The New York Jets have to be one of the most unpredictable franchises in the NFL this season. Despite the fact that we have only reached the halfway mark of the season, we have seen the best and the worst of the Jets.
But when the dust settles and the smoke clears, the Jets are in a three-way tie for the lead in the AFC East with a 5-3 record.
So, who rightfully deserves the credit for this success?
Now there is no doubt that football is the quintessential team game. In no other sport are you forced to rely on your teammates as much as you are in football. But when a team sits at 5-3 after only winning four games the previous year, someone has obviously had some impact on the team.
Of course, the most notable name is obviously Brett Favre.
While he has not had his best season there is no doubt that his impact on the locker room and practices are priceless. Anytime you can have a guy like Favre talking to your younger players and molding them into game-time competitors on the field, you can rest assured that improvements are well on their way.
Favre, in my opinion, is an obvious choice but my goal in this piece is to give credit to players who really haven't been praised enough for their vast contributions.
The following is a list of players who Jets fans can thank for a much improved seasonal standing this year. They are not listed in random order and I am not making an effort to try and give more merit to any one player.
1. Darrelle Revis
In only his second year out of college, it cannot be denied that this guy's ability to play corner is phenomenal. We are watching a superstar develop before our eyes.
His big play ability and nose for the football is almost as intense as his will to win games and make big plays. His game ending interceptions in both divisional victories for the Jets against the Bills and Dolphins illustrate this the best.
2. Leon Washington
If you don't get goosebumps when this guy touches the ball then check your pulse. He has—hands down—the most big play ability on the team.
Between his extreme talent on special teams coupled with his agility and speed, Washington is one of the most consistent threats week in and week out.
3. Kris Jenkins
The acquisition of this defensive lineman has to be one of the best moves the Jets have made in a long time—especially considering the disappointing results from Dewayne Robertson.
Jenkins anchors a 3-4 defense that struggled only one season ago, but now has them placed as a top five rushing defense. Only giving up 30 rushing yards to the Bills was one of the major factors in winning that game, and we owe a lot of that to our star defensive tackle.
4. Dwight Lowery
Here's another CB the Jets can take to the bank. He is only in his rookie year but making plays that many veterans can't make.
He may not have the most shiny stat sheet but take nothing away from the man. If the ball is in his arms length, you can bet the house that he will knock it down.
5. Shaun Ellis
Every season we can expect big things from this guy, but this season he has stepped up just a little bit more.
He is on pace to record over 10 sacks this season and it is easy to see why. His utter tenacity and brute strength have proven to be priceless this year. But everything is so much better knowing that he is lining up alongside Jenkins.
These are the five guys who I think have gone under the radar the most this season.
While I did not mention big-time players like Faneca, Cotchery, Coles, Pace, Rhodes, Jones, and Harris, it is important that I take this opportunity to say that there is no doubting the fact that they too have made great contributions.
But it would take way too long to go into detail on every player who has stepped up this season so I felt it was best to leave them out.
The Jets' success has been a team effort from top to bottom and it is important that as fans we remember that when the team loses, everyone loses, and when the team wins, everyone wins.
We get so caught up in praising and condemning guys with big names like Brett Favre. But at the end of the day, despite how good or bad a guy like Favre plays, it is up to his teammates to bring him through it and win regardless.
So having said that, the reason that I chose the five players I chose was primarily because, in my opinion, they have played top notch every week and have taken every opportunity to change the face of the game no matter what the score or situation.
When people show that kind of heart it truly makes you proud to call yourself a fan and it really makes the game that much better.
So once again, I am in no way trying to imply that anyone else is not trying or is playing poorly. I honestly just think that these five guys have helped mold this franchise into a winning team and they have not received nearly enough credit. For the first time in years the Jets are poised to take the AFC East from their bitter rivals, the New England Patriots.
Fortunately, with the great efforts and achievements of these players, alongside the rest of the team, that dream may be well on its way to becoming a reality.
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