Following a successful first wave of free agency, Jets head coach Adam Gase believes his team is now primed to be in the 2019 playoff hunt.
"I'm looking at it as if we stay healthy, we should be in the conversation in December," Gase told reporters at the NFL League Meetings. "That's realistic. We have a good quarterback, we have a lot of good pieces around him. I feel like we've added a lot of pieces to the defense."
While Le'Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, Kelechi Osemele, Jamison Crowder and others now wear green and white, Gase was adamant the key words surrounding his confidence relies on the health of his players.
"Going off my experience of three years, the injury is real," he said. "Injury is a factor into this to where if you're banged up really bad in December, you have to play good ball. You have to win your home games and you have to steal a game on the road in December if you want a shot at making [the playoffs]. If we stay healthy, I think we'll be in the right spot at the end of the year. If we lost a bunch of really good players, I think our probability goes down."
Injuries aside, Gase stressed the importance of playing good football in late November and December, which accounts for the final five or six weeks of the regular season. Over the last three years, the Jets have a 4-14 record in Weeks 12-17 (all Week 11 byes), including two road wins.
"You're talking about a six-week span where every team in this league is going to be decided in those weeks," he said. "There's going to be three or four teams that will be eliminated already and everybody else is going to have a shot. You have to take advantage of it."
The Jets are in a good spot with their free agency additions combined with the pre-existing nucleus that includes Sam Darnold, Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Chris Herndon. The Green & White currently have 68 players on their roster and can add another 22 by the start of training camp, a handful coming via April's draft.
"We're in the first year of our program, we're adding a lot of good pieces, I think," Gase said. "It's about creating depth from here on out to where down the road, we're saying if something happens, we have this guy to plug in, this young guy to plug in. I think right now we're at a state where we're looking to create depth in the draft. We're still looking to fill some spots. We're building our program from here."