As the Jets prepare for their preseason opener on Saturday August 12 against the Titans, we continue to provide you with the latest going on at Florham Park.
By now every New York Jets fan knows that their top receiver in 2016 is out for the season with a neck injury suffered Saturday at practice. Formerly a sixth round draft pick in 2014, Quincy Enunwa wasn’t expected to do much.
After appearing in just one game in his rookie season, the Jets started to see Enunwa’s talent as a receiver in 2015. Being used as a hybrid between a WR and TE, Enunwa proved extremely valuable to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was extremely effective at finding the first down marker, as 10 of his 22 receptions on the season were for first down. In 2016 he enjoyed a breakout season, finishing second on the team with 58 receptions and led the team with 857 yards and 4 TD. However, despite posting career-highs last season, it’s not like those numbers are impossible to replace. It’s not like the New York Jets lost Jerry Rice. Rice had 122 receptions for 1,800 yards and 15 TD in 1995, one of 12 seasons with 80 or more receptions.
Most pundits, who already didn’t expect much from a roster depleted of veterans and established stars, have buried the Jets even more than they had before. However, it might not be as bad as some New York Jets fans and the NFL experts think.
Vinny from Brooklyn, you can get down from the bridge. Tony from Queens, you don’t have to get rid of your season tickets yet. Guido from the Bronx, don’t throw your TV set out the window just yet.
The 2017 New York Jets season was not going to be much of a season anyway; despite what some young, euphoric fans might have fantasized about. Despite having one of the more talented defensive lines in the NFL and two safeties that are predicted to mold their defense into a top unit, 2017 was not going to be a banner year.
While Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan are entering their third season which has seen them go from 10-6 in 2015 to 5-11 last season, most agree that the head coach and GM will stay even if the Jets have the disastrous season most predict.
The 2017 New York Jets season is one that needs to see the team improve with the young roster they are currently rebuilding this franchise with. In the offseason the Jets rid themselves of expensive veteran contracts and players that were in front of the youngsters the Jets want to evaluate. The same can be said about WR.
While Enunwa was the most accomplished player out of a unit that know has second year WR Robby Anderson with 42 career receptions as the most experienced, this opens the door for other young WR to step up. This season should be all about getting better for the Jets and seeing just how many players they can count on beyond this season. Enunwa was never one of those guys. The Jets already knew what they had in him before the season started.
Going forward, Enunwa should be back and good as new in 2018. This year the New York Jets need to have two to three more WR that they know they can count on thanks to Enunwa being unavailable in 2017. That means Chad Hansen, ArDarius Stewart, Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, Marques Wilson, Chris Harper and even Gabe Marks and Lucky Whitehead now have a chance to show the team they can be part of this teams future.
The 2017 New York Jets season is now officially about getting better. It’s about showing the rest of the NFL that the rebuilding plan that Bowles and Maccagnan put in effect this offseason is working. It’s about letting the younger players and draft picks Maccagnan wants to build this team on, getting thrown in the fire and seeing if they can mold into a player this franchise can use.
While others might choose to see this injury as another example of the “Same Old Jets”, it is now time for this franchise to start shedding that label and turning a possible negative into a positive.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.