Six games into the season, these 2017 Jets are hard to figure out.
They are much better than anyone anticipated in the preseason, but just how good are they? The talk of tanking has been shelved. They are 3-3 and have been competitive in every game they’ve played.
“We’re .500 right now and we have 10 games to go,” Todd Bowles said. “We’ve got to get above .500 if we want to make any noise. We can only play them one at a time. We’ve had some spurts and we have some things we need to get better at. We’ve got to start putting it together.”
The Jets have been surprising through six weeks. Now, the question is whether they can maintain their inspired play.
On conference calls with reporters Monday, there was actually talk of whether this team can be a playoff contender.
“Oh yeah, without a doubt,” defensive end Leonard Williams said when asked if the Jets can stay in the race all year.
Bowles pumped the brakes on that, putting the focus on the Dolphins this Sunday.
“It’s a long way off,” Bowles said of the playoffs. “We’re going to play one game at a time. Playoff talk for me is not valid at all. We’re just trying to beat Miami next week.”
Bowles is correct. It is premature to talk about the playoffs in October, but … look at the standings. There are only three teams that appear to be out of the race already — the Giants, 49ers and Browns. The rest of the league has between two and five wins. Parity has ruled the first six weeks of the season.
Beyond whether they can make the playoffs, so many of the questions surrounding this team remain to be answered.
Start with Bowles and his future with the team. Most believed he was going to be fired at the end of the season. But he has met the mandate laid out by owners Woody and Christopher Johnson through the first six weeks. The Jets have shown signs of improvement and growth each week since Week 2. They are playing together and for one another, and that’s a tribute to Bowles.
“Overall, I think we’re at a good place,” Williams said. “The team is definitely rallying together. We’re playing really close. We’re playing for one another. Even though we lost this last game, we showed how good we can play. There’s a few details on film that we need to clean up, a few big plays here or there that we need to fix. We know that we’re a good team and we’re going to play every week like that.”
Another narrative entering this season was that McCown was just a placeholder for the younger quarterbacks — Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. This was supposed to be about the time the Jets started thinking about moving to one of the young guns to see what they could do.
Instead, McCown has completed more than 70 percent of his passes, managed the games pretty well and become a respected voice in the locker room. He is not going anywhere unless he is injured. Petty and Hackenberg will have to wait.
McCown was asked Monday how he feels about where this team is.
“I believe the old saying, you are what your record says you are,” McCown said. “I will tell you this, we’re probably a little disappointed that we’re sitting here at 3-3, but at the same time, not discouraged. There’s been good moments and great opportunities to learn and grow, and like we said, I’ll keep saying it — with what we did toward the end of training camp and changing the roster as a young group offensively, we are improving every week in different areas and we feel good about that, so that’s the goal.
“Now the focus is onto Miami, so I would say that there’s been some positive things, we’re encouraged by what we’re doing and looking forward to continue to grow with this team.”