As the Jets enter the final stretch of the 2021 season, the focus has clearly shifted to 2022 and which players from this year’s team will be part of next year’s squad.
At 3-9, these Jets are going nowhere. But head coach Robert Saleh spoke several times this week about his long-term vision for success and how important this period of time is in laying the foundation for that. The next step is a matchup against the Saints (5-7) at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
“The clouds are clearing with regards to the exact direction this organization needs to go in the offseason to get itself into a position to be in contention year-in and year-out,” Saleh said. “It’s crystal clear, and these next five weeks are really to solidify that in terms of the players that are here and the players that we’re developing, the veterans that are establishing leadership and that combination of everybody, the scheme, coaches. So, it’s all coming together and so the more people get opportunities to put stuff on tape, the better.”
Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is coming off his best game of the season and priority No. 1 is developing him, so another strong outing would be an encouraging development. The Saints have lost five in a row since starting quarterback Jameis Winston tore his left ACL. Taysom Hill will be making his second start of the season, but is playing with a splint on the middle finger of his throwing hand after injuring the finger last week.
The Saints have the type of organization the Jets aspire to be. They have made the playoffs for four straight years, but are now trying to adjust to life without star quarterback Drew Brees, who retired after last season.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley spoke about the Jets’ quest for respect after last week’s loss to the Eagles. Saleh backed up Mosley, but said he believes they are on the right track.
“This organization has been through a rough time over the last 10 years and it’s not something that’s easy to fix, it’s not easy to change a narrative, it’s not easy to change perception,” Saleh said. “C.J. is 100 percent right, I got his back on that one. We’re going to get this thing flipped and we’re going to change the narrative and we’re going to earn the respect that we deserve. While it might be frustrating now, I know there’s something good happening and it’s going to happen.”