The Jets were keeping receipts. That’s what head coach Robert Saleh said, at least, after New York dropped its season opener, 24-9, to the Baltimore Ravens.
“It’s going to happen,” Saleh said. “We’re all taking receipts on all the people who continually mock and say that we’re not going to do anything. I’m taking receipts, and I’m going to be more than happy to share them with all of you when all is said and done.”
Saleh’s Jets are now 3-1 since then and feeling good after a 40-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins. This game was the team’s best scoring output of the season so far.
The Jets emerged from Week 5 at 3-2, something they hadn’t done since 2017. Saleh has this team competing and looking pretty good. They aren’t quite what the Jets were in the early years of the Rex Ryan era, but as a complete unit, they look competent for the first time in a long time.
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New York’s offense was ranked in the top 10 coming into Week 5, and they’ve played two different quarterbacks. The Jets were only averaging 19 points per game through their first four, and reached that number against the Dolphins in the first half.
It hasn’t always been pretty, but when you’re a franchise like the Jets, you’ll take a win however you can get it. Saleh’s defensive influence is undoubtedly taking hold as the Jets ranked eighth in total yards allowed entering Week 5.
No one is saying the Jets will make the playoffs but winning eight or nine games would be a significant improvement compared to what they’ve done the past few years. The Jets haven’t finished with a winning record since 2015, Todd Bowles’ first year as head coach, when they won 10 games but narrowly missed the postseason.
They haven’t won more than seven games since then. And the last time they were 3-2, the Jets quickly went into tank mode, losing nine of their remaining 11 games and finishing the 2011 season at 5-11.
But things seem to be changing in Saleh’s second season leading the Jets. Their young franchise QB, Zach Wilson, started 2022 on the sideline due to an injury, and veteran Super Bowl-winning QB Joe Flacco stepped in and did his best to make them competitive. Flacco went 1-2 in three starts but at least tried to make it interesting. In his time as the starter this year, Flacco dropped back to pass an average of 51 times per game.
With Wilson making his season debut last week against the Steelers, those passing plays decreased considerably, as he attempted 36 passes. Wilson wasn’t overly efficient, completing just 50 percent of his throws, but the Jets got the win. Whether it’s aesthetically pleasing or not doesn’t matter at this point. The Jets just need to get wins under their belt to continue boosting this young roster’s confidence.
After Miami, the Jets travel to Green Bay and Denver in the next two weeks, then back home for division matchups with New England and Buffalo. All those games could be winnable, with the Bills being the exception. New York doesn’t have the most challenging schedule outside of their division, and while they probably won’t make the playoffs, there should be a few more wins on the docket. They might be ugly, but teams care about winning, especially when you’ve been deprived for so long. All wins can’t be pretty, and if you’re a Jets fan, all you want is victory.
The Jets figured out a way to win again in Week 5, scoring three rushing touchdowns and doing it with defense against the Dolphins. New York forced two turnovers and didn’t give the ball up on offense once. Wilson wasn’t great, but the offense was efficient. He completed 66.7 percent of his passes, and the team converted on five of its 11 third down attempts. Only five penalties in the game make the Jets look like a disciplined team. With the Giants improving to 4-1 and the Jets sitting at 3-2, things may be changing for the better in New York.