The Jets’ 5 biggest surprises so far this season

·3 min read

The Jets have been a disappointment in 2021, but there have still been some bright spots scattered across the roster in Robert Saleh’s first year at the helm.

New York is 2-6, has been embarrassed multiple times this season, and is poised for another early draft pick. There have been a group of players that deliver every time their number is called, though, giving the Jets reason to hope that they have building blocks for the future in place.

With the halfway point in the NFL schedule here, let’s look at some of the Jets’ most pleasant surprises so far this season.

Mike White

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There’s a good chance you didn’t have Mike White throwing for over 400 yards and beating the Bengals in place of an injured Zach Wilson on your 2021 NFL bingo card. White lit up Cincinnati’s secondary in Week 8 and fired a touchdown pass against the Colts before succumbing to a minor injury in Week 9. Wilson still might be a week away from returning from a sprained PCL, which would give White at least one more start to prove his dominance over the Bengals was not a one-game fluke. Either way, White’s performance will not be forgotten anytime soon.

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Michael Carter

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Carter has come into his own for the Jets recently, taking control of the backfield and dominating the touches on the ground and through the air. The fourth-round pick out of North Carolina’s NFL career got off to a slow start, but he has picked up the pace in recent weeks. His play might not be a huge surprise considering how high the Jets were on him during the summer, but it has been a pleasant development for a team that has lacked a consistent running game for years.

Alijah Vera-Tucker

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Life as a rookie offensive lineman in the NFL is not easy — no matter where you were drafted. Vera-Tucker dealt with injuries during the summer and was behind the eight ball at the beginning of the regular season after not playing at all in the preseason. The USC product started a bit slow out of the gate, but has dominated in the Jets’ last couple of games. Vera-Tucker has yet to have the benefit of playing next to Mekhi Becton for more than three quarters and is still managing to have his way with opposing defensive linemen. The possibilities are endless once New York’s hulking left tackle returns.

Foley Fatukasi

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Fatukasi does not get a whole lot of attention as an interior defensive lineman whose primary function is to operate as a space-eating run stuffer. Nonetheless, he has been one of the most impactful players on a Jets’ defense that has struggled mightily in New York’s last three games. His play wasn’t enough to prevent the Colts from running wild on the ground, but Fatukasi is compiling yet another quietly good season — and it might be his best one yet.

Bryce Hall

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The Jets have a ton of problems on defense and in the secondary, but Hall has not been one of them. The second-year cornerback has looked more like the lockdown player he was at the University of Virginia and has been mostly strong in coverage throughout the year. Hall gets beat sometimes — what budding cornerback doesn’t? — but his play has been enough for the Jets to build around him in the secondary instead of looking to shove him out the door in favor of an upgrade.

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