Dear Jets fans,
I know the past few months have sucked for you. (Yes, the better part of the past 50 years have stunk, I get it.)
But the past few months have really stunk.
Your team has played two games and been noncompetitive in both.
Now the Jets play at defensively stingy Indianapolis on Sunday in a game exactly zero people outside of the team’s Florham Park, N.J., training facility believe they have a chance to win.
It’s difficult to say where this malaise all began (some cynics would say when coach Adam Gase was hired in 2019, some might say when Leon Hess first bought the team and some believe the Joe Namath Super Bowl guarantee was part of a deal with the devil).
But the more recent set of headaches began when the player who thought he was the best player, safety Jamal Adams, petulantly whined his way out of town, forcing a trade to Seattle, where he already has 21 tackles and two sacks this season.
Then linebacker C.J. Mosley — who you’ve gotten to watch play for about 10 minutes since he was signed and was inarguably the team’s best defensive player once Adams was gone — opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns.
Then Denzel Mims, your second-round draft pick who was supposed to add punch to a punch-less receiving corps, didn’t even make it to the first full practice of training camp before hurting a hamstring, and he’s now on injured reserve. Who knows when he’ll be able to play, and when he does, how far behind he’ll be?
Jamison Crowder, a slot receiver by trade (but your No. 1 receiver because the position of need wasn’t properly addressed in the offseason), also is out with a hamstring injury.
Breshan Perriman, who was supposed to become the No. 1 receiver, lasted only a game before suffering an ankle injury in Week 2, and he’s probably out for the next two games.
Meanwhile, Robby Anderson, the receiver Jets management opted not to re-sign for modest money in the offseason, is flourishing with the Panthers, having caught 15 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown in his first two games. Think the Jets would pay him that $10 million he wanted now?
Running back Le’Veon Bell, who came into camp in all-world shape (he showed us so with a series of Instagram videos during the offseason) in an effort to erase the worst season of his career in 2019, is on injured reserve with (you guessed it) a hamstring injury.
Three seasons into his career as the third-overall pick in the 2018 draft, you still don’t know if Sam Darnold is a franchise quarterback.
Meanwhile, Darnold’s contemporary and close friend, Bills quarterback Josh Allen (who was drafted four spots after Darnold), has looked dynamic while completing 70.4 percent of his passes and throwing six touchdowns and no interceptions through two games this season.
Though your team has been eviscerated for not showing up in these past two games, your stadium co-tenants (who like the Jets are 0-2) are being universally praised for playing hard for their rookie head coach, Joe Judge, and for merely being competitive in their losses.
You blame Gase, and rightfully so, because he was brought here for his alleged ability to develop quarterbacks.
Then you had to listen to team owner Christopher Johnson, after the Week 1 walkover loss to the Bills, say he has “full confidence in Adam.’’
You detest your head coach so much that there’s an online “Fire Adam Gase’’ petition begging for signatures. There, too, was supposed to a “Fire Gase’’ rally outside the team facility the other day, though about five people showed up.
Your general manager, Joe Douglas, appears to be building this team for the future when Darnold’s time is now. The Jets’ continual rebuild resembles a hamster on a wheel — it never stops and there’s no destination.
You can’t even show up at the home games and boo, express your outrage, because COVID-19 restrictions prevent any fans at the stadium.
The TV ratings for the Jets game against the 49ers last week was overnight-infomercial low.
Apathy is setting in. And that’s rock-bottom. Apathy is more alarming and insulting than the noncompetitive play on the field.
I have no answers for you, not even a trite “hang-in-there-it’s-bound-to-get better’’ cliché.
This season will be 10 consecutive years without a playoff berth, and that’s unacceptable.
I have only sympathy.
But do try to hang in there, because after all, how much worse can it get?
Wait. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Never mind. Rich Kotite is on Line 2.