FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — As the news of coach Todd Bowles’ contact extension spread throughout the New York Jets' locker room, players talked about how close they believe the team is to being a playoff contender.
The overwhelming sentiment is the Jets are a couple of players away from getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2011.
Certainly quarterback is a position that deserves serious evaluation. Veteran Josh McCown (94.5 QBR) had a solid if unspectacular season until breaking his hand on Dec. 12th.
“It’s a key position obviously," Bowles said. “So, once Josh got hurt, Bryce came in and he’s played but he hasn’t had a chance to play long term. But it’s a big position of stability for us."
Bowles said the Jets would add some pieces. But regardless of whom the Jets add, they need to have more players take ownership of the locker room.
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who began to take a leadership role this season, wants to take it to a higher level in 2018. Williams also said he can’t do it alone.
“It’s not something you can just assume or look down the line for," Williams said. “It has to happen in the moment. I mean I definitely want to be that guy, but I think it’s going to take more than just one. It’s going to take multiple guys on defense and multiple guys on offense to work together and call each other out on stuff.
“We can’t wait for the coaches to see that we’re having a bad practice and wait for them to call it up and say, ‘Restart the period.’ We have to notice it ourselves and say, ‘This is not the standard that we want here' and we take it upon ourselves to say something."
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who was acquired from the Seahawks, could be one of the leaders on offense. He knows what it’s like to be on a perennial playoff contender. The Seahawks are notorious for calling out each other.
Kearse has the potential for leadership on the Jets.
“We have a lot of growing up to do but we have some guys in this locker room, we have a lot of guys in this locker room that want to take it there," Kearse said. “Guys who are willing to do make the sacrifices and willing to do what it takes to become a playoff contender."