I know that may seems a strange headline, but I didn't know what else to call this without it sounding incredibly boring or just being too vague. Essentially this is a post celebrating all the little good things that have happened to the Jets this season.
While it's been all the bad things that have happened to us (the injury bug falling madly in love with us, for one example) have grabbed the headlines, but there have been a lot of smaller finds that have been great and may yield long term benefits. Let's take a look:
He's number one on this list with a bullet. With everything that's gone wrong it can be easy to forget the things that haven't. Like say the Right Tackle position that we were panicking about all offseason. Considering how much we hemmed and hawed and fretted over this position it's amazing that Austin Howard hasn't received much attention.
He came in as some unheralded scrub who we were fine with having because he filled the requirement of not being Wayne Hunter. And now he's proved himself to be a solid pro. It's one less hole we have to worry about. We have a young Right Tackle who should have the job for the foreseeable future. I wish I knew more about the intricacies of offensive line play so I could give him proper kudos, but maybe it's enough just to say my biggest worry going into the season was the offensive line because of Right Tackle and since the season started Right Tackle has been the least of my worries.
We have a Right Tackle, folks. Maybe one for years to come.
Big Vlad has rightfully been something of a punching bag around these parts. He's been flirting with and sometimes even branded with the label of Bust. But he actually seems to be rounding into form. He's been pretty great in the run game and his pass protection is improving.
This is great news because it means we didn't waste a 2nd round pick and with Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson both free agents next offseason and money tight we can slide him right in without jeopardizing the line's chemistry too much or having to use too many picks (or too much money) on guards. In fact, I'm willing to have him start over Slauson right now. I love Slauson's attitude and effort, but he just seems to have been outplayed by Vlad this year.
Never thought I'd say that.
So in addition to our young right tackle, we have a young guard. We use an early pick on a guard in the draft and we'll have line stability for some time, which will do wonders to getting us back to winning the battles in the trenches.
Again, the last second band-aid fix for a real problem ended up being a real solution. Malone's been punting the best I've seen out of a Jet in a while. Nearly everything we were worried about this offseason ended up working out. Either Mike T is much smarter than we give him credit for or I want him picking the numbers in my powerball ticket.
Our TEs are not exactly strong in the blocking department. And anyone who remembers Mike "I need a" Mulligan will know that sometimes finding a blocking TE is harder than it seems. Reuland has done pretty much everything we asked and he's blocked well.
It's a little early to consider this a win, but every time he's been in, I like what I've seen out of him.
Yea, not a random pick-up who turned into a surprise contributor, but someone who has risen above everything we've ever thought of him. With Revis out, Cromartie has taken on the role of shut down corner. As good as he's been in the past, something always seemed kinda weak about him. Not anymore. If he can keep this up and be the corner everyone always imagined he could be, then next season with Revis back will be something to see.
Kyle Wilson has done well too. I think people are too hard on him because of how spoiled we are having two top 10 corners in the same secondary. People act like every time a pass is completed to his guy, Wilson has screwed up or let us down, but sometimes people complete passes. We just aren't used to that ever occurring.
I also want to give honorable mentions to Bilal Powell, Garrett McIntyre, Kenrick Ellis, LaRon Landry, and Quinton Coples, who have all been really good, but not as big a surprise because of what they've shown in the past/training camp and preseason.
So there's been a lot of good surprises this year, which not only gives me hope going forward this year, but the next few years.