Well. That was an eventful week.
First and foremost, I am so happy to be writing this knowing that Tua is OK, and more than that, by all accounts he is acting as his old self and being as involved as he is allowed to be. That is a big relief for him personally and for every fan who has invested in our young QB1.
The footballing reality is that this week we will be rolling with Teddy Bridgewater into New York. Me personally, I am fully at peace with that. I miss Tua already and I will miss him on Sunday. But with Teddy at the helm, I feel calm about the game. Teddy has been a starter in this league, and more than that, he has won games, that’s why he is earning what he is earning whilst being a backup. He has had a long preparation week working with our fantastic supporting cast of receivers and throwing into the mix that he is a Miami boy, who is desperate to do well in his hometown… I feel calm in this situation.
So comforted by how chilled I am about our situation this week, I spoke with Mike Levy (@Nyjmike), from the Broadway Jets Podcast to see how the Jets are feeling coming into week 5…
Hello mate, thank you for coming on board for this week’s edition of the series. A great game to preview, but first, give us a bit of an introduction if you could.
Hi there – NyjMike here. First timer in this series, a massive Jets fan, and a sports enthusiast. I’m 25, living in NYC, and have had season tickets for 3 years. My buddy NYJ_Matt and I used to get frustrated with the media coverage surrounding the Jets – too much of the “same old jets” mantra flying around, so we decided to make some influential Twitter accounts about 2 years ago and spread some positivity and knowledge.
Well after what I saw last week, I am not so sure the “Same Old Jets” sayings will be around for long. But looking back pre-season, while those mantras were very much being perpetuated, what was the mood like around the fanbase? I’d have thought there would be optimism given the premium draft picks you have had recently.
The mood around the Jets has been predictably very downtrodden and bleak over the past few seasons. When I mentioned the same old Jets in the previous question, one of the reasons it was frustrating to hear was because I heard it growing up even though the Jets were a successful organization from 1997-2011. 3 AFC championship game appearances, 7 trips to the playoffs, and 12 seasons of .500 ball or better. Recently the Jets have sunk to new lows, especially with the scum of the earth Adam Gase. This draft class has been off the charts so far – the last time the Jets had this many premium picks was 2000 when they came away with Chad Pennington, Shaun Ellis, Jon Abraham, and Anthony Becht in the first round (not to mention Laverneus Coles in the 3rd). Has a chance to be a really special class with Sauce, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson and Breece Hall.
Yeah exactly my point really, look at those names, the fact you landed all of those guys is obscene really. I can’t imagine how your mood was over the draft weekend. But after that pre-season came the season. (Noting how I ignored the Adam Gase reference as NEITHER team needs to revisit that.) And this season, you sit 2-2 and in a position many people wouldn’t have predicted for you given you haven’t had Zach Wilson for 3 out of those 4 games.
Is that record a fair reflection of your play? Or do you feel you should be in an even better position?
Most Jets fans would have been very happy to go 1-2 with Zach Wilson out the first 3 games of the season. Joe Flacco did just that pulling off the miracle win in Cleveland. Another nice comeback win in Pittsburgh has me very content at 2-2, however, it is imperative that the Jets establish a real identity on both offense and defense. Tough to sustain winning random games like Cleveland and the Steelers, need to have a consistent formula. And right now that has to come from the coach. I like Robert Saleh a lot but I don’t fully trust him on the X’s and O’s yet.
Oh really now that does surprise me because all the impressions I have got is that the Jets fanbase was all in on Saleh. I assumed he could do no wrong at the moment. I think this week will be an interesting battle of minds, with Coach Saleh and Coach McDaniel coming from that same coaching tree and excelling within that tree on opposite sides of the ball. Out-scheming each other and out-coaching each other promised to be a really interesting game.
And now they’re scheming offensively for their QB1 too. Wilson is back and with a win under his bet, so do you expect to kick on now? Or have expectations not really changed?
I predicted the Jets to go 10-7 before the season and I will stick with that. Your Dolphins come in with a backup QB, the Jets need to make a statement at home and get to 3-2 for the first time since 2017(!). The first half of the Jets’ schedule looked brutal before the season but there are some winnable games in there that didn’t appear so such as @Denver and home vs the Pats and Dolphins potentially without starting QBs. Hell, the pats took the Packers to OT with Bailey Zappe, that game in GreenBay could be won too.
Oh really? 10-7 is much higher than I was expecting personally. In a tough conference and with ourselves strengthening and the Bills looking dominant, I wouldn’t have had you with that many wins. But you talked up your draft picks, so I’m assuming you expected your draft picks to make an immediate impact? How have those new additions contributed to your run, and potentially contributed to your 10-7 prediction?
I’ve talked about the rookie class, which has been terrific so far. But so I don’t focus on those, the veterans that the Jets brought in have had solid impacts too.
New tight end Tyler Conklin is on pace for 89 catches and CB DJ Reed has been incredible, in fact, he and Sauce Gardner have 0 combined penalties this season. But Pro Bowl LG Laken Tomlinson has been disappointing. In fact, the whole offensive and defensive lines have been underwhelming considering the Jets have the most expensive D-Line and second most expensive O-Line in the NFL (although the Jets do have 4 offensive tackles on IR). Guys like Carl Lawson have been solid but need to be game-breakers.
I would have expected more from Tomlinson. There was noise about him landing in Miami due to the link with Mike McDaniel but obviously, we put our money into Terron Armstead in that respect. I think the trenches are going to be so important in this game in both respects from both sides. We are going to need to try and give Teddy time to run this offense whilst trying to make Wilson’s second game back an uncomfortable one. If we can get those things right I think we can extend our winning total.
Our record currently stands at 3-1 and after some tough games too! What did you guys expect from us this year with Mike McDaniel? Has our 3-1 start been a shock or did you always expect this kind of start from us?
I thought the Dolphins had the talent to be formidable this year. The whole AFC East is pretty tough. Teddy profiles as a pretty similar type of player as Tua so there is nothing to take for granted here. The Jets have less injuries as a whole than Miami so I’m expecting a win at home Sunday. Mike McDaniel is a nerd!!
I’m not in the habit of comparing Tua to our other QBs after that has been the cause of so much negative press where our QB situation is concerned. But the way people perceive Tua never seems to really match up to his play. His inconsistency whilst under public scrutiny doesn’t help him, like his poor performance against the Titans in the big game last year, but the way he plays is often different from the way opposition fans perception of how he plays.
But Tua isn’t playing this weekend. So from those who are, who are you most concerned about on this Dolphins roster? Who can pose you the greatest threat on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball?
Of course, Tyreek Hill and Waddle come to mind as the biggest threats to the Dolphins’ offense. The Jets have their best cornerback tandem in years with Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed so should be a fun matchup.
On the other side of the ball, Byron Jones and Xavien Howard have given the Jets fits for years…doesn’t look like either of them will suit up so good luck against Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, and Corey Davis – all of whom are on pace for 800+ yards.
Yeah, Tyreek is the obvious name to mention and he is mentioned a lot in this section of the article every week. But Waddle has been performing equally well and you would be wise to look at them equally, although of course I hope you don’t.
I am expecting to see Xavien Howard personally, he was back at practice later in the week, and with Jones still not ready, I expect they will do what they can to get him on the field. Opposite him, undrafted free agent Kader Kohou has started very well and even getting ahead of more established player Nik Needham at times, so your rookie WRs could be a good opportunity for him to further announce himself.
What about names on your Jets roster that aren’t getting much attention? I mentioned Kohou just then, do you have anyone who is going unnoticed so far this season?
With all the attention on Garrett Wilson and the rookies, Eljiah Moore has gotten off to a sluggish start. Dolphins fans should remember his long TD from Flacco last year and I think Moore will put the league on notice soon.
Oh I am very much aware of Elijah Moore, and now that Wilson is back, I think the world could see a whole lot more from him once that connection reignites. Although I have faith in our defense to learn from last year and prevent that kind of play happening again. Our safeties especially are looking particularly good so I have faith in them to contain.
But on the subject of Zach Wilson, both our teams have QBs on the roster who we believe could be long term answers for the future of each franchise. Both QBS have had injuries, both have had impressive moments and both have had underwhelming moments. But both franchises believe their QB could be there for the long term, which means that we could be seeing Wilson v Tua for years to come. What do you guys think the future looks like for this rivalry?
This is a very interesting question. Obviously hope Tua is okay after his disturbing injury. I am very conflicted about Zach Wilson – I was a huge Darnold supporter so was a little bitter about Zach initially but like you said he has had flashes of greatness.
Tua Profiles more as a game manager while Zach has elite tools but has some shaky moments on easy throws. If you told me Zach and Tua were the QBs of the Jets and Dolphins in 4 years, I wouldn’t be shocked – but I also wouldn’t be shocked if this isn’t the case
I’ve already talked about the way people seem to “profile” Tua inaccurately based on perception and narrative, rather than gameplay, so I won’t get into that. But I completely expect the Jets to commit to Wilson personally, but that is with an under-educated perspective myself. But after the Sam Darnold era ended much to briefly, I expect them to try and buy into Wilson longer term.
I think this rivalry will be one of a number of fantastic rivalries within the AFC East. With Mac Jones and Josh Allen seemingly well bedded in at their own franchises, if Tua and Wilson do get long-term extensions, QB battles will rumble on for a long time in this division.
So to wrap this up, what are your predictions for Sunday? How do you see this one going?
Jets 28 Dolphins 14.
Robert Saleh finds a way to stop Jets legend Teddy Bridgewater. The Jets get pressure away from Terron Armstead and take advantage of no Byron Jones or Howard.
Committing to the no Howard then haha, I think that may be more of a case of wishful thinking. I really think Miami will find a way to get him on the field.
I’m feeling equally optimistic about our chances. I’d be fully confident if Tua was suiting up, this is his team now. But Teddy has had a long week having played last Thursday, and I am sure our offensive coach has plenty schemed up to maximize Teddy’s abilities. I also think we could see an increase in our Run Offense to help mask Tua’s absence.
I’m Going to predict 24-17 to Miami. I feel it is going to be closer than a lot of previous games with the Jets more competitive than in the past, but overall, I expect this roster to get the win.
And so ends the latest Behind Enemy Lines article. The Jets fans have a real belief in them now and at 2-2, compared to past years, any sports fan will understand their cause for positivity.
That said, we have more experience on our side, with a lot of their play and progress dependent on rookie players. We have experience on both sides of the ball, and in strong, influential figures and in Tua’s absence, and in the circumstances of Tua’s injury and subsequent defeat, I have a feeling our influential players will be leading by example and highly motivated to bounce back.
The Jets of course, will be motivated themselves, as a win brings them to level with us record-wise, but when comparing the two, I can only really feel a Dolphins win, and a win that puts us 1-0 against every team within our division… we ready!!