It’s only natural this time of year to reflect and be grateful for all that you have.
Though it’s been rough sledding for the Jets of late, their fans should give thanks during the holiday season for having one of the best defensive front sevens in all of football.
It’s no secret that general manager John Idzik will have to do some Black Friday-esque shopping for wide receivers and cornerbacks come the offseason, but his young defensive line is currently championship caliber.
No team gives up fewer rushing yards per attempt or game than the unit, and they are just a few sacks shy of the league lead.
Muhammad Wilkerson has the fifth-most sacks in the NFL with 10, and he should be thankful for the big contract his agent is likely going to get him before next season.
Sheldon Richardson has shown a lot of promise in his first year as a pro, and Pro Football Focus grades Damon Harrison as the second best defensive lineman against the run.
Linebacker Calvin Pace has looked rejuvenated this season at the age of 33, while Demario Davis has avoided any sort of sophomore slump and appears to be a keeper.
In the defensive backfield, Dee Milliner should count his blessings for having a coach like Rex Ryan who believes in him and is loyal to a fault. Milliner is fortunate to play for someone who has allowed him to play through his mistakes. He’s had the unenviable task of learning on the job and it hasn’t been pretty.
Fellow rookie Geno Smith might not fully appreciate yet just how patient the fan base has been with him, because the boo birds aren’t that far off in the distance.
Through eleven games, Smith has had less than a handful of starts that could be considered very impressive.
The receivers haven’t done much to help Smith, as he has sorely missed a reliable veteran target. Santonio Holmes was presumed to be the team's playmaker, but he has been lacking in both health and maturity thus far.
Smith was supposed to back up Mark Sanchez while being groomed for the starting role, so it is a bit unfair to think he was going to step in and immediately be the answer to the franchise’s prayers.
Had expectations not been so low prior to the season, the fans would have had a much shorter leash for the second round pick.
Coach Ryan might want to wish for job security when breaking the turkey’s wishbone Thursday, because the struggles of Milliner and Smith, as well as a few veterans, could land him on the unemployment line.
Ryan’s job would be in further jeopardy if not for the steady leg of kicker Nick Folk. The unsung hero has hit three game-winning field goals this year, drastically altering the team’s place in the standings.
Folk has been automatic this season, making 24 out of his 25 field goal attempts, while accounting for nearly 50-percent of the team’s points scored.
While gathered around the television this weekend enjoying food and football with family and friends, take a second to put things in perspective as a fan.
Built around a strong defense, the Jets aren’t nearly as worse off as they were originally thought to be. The future has its fair share of bright spots and a few of the problems, at least for now, can be attributed to rookie mistakes.
When the aggravation levels begin to rise, especially when the offense looks incapable of scoring touchdowns or Antonio Cromartie gives up another big play, think of those that are less fortunate.
At least we’re not stuck watching the Jacksonville Jaguars every week.