The Jets are one of the youngest teams in the NFL and it shows every time they step onto the field.
One week, New York seems to be making great strides in the right direction. The next day, it looks like he could be defeated by an intermediate college football schedule. All of this can be attributed to his youth and inexperience.
It doesn’t show in the results yet – the Jets are 2-8 after losing to the Dolphins – but Robert Saleh is happy with the progress the young talent from Gang Green has made. With the way some of his rookies have played lately, that shouldn’t come as such a surprise.
“We still have a lot of faith. We always think of our quarterback [Zach Wilson] is going to be special ”, Saleh noted. “[Alijah Vera-Tucker] gets better every week. Elijah Moore, his play speaks for itself. Michael Carter, his play speaks for itself. The nickel Michael Carter, his piece speaks for itself. [Brandin] Echols had done a good job before getting injured.
Moore stole the show against Miami, catching eight passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Carter rushed for seven yards per carry before injuring his ankle in the third quarter, while Vera-Tucker dominated in the trenches and cleared plenty of holes for him to get through.
Carter, Moore and Vera-Tucker weren’t just the Jets’ top three rookies this season. They were their three best offensive players. Wilson showed a few flashes of potential – albeit inconsistently – before spraining the PCL and may join this conversation soon.
As for Carter II and Echols, they were about as reliable as the Jets could have hoped for two rookie defensive backs. There were a few bumps along the way – Stefon Diggs torched Echols in Week 10 – but both showed enough to establish themselves as building blocks in the secondary.
Also, don’t forget the New York Rookie Class of 2020. Bryce Hall is starting to look more and more like the dominant cornerback he was before suffering a catastrophic injury at the University of Virginia, while Bryce Huff has shown flashes as a passer.
“Bryce Huff, we’re really excited to get him back,” Saleh said. “Bryce Hall did a good job at the corner. [Javelin] Guidry stepped in and did a good job. Ashtyn Davis had an interception today. There were a lot of first and second year players doing a lot of good things. “
The Jets have a young core they think they can build on. Now it’s time for Joe Douglas to surround this core of the right group of veterans. Young New Yorkers can give Saleh tantrums from time to time, but he’s been around the neighborhood enough to understand the beauty of the maturing process.
“Are there some frustrating moments? Of course there are, ”Saleh said. “But at the same time, they’re scars and they’re learning. I’ve said it a million times, first you have to learn not to lose. Once you’ve learned not to lose, you know how to win, and once you’ve learned how to win, you must learn to close the game. Today was clearly one of those learning times about how not to lose.