As reporter or fan what’s proper way to analyze this?

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As Herman Edwards

famously said, “You play to win the game.”

I was fortunate to be able to witness that in the Jets’ press room in October of 2002.

It’s so simple, yet so true.

Fast forward to October 2021, and the 1-4 Jets.

What exactly are they looking to accomplish in the 2021 season? Develop their rookie QB on the job, or do everything they can to win every Sunday?

It’s hard to have it both ways.

Robert Saleh said earlier this week, “It’s not easy being a rookie quarterback, it never will be. It never has, it never will be. I’ll just throw a guy out there, Josh Allen, who everyone wanted to throw away after his first two years. His first five games of his rookie year are damn near identical to what our young kid is going through.”

So based on that, as a reporter, am I supposed to grade the 2021 Jets on a curve because they are starting a rookie quarterback, and the job is hard, and Josh Allen struggled also?

I’m not looking to give Saleh a hard time on this. He’s not alone in taking the approach of letting a kid QB learn on the job. He has had plenty of company this year and in the past.

But I’m just wondering how I’m supposed to approach this as a beat reporter. Am supposed to cut Saleh and the Jets slack, because as he puts it, “It’s a rollercoaster ride” with a rookie QB.

“I know it can be frustrating sometimes when we’re looking at some of these things it’s like, ‘God, he should be making these throws.’ It’s going to start clicking. Like I said, it’s a rollercoaster ride. You’re going to take the good with the good, the bad with the bad, but find ways to get better, and he will,” Saleh said.

He probably will, but until he does, am I supposed to not be too critical of the QB and the team because we are supposed to take “the good with the good and the bad with the bad?”

A reporter asked Wilson if he met his expectations so far? Seriously.

“Obviously, my expectation for myself is to do better than this,” Wilson said. “My expectation for the team is to have won every single game, just because I know that we can, and I know that we have the ability to do that. But we also know that this is a process, and just like you said, we’re getting better each and every week.”

So you can understand the confusion this narrative can cause for a reporter or fan.

As Wilson said their expectations are “to have won every game.”

And Saleh and his staff work endless hours, burning the midnight oil, preparing their team to win every week.

Yet, they are starting a rookie QB a few months removed from playing Texas State and North Alabama, along with other rookies, and a lot of very young players.

So should reporters and fans criticize them for their sloppy play and 1-4 start?

As far as I’m concerned yes.

Because as Edwards said, “You play to win to win the game.”

Which players you chose to play, and how young they are, that’s your issue, not mine.

October 13, 2021

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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