This year won't be a playoff season or even a break-even season. But as owner/CEO Christopher Johnson said in September: "The real way to judge this team and the people on it, me included: Are we getting better?"
In one more small area of the operation, the Jets have shown definite improvement in the final two minutes of the first half.
QB Bryce Petty stepped in for Josh McCown at New Orleans, and while his offense didn't improve its position from the Saints 11 with 1:44 to go in the second quarter after Leonard Williams' interception, it at least held that position, leading to Chandler Catanzaro's 29-yard field goal with 9 seconds left.
Those three points raised the Jets' total this season to 43 scored after the two-minute warning in the first half. For context, that already is the second-best total of the last eight seasons. With a touchdown against the Chargers or the Patriots, 50 points would elevate that best total in the last 24 seasons, or since the 1994 team put up 61 points after the warning.
"Everything about two-minute is preparation," Petty told me this week. "I think you have to plan, you have to prepare for those situations. And I think actually from my rookie year to last year to this year, we really stepped up our situational plays in practice. There's just a level of preparation there that, if you haven't done it or don't do it, that shows up on Sundays as well."
Because the Jets often run their two-minute drills with ones vs. ones, the defense also benefits from this prep work. And perhaps that's why that unit is doing relatively well in this situation as well, yielding 23 points in the final two minutes of the first half, currently the best in the last five years.
As a result, the plus-20 point margin in two-minute situations is currently the best of the last eight years, or since the franchise benchmark of plus-40 was set by the '09 team.
Obviously this hasn't been a difference-maker for this year's edition, but it bodes well for the players returning next season.
As for the final two minutes of games, that's still a work in progress with a minus-19 point differential, certainly a reflection of the Jets' finishing issues this season. But compared to last year's minus-35, this too is an improvement as we head into the final two games of 2017.