Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will give their responses to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What do you think of the Jets' position at the bye week?
EA: After all the adversity the Jets faced to start the season, I think they're in a good spot. Many pundits thought the early slate was daunting even if the Jets had a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Not only did the Jets lose Rodgers, but they lost Alijah Vera-Tucker (Achilles), Duane Brown (hip/shoulder) went to injured reserve after two games, rookie Joe Tippmann (quad) exited the Eagles game, CB D.J. Reed has missed 2 games (concussion) and Sauce Gardner (concussion) joined Reed on the sideline against Philly. Breece Hall was also on a pitch count to start the year and Dalvin Cook has a new role in a new system. Speaking of new systems, OC Nathaniel Hackett is implementing his system with a QB in Zach Wilson who continues to take strides. The Jets are .500 and that's probably where they should be. A play here and a call there and the Jets could have secured wins against the Patriots and the Chiefs. But you could say the same thing on the other side with the Bills and Eagles games. Twelve teams in the AFC enter the weekend with .500 records or better and three of those clubs reside in the AFC East. If the Jets continue to get elite play from their defense and special teams while getting just a bit of offensive improvement, this team should contend for a playoff spot. I like the way the schedule sets up (at NY Giants, vs. LA Chargers, at Las Vegas Raiders), so the good spot can become a great spot by the middle of November.
EG: If you're a fan, you have to be encouraged by the Jets' 3-3 start this season. When looking at the schedule in April, I think most fans would've signed up for 3-3 after six weeks with Aaron Rodgers. To hit the same mark without Rodgers in the lineup is a testament of how good this team is. Of the 10 remaining teams the Jets will play, four of them have offenses that rank in the bottom third in the NFL, five of them rank bottom third in points per game and four rank bottom third in sacks allowed. For a defense that did a tremendous job against some of the NFL's best, this is a favorable matchup for the Jets. Offensively, they've found a way to win games without hitting its stride. Robert Saleh believes the offense is close to turning field goals into touchdowns. If that happens, the Jets will be in a great spot coming out of the bye. The AFC could be a photo finish for a playoff berth, but the brand of football the Green & White play will have them in every game.
RL: What's not to like? The Jets took on their first six games, which had a crusher 2022 schedule strength of .653, and the shock of losing Aaron Rodgers to injury four snaps into Game 1, and came out of it with a 3-3 mark, a comeback win over the defending NFC champion Eagles, to enter their bye. Now they should get starting CBs Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed back, plus T Duane Brown and eventually G Joe Tippmann and ST wizard Justin Hardee for the journey ahead. The next five games will be a ladder test for the Jets' growth since the opponents are the Giants (1 win), Chargers (2), Raiders (3), Bills (4) and the dangerous Dolphins (5), who combine for a '23 SOS of .517. Then the final six, which at the start of the season looked less taxing than the first 11, now appear like a tougher regular-season finish (.514 schedule-strength finish) with the Falcons, Texans, Dolphins, Commanders, Browns and the finale at the Patriots. But the Jets showed in the first six they can do tough. Now just keep doing it, get that 1% better every day and let's see where it takes them.
CH: All things considered, I think the Jets are in a great spot at their bye. After losing Aaron Rodgers and Alijah Vera-Tucker for the season, Duane Brown and Justin Hardee to injured reserve, the Jets have found a way to come out at 3-3 after facing a gauntlet over the first six weeks. The Jets defense ranks top 10 in yards per attempt and passer rating allowed against all six Pro Bowl quarterbacks they faced to start the season. They also have only allowed 1 touchdown in the second half and have forced 8 turnovers. The defense has been getting better each game and so has OC Nathaniel Hackett and Zach Wilson's chemistry. Wilson hit a career-high completion percentage at Denver with 73.1%, has a passer rating of 73.4 this season and has led his team on a 2-game winning streak into the bye. As this team looks at the second half of their schedule, they will face some high-powered offenses. What this team has been able to accomplish competing against the reigning 2022 Super Bowl Champions and 2022 NFC Champions should make any fan of this team excited for the rest of the season.
JP: The Green & White have rallied back after a 1-2 start to 3-3 and put themselves in a prime position to make a run at their first playoff berth since 2010. The Jets' first six opponents had a .560 win percentage while their remaining 10 have winning percentage of .507, and 8 of the 10 opponents have a win percentage of .500 or worse. On defense, the pass rush has emerged over the past two games sacking dual-threat QBs Russell Wilson and Jalen Hurts 6 times after registering 7.5 QB takedowns over the first 4 games. The bye also comes at a perfect time for the Jets secondary. Playing without D.J. Reed and Sauce Gardner (both concussions) in Week 6, the bye will allow them to get healthy. On the other side of the ball, the Jets offense has recorded its three best first down totals (17.6 per game) and yardage totals of the season (329 per game) over the past three games and begun to hit its stride. All positive things for things for Jets fans to hear and see in the Green & White's week off.