Even from 3,500 miles away you can feel it.
Whether it’s the positivity that radiates from Coach Robert Salah’s every interview, the multitudes of fist pumps from GM Joe Douglas during the draft or the influx of new faces and much needed talent on this roster, the vibe around the 2021 New York Jets just feels…different. This is an exciting time to be Jets fan.
Now, I can imagine the collective rolling of eyeballs among some Jets and NFL fans reading this. We’ve heard it all before over the last ten years from a success starved fanbase. I was on the Todd Bowles train back in 2015 and then I went out and bought the Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold jerseys, only to come crashing down to earth when things imploded once again. For the record, I’m currently debating my latest Jet jersey purchase in the hope the jinx ends!
No games are won in May and we’ll only see what this new team and coaching staff are really made of come September. But the signs are that the misery of the Adam Gase era is already a distant memory and a much needed fresh start has well and truly begun.
Over the past few weeks, one thing that has really stood out to me is how new quarterback Zach Wilson seems to be taking his position as the face of the franchise in his stride and is building some chemistry with his new team mates. Not least at a recent Islanders game with the mullet legend Dan Feeney…
Wilson is staying close to the Florham Park facility with a number of fellow rookies and clearly is looking to generate a close bond with those around him, from linemen to receivers.
Pre-draft, there were a number of ‘questions’ surfaced about Wilson’s ability to lead, mainly centred around the fact that he wasn’t initially named as one of the eight BYU captains for the 2020 season (questions swiftly answered by his team-mates and coaches).
The fact is that Wilson entered 2020 off the back of an injury hit 2019 season and as a result was part of a quarterback competition at BYU. Wilson’s coaches said this competition was something he responded to perfectly and obviously Wilson relished the challenge, not only winning the job but going on to have an incredible season that propelled him up the draft charts to the Jets at number 2.
Playing quarterback in the NFL is about more than throwing touchdowns. You have to lead that locker room and earn respect from team-mates who’s futures are inherently tied to your own success and resilience. The early signs are that Wilson, under the glare of the nation’s biggest media market, is taking all that comes with that in his stride.