Bob Wischusen has been the radio play-by-play voice of the New York Jets for 19 years. Lasting all season, Wischusen will share thoughts about the Green & White in a weekly column.
Joe Douglas and the Future
I know Jets fans are struggling through what has been a difficult season, and believe me, Marty Lyons and I are struggling right along with you. Having said that though, GM Joe Douglas sent the message loud and clear at the start of the season that his plan is long term. It was never about this year. The reason you know it was never about this year is that the GM traded his best player before the season started for draft choices. You don't trade your best player for future draft choices if you're not trying to build toward the future. The significance of the in-season trades the Jets have made is that it follows that same pattern. Avery Williamson being moved is the latest example of that. For Jets fans, at least take heart in this: As difficult as this season has been, it was never about this season for Douglas. He sent that message when he traded Jamal Adams for future draft choices and has followed through on that pattern as the season has progressed.
The Importance of the Season's Second Half
When you lose your first eight games, it's difficult to say 'what can I take that's positive out of the next eight games?' For a fan, I certainly understand why you would feel that way. Having said that though, to me there are two themes to the second half of the season that I'm going to be following closely. I would think that if you're a fan and you're looking for something to latch onto, there are two things you should be following closely. The first is the quarterback; the Jets need better play from Sam Darnold. He also needs to feel confidence and to feel progress. I do think great play is inside this young quarterback. His future I think can benefit in a big way by showing progress in the second half of this season. No. 2 is the Jets' rookie class. Joe Douglas never made bones about patiently rebuilding this roster through the draft. So, watching Mekhi Becton and watching Denzel Mims and the rest of the rookie class make some of the progress that we've already seen I would think is encouraging.
At 0-8, it's difficult to find a win for a team in the second half of any season, but having said that, the Jets have two games left against the Patriots (starting Monday night). Both of those games suddenly look like the Jets' best chance(s) to win. They'll also play a division game and get their first look at rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa when the Dolphins come to MetLife Stadium. Having said that though, the rest of the second half schedule looks difficult. They'll either be on the road or on the West Coast, or they'll be playing games against the Browns and Raiders at home. These are teams that will desperately need to win to make the playoffs. So, the rest of this season for the Jets is going to be a good test to see that maybe in the second half of the year they're making some progress. The competition is going to be stiff.