Jets losses weigh on Greg Van Roten more than your average football player.
The former Chaminade High School star grew up a diehard Jets fan. Van Roten’s dad has been a faithful Jets’ fan most of his life. Their 0-6 record cuts deeper for the 30-year-old Van Roten.
He said playing for the Jets was a dream come true. But this season has been a nightmare.
"As frustrated as the fans are and I understand that," Van Roten said, "but I’m way more frustrated than you are because this is a year of my playing life that is not going the way you want it to go."
The season went sideways very quickly. Now each week, it seems everyone is waiting for Adam Gase to be shown the door by Jets CEO Christopher Johnson.
But Van Roten and his teammates are trying to remain positive and putting in the work they hope will get that first win. The Jets host Buffalo on Sunday. At this point, being competitive would be a sign of progress.
The Jets’ six losses have been by an average of 18.3 points. They were outscored 54-10 in the last two, including Sunday’s shutout at Miami.
"You can get all caught up in the emotions of this game and outside noise and the fans," Van Roten said. "But no one cares more than the guys in the locker room. This is my job. I get paid to play football and I love this game.
"It’s incredibly frustrating when you lose a game. It’s even more frustrating when it’s not even close."
Van Roten, who still lives in Long Beach, signed a three-year, $10.5-million deal during free agency. He was a big piece of general manager Joe Douglas’ offensive line rebuild.
That, too hasn’t gone as hoped.
The Jets are having issues protecting their quarterback again. They wanted to take some shots down the field against the Dolphins, but Joe Flacco didn’t have that much time to throw the ball. The Jets started 0-for-12 on third downs and didn’t convert their first one until the fourth quarter.
"As a line, we were inconsistent," Van Roten said. "We got Flacco hit a bunch early and it’s hard for any quarterback to feel comfortable in the pocket if he’s getting hit or being pressured. In the run game we need to be better about who we’re going to and moving him off the ball once we get there."
Van Roten has had some struggles, but he’s shown improvement the last few weeks.
He was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated guard in Week 5 and has allowed one sack in 402 snaps. Van Roten is the only Jets lineman to play every snap.
Left tackle Mekhi Becton missed the last two games with a shoulder injury. There’s a chance he’ll return this week. But left guard Alex Lewis is dealing with multiple shoulder issues. He left Sunday’s game and could miss time.
"We’ll see what our lineup looks like this week and if we need to make adjustments protection-wise," Gase said. "One of the things that was just disappointing was we went with a lot of max protection, a lot of seven-man protections and had too much leakage."
Van Roten said there may need to be "more personal accountability across the board" on offense. But there is plenty of blame to be handed out for the Jets being in this position.
For Van Roten, his approach and attitude won’t change because of the Jets’ record.
"I get paid to play football and I love this game," he said. "You have a short window to do this as a professional athlete. My dad’s been a Jets fan for (many) years. Luckily, I’ve been able to play football for nine so far and I’d love to play for a few more.
"You have to find a way to play positive, block out that noise and just play a good game the next time you get to go out there, because eventually there’s not going to be a next time."
Notes and quotes: Linebacker Frankie Luvu was placed on IR. He suffered a groin injury on Sunday.