Our readers’ and writers’ contributions to this site are a major reason why Gang Green Nation is the best Jets blog in the history of Jets blogs. No contribution, big or small, should go unnoticed. That’s why we’ll highlight some of the best comments and FanPosts on a weekly basis.
Without further ado, I bring to you, Gang Green Nation’s Highlight Reel for the past week:
On the Sheldon Rankins signing:
It means you shouldn’t have to worry about the Jets drafting a defensive lineman in the first round this year.
On the QB situation:
I feel like some fans must want us to remain crappy.
Every year we watch teams like Green Bay, Seattle, Pittsburgh (for years), New England (for years), Kansas City, New Orleans make the playoffs with elite QB play and we go full “we don’t need elite QB play, we can go back to 2009-2010”. Why is it that some don’t understand that elite defenses only last 2-3 years before eventually crumbling down due to age, injury or players leaving in free agency. You can’t realistically expect the team to rebuild an elite defense every 2-3 years, this just doesn’t happen. Point me towards a team that makes the playoffs 70% or more of the time without at least good QB play and I’ll get on board with a trade down option. Heck, point towards a team that makes the playoffs even ONCE with a QB that is 32nd or lower like Darnold and I might change my mind. It’s just insane to watch the 2021 NFL and come away with the impression that you DON’T need elite QB play. Tom Brady literally went to a 7-9 team and took them to the Super Bowl. You know who also went 7-9 in 2019? That’s right.
I don’t think that’s up for debate. The debate is if Darnold can be a legitimate plus starting QB or not. Trading down actually gives the Jets and Darnold the chance to make it happen. The team has been a dumpster fire around him the past 3 years. It’s absolutely possible he can put it together now that he finally has good WRs and a competent coaching staff, plus whatever we can draft to further improve the offense if we trade down. And if he can’t, next year we might have 3 1st round picks (if we trade down from 2 this year) and can go get a franchise QB, knowing once and for all that Sam isn’t the guy. Personally, I’m on the fence about drafting a QB or trading down. I still think Sam can be the guy.
My 2 cents: I will concede that Darnold has had little to no help on the roster in his three seasons here IF his supporters will concede that he has done little to nothing to demonstrate he can ever be a top 15 quarterback. Let’s move on from these competing narratives.
-Fields of Gold
So let’s end this boring debate of Fields vs Wilson. The best thing the Jets can do as a franchise is keep pumping up the value of the #2 overall pick. Then trade it to the Panthers. Jets give up #2, get the Panthers 1st and second 2021, 1st and 3rd in 2020, and 1st in 2023. That gives the Jets 2 first round picks this year with 2 second round picks, 3 first round picks and 2 third round picks in 2022, and 2 first round picks in 2023. If you cannot build a competent team with all those picks and all the room in the world in free agency, JD and Saleh need to go by the end of 2023. Then next year, the Jets can draft Sam Howell and finally have a team that would support a franchise QB.
-The Ultimate Stapler
On what makes an elite QB:
IMO, there are three critical skills that an NFL QB needs to be elite:
1. An advanced ability to read defenses and anticipate where to place the ball. This is the single hardest skill to scout and predict. At best, you can rule out certain guys who can’t even break down college defenses. But even guys who can surgically dismantle a college defense may fail when the speed and complexity increase in the NFL. Breaking news: Neither Fields nor Wilson have demonstrated this ability simply because no college QB ever faces the sophisticated defensive schemes that they will face in the NFL. But there is no reason to immediately dismiss either QB. 2. A highly accurate arm, and ability to slot throws into tight windows. It doesn’t matter if you know where to go with the ball if you can’t consistently place it exactly where you want it to go. You can debate Fields and Wilson all day long but, imo, both guys check this box and there is no way to really know who will be better in the NFL. 3. A highly competitive spirit What do we know about the truly great QBs in the NFL? They are assassins who will do whatever it takes to win. From Elway to Brady to Russell Wilson to Aaron Rodgers, these guys will never quit and you never want to see them on the other side of the ball in the 4th quarter. (FWIW, I actually think that Joe Flacco is an incredible competitor who simply lacks the raw talent to match the above QBs). On the flip side, there are many talented QBs who have failed to truly excel in the NFL because they just don’t have the passion and leadership ability. From Jeff George to Carson Palmer to Jay Cutler. IMO, Fields has proven that he has that competitive fire. The combination of focus and drive necessary to win in a big spot. Does Zach Wilson have it? Maybe. I don’t know. He certainly has the confidence. Although, it is hard to tell whether it is the confidence of Aaron Rodgers. Or the confidence of Johnny Football. Overall, I have to give Fields the edge.
On Justin Fields’ Pro Day:
Fields had a better day than Wilson did.
Zach clearly had nerves and was missing easy throws left and right. All those intermediate throws he made were high and a struggled hitting them. That said, Wilson put on a show with the deep balls, and that’s what you’re getting with him. Fields didn’t miss much of anything. He had 1 bad throw where he overthrew a WR on a deep crosser. There were a few underthrown deep balls early, but once he got in a rhythm that was over. Then he also put on a show with his deep balls to match Wilson. All that said, I don’t think it matters. Interviews are the much bigger deal. These coaches and executives want to know everything about these kids and that’s why they’re at these things.
On Justin Fields:
Why it’s Fields for me
1. Pedigree/Resume - Fields has been penciled in as a top 3 draft pick since he was a senior in high school. Despite that ludicrous concept he has somehow still managed to impress and exceed expectations with his play at every step along his path to the NFL. Almost won the Heisman his FIRST year operating a new offense. Shined brighter than Lawrence in a heads up matchup. Improved his perceived weaknesses (pocket presence, processing speed) a ton going from 2019 to the 2020 season. Contrast this with the meteoric “out of nowhere” rise that Wilson has experienced and it is concerning. 1 year wonder during a pandemic ravaged season is an eyebrow raiser. There is just no way u can objectively state that Wilson has put together a more impressive resume than Fields. And I don’t even say that as a knock on Wilson because Fields has one of the most impressive resumes of any QB to enter the draft in the past 5 years 2. Skillset - the year is 2021 and having a QB capable of rushing for 100 yards and 2tds on any given Sunday is paramount. Outside of Rodgers/Brady (aka literal grandpas) look at the elite guys around the league, Patty/Wilson/Watson/Allen/Lamar/Dak etc. Even reading some quotes from Kyle shanahan he admits he is done employing QBs without that running ability moving forward. It simply makes the offense harder to defend and increases the upside on every single snap of the ball. 3. Performance under pressure - this is THE difference maker for my evaluation. Fields was simply elite while pressured at OSU, and he was pressured OFTEN throughout both seasons as a starter. Big time throws while getting walloped, evading free rushers and firing dimes or taking off for 20 yard runs. There are countless examples of the defense “winning” the rep against fields and still giving up first downs or touchdowns left and right. That is the ability that all elite QBs have in today’s NFL. They can stare down a perfectly called defense and still produce positive plays on offense. Wilson on the other hand has very few impressive plays in the face of pressure. He was pressured the LEAST out of the top QBs in this draft and took very few big time hits throughout the year. I cannot find examples of a play crumbling around Wilson and him “putting the team on his back”. This is an essential trait for a QB to be drafted at #2 overall (and more specifically essential for a QB entering the environment that will be the 2021 Jets offense.) Any decent QB can have a great game when the offense as a whole is rolling, the best of the best are still unstoppable when missing a couple OL or a #1WR on any given week. All of this is what makes Fields the clear cut #2 prospect for me. There are just very few holes in his game. It is so easy to see him as the next DeShaun or Dak level QB to enter the league (in fact it’s incredibly likely given his history.) I still see the talent with Wilson and I understand why he gets people excited but I have trouble rationalizing how he could be a success story for our Jets. League average OL at best, no true #1WR, no established infrastructure in place etc. SF is a great situation for him to sit and learn and be surrounded by one of the best offenses in football. Fields is the guy who has been transcendent and dilute at every level of his career regardless of situation. That is the guy out Jets need to trim the franchise around.
On the nature of the offseason:
The 2021 offseason evolution of a Jets fan:
Phase 1 - I want Justin Fields. Period. Phase 2 - We need to trade for Deshaun! Phase 3 - Hmmmm, maybe I actually want Zack Wilson! Phase 4 - Why the hell didn’t we take those three first rounders for the number 2 pick and just roll with Sam and have 7 first rounders over the next 3 years. Phase 5 - Damn, did you see Wilson’s pro day? Maybe he’s the guy. Phase 6 - Damn, did you see Fields’ pro day? Maybe he’s the guy. Phase 7 - roger: “with the 2nd pick in the 2021 draft, the New York Jets select ...” Me: “I knew that was going to be the guy all along! That’s the guy I really wanted! I never had any doubts!!”
this is me except because i’m a pessimistic Jets fan let’s add in
Phase 8 - The Jets 2021 First round draft pick is a bust they should have went with who the 49ers picked, that guy is a stud! Phase 9 - I always wanted the guy who the 49ers picked.. i can’t believe we picked this kid.
So there you have it, Gang Green Nation’s Highlight Reel. Want to be featured next week? Just keep doing what you do, and more importantly, keep being who you are—after all, YOU’RE what makes Gang Green Nation so great!
Which is the more exciting part of the offseason?
This poll is closed