The New York Jets’ ‘fun little trio’ surpasses all draft classes in team history

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ – A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets:

1. Rookie show: One of the reasons for hope in 2022 is the draft class in 2021, which is perhaps the best group of offensive rookies in franchise history. Just follow the touchdowns.

Wide receiver Elijah Moore (six), running back Michael Carter (four) and quarterback Zach Wilson (four) have combined in 14 rushing and receiving touchdowns, more than any Jets rookie grade in the Joint Draft Era (since 1967), according to ESPN Stats & Information. If you count pick-six from cornerback Brandin Echols, that’s a total of 15 touchdowns, second only to the 2021 class of the Pittsburgh Steelers (16).

The Jets’ previous highs were 13 touchdowns in 1984 – eight by fullback Tony Paige, two by wide receiver Bobby Humphery and running back Cedric Minter and one by tight-end Glenn Dennison.

A few disclaimers: The Jets have not produced many star offensive rookies in the last 55 years. It’s also obvious, but worth noting that early success does not guarantee a bright future, as illustrated by the ’84 class. Not one of them became a household name. In the end, Wilson’s development as a passer – not as a runner – will be the biggest factor in determining the success of the 2021 draft, but there is certainly reason for optimism.

Keep in mind that Wilson, Moore and Carter still have not had much of a chance to play together. Each one has missed time due to injuries (11 games in total), so they have been on the field at the same time in just 68 of the team’s 930 offensive snaps. Wild, right?

Moore (quadriceps) remains out Sunday for a fourth straight game. If the three-man meeting does not take place next week, there is always 2022.

“They have a chance (to be special), especially the way Zach has been playing since recovering from an injury, the way he is improving,” coach Robert Saleh said. “To get the three back, it’s going to be a fun little trio to watch.”

Give him a GPS: The Jets have not stopped for many teams this season, but they play a good defense when it comes to receiver Denzel Mims, who offers plenty of alibi when it comes to his performance. What they cannot camouflage is the bottom line. After all, the NFL is a production company, and right now his production is … well, consider this:

Over the past two seasons, Mims has run more pass routes (386) without a touchdown than any wide receiver in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Let’s explain.

In 2020 and 2021, a total of 110 wide receivers have run at least 340 routes – and Mims is the only one who has not scored. He was targeted in the end zone last week, but he stepped out of bounds during his route and made himself out of position.

The 2021 calendar year was not kind to Mims, who was fighting food poisoning and COVID-19, but he should be out of adversity. Due to damage to the receiver, he gets a great opportunity to ask his critics. But he is not; he has played three games in a row without reception.

3. Fire! Right now, the Jets have four picks in the top 38 of the 2022 NFL draft. Historically, this kind of scenario has only happened to them twice – 2000 (four in the top 27) and 1984 (four in the top 39). It’s a rare opportunity to get better quickly.

4. Good home, Alabama? There’s an outside chance that the Jets’ staff could be asked to coach one of the teams in the Senior Bowl on Feb. 5 in Mobile, Alabama. The league invites two NFL teams to train, based on draft position. Three teams are ahead of the Jets in the current order, and one of them – the Jacksonville Jaguars – is off the board because they want a new coaching staff. The teams have the opportunity to refuse.

It’s hard to believe, but the Jets have not coached the Senior Bowl since 1979, when Walt Michaels was the head coach. That year, in Mobile, they fell in love with an unannounced pass-rusher named Mark Gastineau.

5. Swing door: The Jets have used 84 different players, four more than their total in 2020, according to the NFL. Call it COVID-19 and a lot of damage. The most fluid position is safety, where they have started nine players – amazing.

6. Big offseason for ‘Big Ticket’: It seems strange to say this about a 22-year-old, but 2022 is a critical year for Mekhi Becton, whose star has faded after a leaching season in 2021 due to knee surgery. This week, Saleh essentially challenged the 6-foot-7 left tackle to crush the offseason as he prepares for year 3.

“This is going to be a big offseason for him in terms of getting his body right, getting his mind right, getting ready to play as fast as possible so he can get a complete set of OTAs that he never has. had, a full training camp that he really never had, and get himself into the season so he can dominate as we all know he can, “Saleh said.

The Jets will not give up on Becton after just two years, even though he will have missed 18 out of 33 games – and neither should they. The big man has talent, but he needs to get in the best shape of his life and stay healthy. He was a durable player in college (only one missed start in three years), but he quickly achieves the injured mark in the NFL.

The left-tackle situation gets really interesting if they draft a tackle (Alabama’s Evan Neal?) With one of their two first-round picks. Could they move Becton to the right tackle? Saleh refused to seize that opportunity.

7. Revenge? Ex-Jets coach Todd Bowles meets his former team for the first time since he was fired after the 2018 season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator returns to MetLife Stadium with a Super Bowl ring on his finger and his reputation restored. He is already mentioned as the head coach candidate in the upcoming recruitment cycle.

The list has changed since Bowles left (only four holdover players), but the loss has not stopped. The team’s winning percentage after Bowles (0.277) is actually lower than Bowles’ four-year run (0.375), indicating that he was not the problem. It’s bigger than any single coach.

8. Did you know that? Bucs star Tom Brady has 23 wins against rookie quarterbacks, the second most in NFL history, including 11 in a row. His last loss – and this will shock you – was to the Jets’ Geno Smith in 2013.

9. Running QB: Wilson certainly showed off his wheels last week. If he scores against the Bucs, it will be three games in a row with a rushing touchdown, something no Jets’ quarterback has done.

10. The last word: Two quick John Madden / Jets stories, courtesy of former Jets PR director Frank Ramos:

Before a match in 1969 at the windy Shea Stadium, Madden, a first-year coach at the Oakland Raiders, noticed small, white flags behind the goal posts. He asked Jets coach Weeb Ewbank about them. Some coaches would have given a false explanation, but Ewbank said the purpose of the flags was to help kicker Jim Turner measure the wind direction. Madden later noted that he was impressed with Ewbank’s transparency, his willingness to help a young coach. (By the way, Madden was 4-0 lifetime against the Jets.)

In 1994, Ramos sat near Madden among the crowd at the announcement of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team. Ramos recalled: “After the quarterbacks were revealed, Madden turned to me and said, ‘Damn, they left (Joe) Namath. He made an entire league!’ I will always remember that line. “A reference, of course, to the old AFL.

We will always remember John Madden. Rest in peace, coach.


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