New York Jets Season Recap: Building A Contender

Elijah Blain

The New York Jets have been trying to build a contending team in the AFC since their last playoff appearance in 2010. The 2022 Jets share some similarities with the 2010 squad: Sauce Gardner is a generational cornerback like Darrelle Revis, the strongest part of the team is their defense and the weakest position on the roster is their quarterback.

Zach Wilson, the second overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, played poorly in his sophomore year. The quarterback was benched after he had a completion percentage of 40.9 in Week 11 against the New England Patriots and didn’t start again until the Week 15 game against the Detroit Lions. Wilson was unimpressive when he returned to the starting role, and in Week 16 against the Jaguars, he had a quarterback rating of 41.9.

Backup QBs Mike White and Joe Flacco started when Wilson was injured or benched. They won two games during the season combined out of the eight games they started. The Jets will look to pursue a quarterback in the 2023 offseason, and many fans are clamoring for Packers QB and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers to be New York’s newest quarterback.

“You want the best QB that you can get to lead the Jets… I can’t really talk about [Rodgers], because he’s a member of another club, but everybody recognizes talent when they see it,” Jets owner Woody Johnson explained.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the team’s QB situation, the Jets have a very talented roster on both sides of the ball. Jets rookies and their first two first-round picks, Garrett Wilson and Gardner, won the Associated Press Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year Awards.

Gardner also earned a first team All-Pro nod and became the first cornerback to achieve that feat since the Hall of Fame CB Ronnie Lott did it in 1981. Getting two superstars in one draft is rare, and having a solid core of young players is essential to compete in the NFL.

Their second-round pick, RB Breece Hall, rushed for 463 yards until he suffered an ACL tear in a Week 7 win against the Denver Broncos. Their other first-round pick, Jermaine Johnson II, only compiled 2.5 sacks during his rookie season – but it’s far too early to call the outside linebacker a draft bust.

By Week 9, the Jets had a 6-3 record and were looking to sneak into a Wild Card spot, but due to injuries at multiple positions, the team dropped seven of their last eight games and finished the season with a 7-10 record.

Although the Jets were third in passing yards allowed by a defense, they scored the third fewest touchdowns in the 2022 season. As a result of their offensive struggles, the Jets fired offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and hired ex-Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett to the position.

The keys to the Jets’ future success are to build around their excellent defensive core and solve their quarterback problem.