Hackenberg is looking dangerously close to a second-round version of Blair Thomas.
But the Jets, like any sound and solid franchise, had a backup plan — Josh McCown, the ultimate football gypsy. The 38-year-old enters his 15th NFL season, with the Jets his eighth NFL employer. No doubt the Jets were spellbound by his last season in Cleveland, during which he completed 54.5 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and 10 turnovers. But the Jets are so underwhelming at quarterback that McCown was a no-brainer to start the season under center.
The critics and cynics smell blood. And lord knows the Jets are chumming the waters.
FS1’s Colin Cowherd predicts the Jets will finish 0-16. And in an interview Thursday morning, former Ravens coach Brian Billick wondered “where the wins will come from.” Indeed. Where do you gaze upon the Jets’ schedule and scratch the “yes” box? There are two games this season in which the Jets would have been recently favored. In weeks 4 and 5, they play at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars and on the road against the Cleveland Browns. Certainly two years ago they’d win those games, and last year they’d have a robust chance. Now?
Is there a team more bereft of pro football talent than the Jets? Some are already projecting that Gang Green will challenge the 1992 Seattle Seahawks for the most inept offense in league history. (Seattle scored just 140 points that season.)
Perhaps you store this among the more abstract or useless stats — like fantasy — but the Daily News mentioned that the Jets are the only NFL club without a single player who rates at least 86 in the “Madden NFL 18” video game. The Jets have one bona fide football star — Matt Forte — who was in his prime three years ago.
No doubt this borders on blasphemy, but would the Jets actually be better off with Geno Smith? Or Mark Sanchez? Or Richard Todd? It’s all rhetorical, of course, because you’d scratch your scalp a while before you’d think of a foundation or franchise quarterback wearing a Jets uniform. Lest we forget Bryce Petty, who has gotten lost in this QB shell game. Does anyone really think Petty is the future?
If the Jets’ eternal tormentors, the New England Patriots, are favored in every game, then are the Jets the inverse? The last headline of note or of noteworthy humor is that the Pats just bought two Boeing 767s — both jets, of course. And it seems an internet behemoth agrees. A Google search two weeks ago for “owner of the Jets” yielded a telling result: Tom Brady.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel