Hope. A word that has become a paradox for Jets fans. In one aspect, at the beginning of every NFL team’s season we all have hope. However, unless you’ve been delusional or maybe even high, the Jets haven’t sniffed any real hope in almost a decade. The last 12 years of Jets fandom is like Andy Dufresne’s time in Shawshank. It’s not been good. Sure, maybe you’ve made some friends along the way, looking at you SunGawd, but really there hasn’t been much to love or hope for in the last 12 years.
I know I sound like Red, speaking of Shawshank, talking about how hope is a dangerous thing, but for the first time in a long time the Jets are giving people hope. Real hope. Let’s look at some of the things that have happened since Adam Gase was sent packing:
THEY FINALLY CHANGED THE REPORTING STRUCTURE AND ARE ACTING LIKE AN NFL TEAM WITH A COACH REPORTING TO A GM AND NOT TO THE OWNER.
To any fan of a well-functioning franchise this seems obvious, but it’s something that pre-Joe Douglas, fans did not have. I never understood how in spite of all the “LOLJets” takes and the Trey Wingo’s of the world cowardly making snarky jokes on Twitter, they always left out the weirdest Jetsiest Jet thing of them all. For the longest time, Woody Johnson had a coach report to him and a General Manager report to him separately. I’m not here to relitigate the past, but that is truly baffling and the first step in the right direction, the first step to HOPE, began here ending that ridiculous structure.
Joe Douglas hired the person that seems to be the right guy, at least in the present moment. Robert Saleh was a top assistant coach in the league last offseason. However, the Jets had hired top assistants before. Again, despite the narrative in the media, the Jets usually landed a top name on the coaching market. The pairings just never really worked, Bowels and Maccagnan were the most recent version of this. However, this time? This time feels different. Saleh and Douglas seem to work well together. The drafts seem fairly evident of that. In fact, the biggest contention between the two seems to fall on a player that was drafted before the Saleh era. There was an article that came out before the draft from (citation here, I honestly can’t find it) that detailed how the coaching staff and the front office including the scouting department got together and outlined what they wanted and needed in players. This is what well-functioning-and dare I say high functioning-franchises do!!
That story alone was enough to light the embers of hope in any Jets fan’s soul. Listen, it’s basically been SEVEN years of no expectations for the Jets. The bar was so low, it was in hell. Jets Twitter as a whole was just asking not to get embarrassed week in and week out. There are realistic expectations this year. This could be and should be a FUN team to watch this year! Forget records, forget highlight plays, when was the last time this team was fun? 2011 Sanchez? Probably, yeah. For that reason alone, the fact that with LaFleur, Wilson, Hall, Moore, Davis, G. Wilson we think we can have fun? That alone is enough of a reason to feel that thing that has been missing from this fanbase for a long, long time: Hope.