Bob Wischusen has been the radio play-by-play voice of the New York Jets for 18 years. Beginning this week and lasting all season, Bob will share thoughts pertaining to the Green & White in a weekly column - "Wischusen's Point of View".
1. Quinnen Williams
Having covered the Jets for close to 25 years I have certainly seen my fair share of players drafted with extremely high expectations, only to struggle in the early portions of their careers. And the lesson that we all ought to be taught, is that some players may succeed right away, but some players may need a little more time to adjust to the speed and strength required to play in the NFL especially along the defensive line. Shaun Ellis is a player that comes to mind, as someone who was drafted in the first round early on in his career labeled a question mark if not a bust, only in the latter stages of his career to prove to be a very good player. What we have seen from Quinnen Williams of late is that he, in-spite of the fact that he is a rookie, is playing with a very short leash as far as Jet fans are concerned, but ought to be playing with a longer leash in reality because he is only a rookie, he may need some time to adjust to this level. He has already admitted that his rookie season hasn't met his expectations, but his play of late has shown why the Jets drafted him as high as they did and why they believe he can be a force on the defensive line. Sometimes patience is required and sometimes that patience pays off tremendously. It did in the case of Shaun Ellis and it very well might in the case of Williams.
2. Injuries and Week 17
If someone would have told me at the start of the season what the Jet injury report would look like as the season went on, I would have predicted them to be a four, maybe a five-win team. The fact that they are playing in Buffalo, on Sunday, with a chance to win their seventh game, already tells me they have exceeded what my expectations have been, considering they are still building a roster and had a quarterback at the beginning of the season that missed a month. The Bills may not play all of their players the entire game, but if they were to sit a fair number of their starters, that would probably bring them closer to the Jets level in terms of all of the starting caliber players the Jets have been without for the majority of the season, because their injury report has read like the Encyclopedia-Britannica. So winning a game on the road against a team that is going to go to the playoffs that you had a two-score lead at home against earlier this season and couldn't finish, would say a lot about the continued maturation process of this team and their hopes for the future. It's always important regardless of the circumstances to win in the NFL.
3. Second Half of the Season
In the win over the Steelers on Sunday make no mistake, the Jets beat a team that had playoff expectations. They beat a team that had everything to play for, when at least on the surface it appeared the Jets had nothing to play for. All the ramifications of that game were on the Steelers and yet it was the Jets that found a way to grind out a true NFL game and get a win. Critics will point to the quarterback position for the Steelers, not being Ben Roethlisberger, all the way down to their second and third stringers. But no one felt sorry for the Jets earlier this season when their quarterback was out of the lineup and they've been heavily criticized for playing poorly with their third string quarterback. This win, like the Cowboys win earlier this season, like the Raiders win a few weeks later, came against teams that absolutely had playoff expectations. The Jets at 1-7 could have folded their tent and gone away, but the fact that they have won five of their last seven and the fact that they can't make the playoffs but they are beating teams that are very much mathematically alive for the playoffs, says a lot about the character in their locker room and the fact that they feel like they have plenty to play for.