The Baltimore Ravens are a model franchise and if it wasn’t for the New England Patriots, Baltimore’s impressive consistency would get more attention.
Since 1999, the Ravens have had only four losing seasons, and only one since 2007. They have two Super Bowls and are contenders more often than not. It’s an organization with a sound foundation, and that stability leads to regular success.
Basically, the opposite of the New York Jets.
At one point this year, the Jets looked like they could be a nice surprise. Instead, it’s the same old Jets. As the Ravens march toward the No. 1 seed in the AFC they face the 5-8 Jets on Thursday night, a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app.
It’ll be a showcase for the Ravens and their likely MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, but also another chance for everyone to wonder why the Jets are so dysfunctional.
Jets made many missteps this offseason
The Le’Veon Bell saga pretty much sums up the Jets for the past, oh, four decades.
Bell was a high-profile free agent and the Jets gave him a four-year, $52.5 million deal. Jets coach Adam Gase reportedly didn’t want Bell at that price. He sulked during the draft, leading to him winning a power struggle with then-GM Mike Maccagnan. Maccagnan was fired and Gase — who was hired by the Jets this past offseason after failing with the Miami Dolphins — was given more power in the organization.
Bell has had little impact — former Dolphins like Ryan Tannehill, DeVante Parker and Kenyan Drake have had nice seasons away from Gase, so maybe this isn’t Bell’s fault — and then came the bowling trip. Bell missed last week’s game with the flu, but was out bowling on Saturday night.
“The bigger surprise is I bowled a 251 off the flu. That’s the bigger surprise,” Bell told reporters. “A career high.”
Gotta love the Jets. Then SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano reported that the Jets might trade Bell and safety Jamal Adams this offseason, because teams generally get better after trading two of their blue-chip players. Earlier this season the Jets traded defensive lineman Leonard Williams, the sixth overall pick of the 2015 draft, to the Giants.
Jets, Ravens going in opposite directions
The Jets pulled off some history this season. They lost to the 0-7 Miami Dolphins and the 0-11 Cincinnati Bengals, becoming the first team in NFL history to lose to two teams that were 0-7 or worse in the same season. They probably won’t raise a banner for that.
The Jets’ future looks bleaker than it did when the season started. Quarterback Sam Darnold has moments of brilliance, and then games in which he looks like the turnover-prone player he was his final season at USC. Gase hasn’t done much to inspire confidence, but the Jets insist he’ll be back next season. New York’s big free-agent moves were Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley. Bell has just 992 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns, and Mosley played just two games due to injury. The draft class hasn’t done much either. Jachai Polite was the rare third-round pick cut before the season started.
Contrast that to the Ravens when they play on Thursday night. The Jets haven’t hit on a quarterback like Lamar Jackson since Joe Namath was asking for a green Lincoln Continental convertible coming out of Alabama. The Jets haven’t gotten anything out of their draft like the Ravens have out of first-round receiver Marquise Brown. Their free-agent additions haven’t had anywhere near the impact of Ravens safety Earl Thomas. John Harbaugh vs. Gase is a coaching mismatch.
Thursday night’s teams are two organizations on polar opposites of the NFL world. And it doesn’t seem like that will change anytime soon.
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