What if it doesn’t work out as planned?
What if the Jets aren’t as good as the hype surrounding their widely anticipated season, which began Monday night against the Bills in the season opener at MetLife Stadium?
What if quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn’t the same superstar he’s been for the past 15 years and suddenly looks his age and plays like a 39-year-old who’ll turn 40 in December?
What if Breece Hall isn’t the same explosive home run-hitting running back he showed flashes of as a rookie last season before blowing out his knee?
What if the 1,249 offensive touches Dalvin Cook has had in the past four seasons as one of the NFL’s most productive running backs looks like it caught up to his 28-year-old legs?
What if tackles Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton cannot stay healthy and the offensive line crumbles?
What if opposing defenses double-team Garrett Wilson and the likes of Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman Jr. cannot make them pay?
What if the Jets’ defense, which fancies itself as not only potentially the best in the league but possibly in NFL history, falls short of its No. 4 ranking of a year ago?
Unfathomable as most every Jets fan believe these things to be, anything is possible.
Just ask the Giants.
The Jets should have entered their opener letting what happened Sunday night on the same field they played the Bills on Monday night serve as a warning that things don’t always fit the script, follow the plan, match up with the expectations.
Cowboys 40, Giants 0 was a stunning and sobering example of how plans don’t always play out the way they’re expected to.
Sure, Sunday night’s loss was only one game for the Giants — just as Monday night was merely one of 17 for the Jets and any reaction to it, win or lose, was certain to be magnified and overanalyzed.
But the reality for the Giants on Monday morning was that they had a lot of questions to answer about themselves.
Pending the result of their game against the Bills, who’ve been the class of the AFC East since Tom Brady left New England and the Patriots became just another mediocre team, it’s possible the Jets wake up Tuesday morning with similar questions to those the Giants faced on Monday morning.
There was talk leading up to Monday’s game that the Jets absolutely, positively had to beat the Bills and establish themselves as the class of the AFC East.
That was nonsense — mostly because the Bills are not only two-time defending champions of the division, but one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. They, too, have one of the most dynamic players in the game in quarterback Josh Allen.
A loss to the Bills was never going to derail the Jets’ 2023 season, same as a loss to the Cowboys doesn’t signify an end to the Giants’ chances of having a successful season.
It’s just the way the Giants lost, failing to respond to being kicked in the teeth and looking noncompetitive for much of the night. Was it simply “one of those nights’’ for the Giants, one of those games where everything that can go wrong did go wrong?
We’ll know more in the next month or so.
A potential concern about the Jets is how openly they’ve spoken about their goals and expectations — winning the division and getting to the Super Bowl.
In fairness to the Jets, it’s not like they’ve been publicly thumping their chests Rex Ryan style, talking about multiple White House visits and kissing rings.
“We don’t openly talk about it,’’ Jets head coach Robert Saleh said before the game. “We get asked questions, and we answer them. Everybody wants to win a championship. The reason that I don’t care that our guys say something is because they always bring it back up to the moment.
“If we were out there talking about what we want without understanding what needs to happen, that is a completely different message. But our guys understand the job at hand and the task at hand, and that is attacking the moment. That is all you can ask for.’’
There’s no question that the combination of Rodgers’ pedigree and his positivity has been infectious and encouraged the team’s talk about its lofty goals.
“A part of that is speaking things into existence, the idea of manifestation,’’ Rodgers said during the week. “The other part of that is a realistic look at the locker room, knowing that there is anywhere from six to 12 teams every year that can do it and that we are one of those six to 12 teams.”
Credit: Source link