Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and this year he is bringing us another wonderful gift that will keep on giving – football.
With the 2021 NFL training camp just days away, and a new season full of hope (and crowds in the stands), I wanted to put together a list of predictions for the New York Jets this year.
Prediction #1: Robert Saleh Will Have a Good Year as a Rookie Head Coach in the NFL.
The head coach is the face and the pulse of every NFL team, and Robert Saleh looks to be a good, solid choice to lead the Jets in 2021. Saleh brings a great resume with him but, more importantly, seems to have a sense of “buy-in” from the players in anticipation of a new season. Players watch coaches come and go, and only a few of those coaches will ever truly impact a player’s career and personal life. Robert Saleh looks to be one of those coaches who believes in what he is doing with this organization.
In addition, bringing in Mike LaFleur as OC and Jeff Ulbrich as DC will also help the Jets become a legitimate NFL team again on the field and a solid coaching staff off the field.
Prediction #2: Zach Wilson Will Not Be Another Jets QB Bust
This is a bold prediction, and I may end up eating my words, but I just see Wilson being slightly different from a Mark Sanchez or Sam Darnold or filling in the blank with another QB’s name. As an old football coach, I can tell you that your offense is only as good as your offensive line, and it looks like Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh took that seriously when they drafted LG Alijah Vera-Tucker in the 1st round out of USC. Additional signings of T Morgan Moses from Washington and Dan Feeney from the Chargers (who also played LG, C, and RG) bring additional depth, experience, and stability to the Jets O Line.
In addition, Jets C Connor McGovern is steadily improving into a top-tier center, and LT Mekhi Becton also had a solid rookie season which translates into a solid, steady offensive unit upfront on every snap. With this weapon alone, Wilson should have the time and protection to make good QB decisions and have a better chance of staying healthy – an issue that plagued many preceding Jets quarterbacks.
Prediction #3: Tevin Coleman Will Have a Good Season in 2021
One of the most decisive words in the English language is the simple word if. If Tevin Coleman can stay healthy and re-connect with his old OC in Mike LaFleur, Coleman may have a legitimate shot at having another 1,000 yard rushing season. Of course, having a strong O Line does not hurt his chances, and if you look at Prediction #2, then Coleman may be another beneficiary of great blocking.
Another RB that may have a breakout rookie season is Michael Carter (the rookie out of North Carolina, having TWO Michael Carters on a roster is going to be fun itself, just hearing games being called with Michael Carter II on the defensive side of the ball) who is set to make a statement early on in training camp and in the preseason as a dual rushing and passing threat.
Prediction #4: The Jets Will Have a Better 2021 Than 2020
At the beginning of every season, any coach worth anything will automatically tell you this is the year to win a state championship/national championship/Super Bowl. If you don’t go into the season with that mentality, why bother? However, deep inside those bold predictions, there still remains a quiet, realistic expectation for the upcoming season. I predict that the Jets in 2021 are realistically looking at a 6-11 or 7-10 season. That being said, the Jets will accomplish one huge thing this year – regaining respectability.
The Jets will not be a spineless speed bump on the weekly NFL schedule, but a legitimate, solid football team and opponents will have to earn their wins against the Jets the old-fashioned way. I also see the Jets losing some heartbreakers that could have gone their way on some Sundays, and that 6-11 record could have easily ended up being 8-9 or even 9-8.
The 2021 season is a re-building foundation year for the Jets, and if these predictions come true, the 2022 Jets will be solid playoff contenders.
Regardless of their record, the Jets this season will be nothing like the 2020 Jets, and Gang Green fans can look to an infinitely better team in 2021.
Featured Image: New York Jets