The Jets have greatly outperformed expectations in 2017, due in part to a dramatic change in the culture of the team. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has explained the difference between last year and this year, in colorful terms.
“It’s f–king night and day,” Seferian-Jenkins said, via Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. “It’s not the same s–t at all. I’m happy it’s not. That sh-t was bad.”
Regardless of who wasn’t, or wasn’t, causing the issues in 2016, receiver Jermaine Kearse has helped provide the solution.
“Jermaine’s had a big part” in the turnaround, Seferian-Jenkins said.
For Kearse, who won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks and spent several years in the environment of a winning organization, it wasn’t an accident.
“There’s good teams in the NFL each year, and it’s just something so minor and something so detailed that separates good teams from bad teams,” Kearse said, via Popper. “I felt like if there was any chance that I could help create a culture and a similar mindset where everybody was on the same page, that we could have success here.”
Kearse instantly spotted defensive lineman Leonard Williams as a team leader. So Kearse immediately struck up a relationship with Williams.
“Coming into a locker room with 50-plus people, you’re not from here, you’re from a whole different team, for most people it would probably be easy to just keep your head down and be quiet and focus on you,” Williams said. “But he did the opposite. He reached out. He exposed himself. He put himself out there and went out on a limb.”
“Winning consistently; it’s more than Xs and Os,” Kearse said. “You’ve got to have a certain camaraderie with your teammates, because at the end of the day, you’ve got to lean onto one another. This is the ultimate team sport. There’s no sport like this. There’s no other sport that takes 11 guys doing their job right to have one successful play.”
The Jets are seeing what happens when true camaraderie exists. They’ve already won more games than anyone expected them to win, and they are in the thick of things in the AFC East, even if at 3-3 they’re technically for now in last place.