Zach Wilson Can Help Jets Fans Forget Tortured History

By Jason Klein 

Prove them right, Zach.

Please!  For the sake of all Jets fans.  For my personal well-being.

Just prove the Jets right.

I’ve seen the wristband and the wall in your parents’ living room.  I know you wake up every day looking to “Prove Them Wrong.”  I respect it.  I appreciate it.  Now go spend the next decade proving them right, instead.

Jets Fans Need Zach Wilson To Prove Them Right.

Start on Sunday.

Show the football world why the Jets selected you with the second overall pick in the draft.  They traded Sam Darnold to clear your path down Zachs Fifth Avenue.  They chose to build around you rather than doubling down on Sam.  Validate that decision.

I’m begging you.

Us Jets fans need things to work out this time.  Our team has rarely gotten it right.  Ken O’Brien had moments, Browning Nagle never did.  Boomer Esiason and Neil O’Donnell had big names but little success.  Vinny Testaverde got close.  Chad Pennington got hurt.  Mark Sanchez got Tebow’d.  Geno Smith got punched.  Darnold got Gase’d. 

Things never seem to work out for us.  It’s been 52 years since Super Bowl III.  We’re tired of rooting for the same old nonsense.  But you, Mr. Wilson, can change the narrative.  Please, take us Zach to the Future.  Help us forget our past.

We don’t want to think about fake spikes or butt fumbles.  We’re done with shovel passes, seeing ghosts and Snoopy Bowl suffering.  Pull the plug on Heidi Games, burner accounts and mononucleosis.  

We don’t want to hear about Mark Gastineau’s personal foul in Cleveland or Leon Johnson’s halfback option pass in Detroit.  We’re done talking about Peyton Manning staying in school and the HC of the NYJ haphazardly scribbling on a napkin.  We’re sick of the Idzik 12, foot fetishes, and “brilliant offensive minds.”

No more Vernon Gholston, Blair Thomas, Dee Milliner and Johnny “Lam” Jones.  We never want to hear about Lou Holtz, Rich Kotite or Adam Gase again.

We want to give Joe Namath’s interview with Suzy Kolber a big kiss goodbye.  

We’ve unfollowed Jamal Adams and Le’Veon Bell on social media.  We’re tired of hearing that our head coach thinks he’s “rich as f*ck,” or that our owner “hopes this team actually shows up.” No more rooting against our own team in hopes of securing the first pick in the draft.

We’ve tripped over our own logo in the end zone for the last time.  No more firing General Managers AFTER they run our drafts.  Put away the Pick 6’s, PSLs and advice from Peyton Manning.

We want to forget about Brett Favre’s torn biceps, Chad’s torn shoulder and Vinny’s torn Achilles.  Give the hook to I.K. Enemkpali’s right hook.  We’re done living in Tom Brady’s shadow.

Enough googly-eyed press conference memes.  No more Cover Zero Blitzes.  We can’t take any more planes flying over practice or 1-15 seasons. Oh, and Woody, you most certainly CAN have too much Tebow.

Please, Zach.  We’re pleading with you.  End this endless string of ineptitude for us.  No more Mud Bowls.  Only Super Bowls.  Take the chip on your shoulder and go get a chip for that trophy case in Florham Park.  We don’t expect it to happen overnight, but a Lombardi will prove them right, one day, for sure.

It won’t be easy.  You’re about to go all gas, no brake with an organization that’s mostly been stuck in reverse.  We believe in you, though.  We’ve heard the hype.  We’ve watched the tape.  We’ve listened to all the experts and analysts and coaches who have gushed over your arm talent, praised your work ethic and admired your leadership qualities.

We think you’re the one to lift us from the green and white abyss.  We trust you’re the pilot to finally help us take flight.

We need things to work out.  This time has to be different.

Please, Zach.  For the sake of all Jets fans.  For my personal well-being.

Prove us right.

Sam Darnold Gave Me Hope. The Jets Gave Him None.

By Jason Klein

Sam Darnold deserved better.

We all did.

I was inside MetLife Stadium when he was drafted.  The Jets were about to secure their long-coveted franchise quarterback and I needed to be there the moment it happened.

I watched the screen in the corner of the end zone, with my dad, as Sam put that crisp draft day Jets hat on for the first time. We finally had “our guy!”  He was instantly the most promising quarterback prospect the team had selected since Joe Namath. I was giddy just thinking about all the possibilities…and…this was only the beginning!

That night, Sam gave me something I rarely have as a Jets fan.

That night, Sam gave me hope.  

Unfortunately, the Jets never gave Sam any in return.

Darnold Was Never Given Tools To Succeed in NY.

On Monday, the New York Jets traded Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, without ever giving him the proper tools to Take Flight.

They failed Darnold in every way imaginable. 

Long before any pandemic, Jets personnel should have been wearing masks while they robbed Sam of his opportunity in New York.

The organization had a responsibility to give their young quarterback everything he needed to win while still on his rookie contract. Instead, they gave him nothing.  They surrounded him with a shoddy supporting cast and never built an offensive line to protect their most valuable asset. They never even thought to hire an accomplished coordinator or QB coach to cultivate his unique talents and help him reach his potential. 

Their most damning decision was to hire an historically incompetent head coach to be Sam’s “Quarterback Whisperer.” Adam Gase was never the right coach to entrust the most critical years of Darnold’s development to.  He could never “coach football to where it was going.”  He was a football charlatan with a toxic personality and an archaic offensive scheme.

Everyone knew it from the day he was hired. Everyone saw it. Players, media, fans, opponents…everyone knew. That is, everyone except the one man on the planet who had the authority to make this decision: acting owner, Christopher Johnson.

Everyone Knew What Darnold Needed…Except The Jets

At times, it felt as if Johnson sat around and purposely hatched a plan to systematically stunt Sam’s growth. 

To be fair, Darnold didn’t do anything to help himself out.  His completion percentage was always too low and his interception totals were always too high.  On the field, he made plenty of bad decisions.  It’s just that his team’s decisions were always far worse.

The way the Jets failed to support their young QB was nothing short of football malpractice.  No QB in the league could have succeeded in the cesspool Darnold was stuck in.  

Other teams like the Bills, Browns and Ravens invested heavily in the pieces around their young stud QBs. As a result, Josh AllenBaker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson are all thriving members of the same QB class of 2018.  The Jets were negligent with Darnold from day one, and watched his window of opportunity close without ever getting a proper chance to see what kind of player he could be.

Through it all, the classy Darnold never pointed fingers.  He blindly defended Gase and always supported the organization’s position.  He consistently took the high road, even when he should have put his car in reverse.  He never made excuses, but he had plenty of them.

There was his nagging sprained foot in 2018, his Mono diagnosis in 2019 and busted shoulder early in 2020.  There’s no telling how any of these setbacks impacted his play because, well, he would never be caught telling anyone about them.  A true leader, Darnold shouldered all the blame instead.

Monday’s trade ends months of speculation.  Still only 23 years-old, and now fully healthy, Sam escapes New York and gets to work with a roster more talented than anything he ever had with the Jets. He’ll finally get his shot to work with elite offensive weapons like Christian McCaffreyDJ Moore and old buddy Robby Anderson.  He’ll have Head Coach Matt Rhule on his sideline and a true offensive guru, Joe Brady, in his ear.   

The Jets Will Likely Select BYU QB, Zach Wilson #2 Overall

Meanwhile, the Jets are certain to use the #2 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft to take Sam’s successor – likely Zach Wilson of BYU.

Wilson is young, gifted and exciting.  He is incredibly accurate and has all-world arm talent.  He is also a perfect fit for the new west coast offensive Matt Lafleur will run under Head Coach, Robert Saleh.

Should Wilson be the pick, his arrival would give me something I rarely have as a Jets fan.  

Zach would give me hope. 

For his sake, the Jets must handle the critical early years of his development much differently than they did Darnold’s.

After all, Wilson deserves better.

We all do.