The Jets' season came to a disappointing end on Sunday afternoon with an 11-6 loss to Miami. For a team that was once 7-4 with playoff hopes high, the Jets ended the year on a six-game losing streak to miss the playoffs once again.
But rookie corner Sauce Gardner is confident that, come this time next year, things will be different.
“Like I said last week, we want to win, so it’s extremely frustrating, but now it’s to the point where we can’t dwell on the past,” he said. “We’ve got to just attack this offseason, because this time next year, we’re going to be in the playoffs, for sure.”
“We’ve got the people in this locker room right now to do it,” Gardner added when asked why he felt so confident. “We’ve got the players, we’ve just got to execute more. And I already know this feeling, this taste in our mouth, everybody’s gonna come back next year with that right mentality.”
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Gardner entered his rookie season with high external expectations, yet the University of Cincinnati product delivered, and then some. Gardner very quickly established himself as a true, shutdown corner, shutting down the opponent’s best receiver week in and week out.
And though he’s disappointed his team didn’t make the postseason, Gardner is pleased with the way he left his mark as a rookie.
“I feel like I had a great season," he said. "I feel like I’m the only corner who didn’t allow any touchdowns … I feel like I had a pretty good rookie season. I set the standard high for me. As a rookie, you aren’t always going to get that Pro Bowl or All-Pro, but I remember coming in and just setting the standard high.
"I had the right support system, not just with my family and friends, but with my brothers here. I feel like I set myself up and put myself in a good position to accomplish the things that I wanted to accomplish."