Fiery and forthcoming special teams coach Brant Boyer believes the Jets will become a very dangerous team after the front office puts all of its resources into building around Sam Darnold, Jamal Adams and Leonard Williams.
Who will be picking those players and coaching them? That remains to be seen. Only three games remain in another disappointing season, but Boyer says there shouldn’t be too many more rough ones in the near future.
“This team has a lot of young players that have a lot of talent,” he said. “I think you got a pretty young nucleus of guys, and that’s what it’s going to take. Whatever they do this offseason, I think it’s going to be a heck of a deal to get some more players in here.
“This is a group that you’re not going to want to play once you get some free agents in here. I wouldn’t want to play us now because we’re dangerous enough to beat you every week. I think that with a big offseason, this young quarterback is going to grow, everybody is going to get better. This is going to be a heck of a team in a year or two.”
Jets fans have heard this before, but this will be one of the most crucial offseasons in franchise history. The Jets should have about $100 million available in free agency, with edge rusher, skill players and offensive line help the most glaring needs.
Darnold’s development continues to be paramount to the Jets’ chances of becoming a team that not only ends its playoff drought — which is at eight years — but also turns into a perennial contender.
Darnold took another step last week, leading the Jets to a comeback victory in Buffalo. But the competition takes a giant leap forward from here.
The Jets (4-9) will square off against the Texans (9-4) on Saturday at MetLife Stadium, which means Darnold could feel J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus breathing down his neck early and often. But every experience is important for the 21-year-old rookie. He’s not focused on the Jets’ record, only on getting better and helping his team win.
The Jets snapped a six-game losing streak last week, but they’re still looking for their first home win since Oct. 14. They’ve dropped three in a row at home.
Darnold showed some toughness this past Sunday by playing through pain in his foot — after missing the previous three games with a foot issue — and some mettle by leading the Jets to the 27-23 win after a bad decision.
He forced a pass and threw an interception when the Jets were down a touchdown and in Buffalo territory\. The next time he got the football, though, he led an 85-yard touchdown drive, capped by his scrambling pass on the run to Robby Anderson for the fourth-quarter score.
A few series later, Darnold marched the Jets down the field for the winning touchdown, a 1-yard run on fourth down by Elijah McGuire with 1:17 to go.
“We can’t have turnovers down there at the end of the field and give up points,” coach Todd Bowles said. “But he came back and made some plays. That didn’t faze him. That was good to see from a poise standpoint.”
Darnold has shown that before. His first NFL pass was intercepted and returned for a pick-6 in Detroit. Darnold led the Jets on a scoring drive on their next series, though, and they ultimately beat the Lions.
That maturity and unflappable aspect of his personality — along with Darnold’s obvious skills — have the Jets optimistic about what he and they can become.
“He’s so into it,” offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said. “He doesn’t get real high, doesn’t get real low. He just takes every moment as a learning moment, both good and bad. It’s just another moment he’s going to take for the rest of his career, for the rest of his life and use it as a teaching experience.”