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Lessons the Jets can learn from 2023 playoff field to end their own drought

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

The 2022-23 playoff field is set and for the 12th straight season, the New York Jets will not partake in the stress and excitement that wild card weekend brings. 

New York did not entirely fail in their goals this season though. Even with dropping their last six contests, New York put up its highest win total in four seasons and got its first taste of competitive December football. 

The rest of the teams in the playoffs have much to teach the Jets. If New York learns these lessons in the 2023 offseason, they could very well end their playoff drought next season. 

Kansas City Chiefs – there is no substitute for a good play-caller

For the better part of the first half of the season, the Jets appeared to be hitting their stride with Mike LaFleur as the offensive coordinator. But after key players like Breece Hall were gone for the season, the Jets’ offense struggled with creativity and ultimately crumbled without a quarterback. 

There’s a lesson here that the Chiefs teach every team in the NFL: there is no better offensive mind than Andy Reid. His staff is also one of the most diverse and overwhelming in the entire league. 

Robert Saleh isn’t an offensive-minded head coach which means his picks for offensive coordinator will be under the limelight more than any other assistant. And it appears it may be time to find a new one. 

Buffalo Bills – a number one receiver does wonders for QB development

Before Stefon Diggs arrived in Buffalo, Josh Allen was seen as a young project that was capable of making jaw-dropping throws and mistakes that cost his team wins. 

Since the Diggs trade though, Allen has been a top-five quarterback in the NFL. It’s a lesson the Jets have already kind of learned but need to continue to emphasize. Garrett Wilson is on the path to becoming a #1 receiver but until he makes that jump, any quarterback that ends up playing for New York will need another top target to take a significant leap in production. 

Cincinnati Bengals – Free Agency Value is different than big splashes

The Cincinnati Bengals have completely rebuilt their team from the one-win debacle they were just three years ago. Many will point to the emergence of Joe Burrow as one of the best quarterbacks in football, but the real secret lies in the adjustments the front office has made. 

Cincinnati used free agent money to rebuild their offensive line and defense without breaking the bank for any of their top arrivals. The Jets have a history of swinging big in the offseason and it doesn’t usually work out. Getting value at key positions will be key to the Jets’ continued rebuilding project.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Tanking for Trevor was going to be worth it

The Jets can obviously say their big mistake was taking Zach Wilson in a loaded quarterback draft class. Their biggest mistake though was missing out on the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. 

It’s taken Lawrence two seasons to have the lowly Jaguars in the playoffs. If Lawrence was on the Jets this season, they probably win the AFC East – that’s how talented the roster is. 

Years will go by and the Jets’ ultimate failure was winning just enough games to not get Trevor Lawrence. 

Los Angeles Chargers – Quarterbacks matter

 Duh. You could learn this lesson throughout the AFC playoff field. None so teach that more than the LA Chargers. LA, like the Jets, had a ton of injuries to key offensive players throughout the regular season. Because they have a franchise quarterback though, they were able to move past those injuries and still put themselves in a position to make the playoffs. 

If New York can find their franchise quarterback this offseason, their entire future could be very different. 

Baltimore Ravens – Style Points don’t matter

The Ravens play an ugly brand of football even when Lamar Jackson is healthy. In the end, though, they are always competitive and a hard out in the AFC playoffs. That is an important lesson for the Jets to learn. Too many times this season people were worried about HOW the team was winning when all that mattered was that they were. 

How a team wins is irrelevant. Winning at any cost is the goal. If New York can hammer that thought process home, an improved quarterback room will help the Jets get back to the postseason. 

Miami Dolphins – Sneaking into the playoffs means just as much as dominating

The Dolphins are one of the ugliest teams that have entered the postseason in recent memory. There is no guarantee they will have their starter or backup in at quarterback, which means a third-string, practice-squad signal-caller is going to Buffalo to try and win. 

But whether Miami gets blown out or keeps it close is irrelevant. The Jets haven’t been to the playoffs in over a decade – how they get in is irrelevant. Getting in the dance and seeing how far you can go is the ultimate goal for teams that haven’t been there in a while.

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