(CBSNewYork)- It’s been another long season for Jets fans, now entering the final four games of the season with an 0-12 record. With remaining games against the Seahawks, Rams, Browns and Patriots, 0-16 is not out of the question. That kind of season can take a toll on coaching staff and players alike.
NFL on CBS reporter Jay Feely experienced a situation like this in 2007 when with the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins started 0-13 before getting their first, and only, win against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15 that year. Feely says that it can be difficult as a player in those situations.
“As a player, when you’re in those situations, all you’re trying to do is go out there and do your best individually because you know you’re going to be judged individually,” said Feely. “When new management comes in and a new head coach comes in, they a lot of times have different philosophies on everything from personnel to where you’re going to spend your money.”
For Feely, that meant that despite having the best season of his career that year in Miami, come 2008 he was in New York with the Jets.
“I think as a player, you have to understand that. As bad as you feel about not winning. You’re going to be judged by your own effort and what you put on film,” said Feely. “You have to come to work every day and go into those meetings with that mindset.”
The Jets roster will most certainly look different in 2021 as general manager Joe Douglas gets his second straight offseason to put his imprint on the team. What are the biggest areas that Feely thinks need to be addressed? Well, to answer that, the team has to answer a different question first.
“I think the first thing you have to do is figure out is Sam Darnold the quarterback of the future? That has to be the first answer. If he is, then you have your answer and you build around Sam Darnold. If he’s not, then you have to move Sam Darnold and get somebody else to come in to be that quarterback,” said Feely.
The former third overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Darnold hasn’t exactly been surrounded by a winning supporting cast in his three years with the franchise. And the past two seasons he’s dealt with a bout of mononucleosis and a shoulder injury, so he has yet to play a full 16 game season. It’s been hard to put together a full evaluation of Darnold based on his first three years. But, fair or not, the prize of the draft this year is a quarterback considered to be a “can’t miss” prospect, Clemson junior Trevor Lawrence. If the Jets end up with the top pick, it would be tough to envision them not taking Lawrence.
Where do they look after that question is answered?
“You have to continue to build that offensive line. You have pretty good skill position players at the wide receiver spot when they’re healthy. You have to build that offensive line,” said Feely.
Last year’s first round pick, left tackle Mekhi Becton, looks to be exactly what the franchise hoped when they selected him 11th overall. That’s one line spot locked in. Who does the team consider a foundation piece with Becton along the line? That’s another question to answer. On the defensive side? Feely is locked in on improving the secondary.
“You have to get corners. You traded Jamal Adams, an excellent safety, and you got a lot of value for him but you have to hit on those picks,” said Feely. “You have to supplement that secondary and get something out of that defensive line other than Quinnen Williams because you have to be able to get pressure into that backfield and get after the quarterback.”
The 2021 Jets are bound to look different than this year’s version. For now, it’s a question of whether they can snag a win in one of their final four games to avoid the dreaded 0-16. The next chance comes Sunday against the Seahawks with kickoff slated for 4:05 p.m. EST on CBS.