Jets’ season doomed by what-ifs


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No regrets?


The Jets should have their share of them from their 2022 season that ended too soon.

On Monday, as Jets players packed their locker belongings into plastic garbage bags and departed the team’s Florham Park facility for the offseason, they pondered the moments they let slip away after a 7-4 start teased them into believing they were playoff bound for the first time in 12 seasons.

Until they play again, the Jets will wonder what might have been …

—  Had defensive tackle John Franklin-Myers not been called for roughing the passer on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones as he was throwing a pick-six to cornerback Michael Carter II for what would have been a 17-3 Jets halftime lead in a game that ended with New England winning 22-17.

— Had they not allowed a punt return for a touchdown to Patriots returner Marcus Jones in the final seconds of their second game against New England, a 10-3 loss.

—  Had they stopped the Lions on fourth-and-1 instead of leaving tight end Brock Wright uncovered to make a 51-yard game-winning catch-and-run touchdown with 1:49 remaining in a 20-17 Detroit win.

John Franklin-Myers’ (left) late hit on Mac Jones negates a Michael Carter pick six which was a key play in the Jets’ 22-17 loss to the Patriots.

What if Franklin-Myers wasn’t flagged for roughing the passer and the Carter pick-six stood?

What if the Jets punt coverage team wasn’t torched in the final seconds of that second New England game?

What if safety Jordan Whitehead covered Wright like he was supposed to?

The Jets would have won at least two of those three games, that’s what. And instead of 7-10, they would be 9-8 and preparing for a playoff game this week.

No regrets?


“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t reflect on those things, look back and think about ‘what ifs?’ ’’ Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins told The Post. “It sucks to have to live with some of those moments, because we feel like this team was pretty special and we feel like we could have really made a push if we were able to get into the postseason.

“But you can’t get hung up with the ‘what ifs.’ You learn from it, find a way to build on it and not allow yourself to be in those situations again.’’

The Jets ended their season with that desultory 11-6 loss Sunday at Miami with a lot of regrets.

Like … what happened to their quarterback room?

No team in the NFL had worse quarterbacking than the Jets, who produced four touchdowns in their final six games, including none in the final three.

Breece Hall is carted off the field after suffering a torn ACL  during the Jets' win over the Broncos.
Breece Hall is carted off the field after suffering a torn ACL during the Jets’ win over the Broncos.
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Like … what happened to their offensive line, which finally seemed to be fixed by general manager Joe Douglas after several tries in recent seasons? The Jets rushed for just 305 yards in their final five games, which is no way to function when you’re getting the worst quarterbacking in the league.

Injuries, of course, ravaged the Jets O-line in the end. The loss of Breece Hall, their most explosive running back, and Alijah Vera-Tucker, their best offensive lineman, in the seventh game were killers.

What’s next?

Finding a capable quarterback to complement what seems to be a playoff-ready defense is task No. 1. You’ll be hearing and reading a lot about Jimmy Garoppolo, David Carr and possibly even Lamar Jackson this offseason. Fixing the offensive line (yet again) is a close second on Douglas’ agenda.

As frustrated as you may be with the end-of-season skid on offense, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is an easy target, and that’s understandable given the putrid offensive performance the last six weeks.

But sometimes it’s better to rely on some continuity — particularly if the team’s professed plan to continue to develop quarterback Zach Wilson for a third season is true.

Continuity is something that Jets owner Woody Johnson has preached in the past as the way he prefers to run his franchise, yet at times he’s had a difficult time following that mantra because he’s allowed himself to be influenced by outside forces.

Is this really LaFleur’s fault or the fact the team hasn’t had a starting-caliber NFL quarterback on the roster for the past two years?

It’s difficult to argue the Jets aren’t in a better place with head coach Robert Saleh than they were before he was hired two years ago, so any thoughts of Saleh’s job being in jeopardy are folly.

It’s a different era and circumstances, but remember the Jets firing Pete Carroll after only one season (1994) when his team went from 6-5 and in playoff contention to a 6-10 finish — a similar collapse to this season?

Carroll, of course, has gone on to have a fairly successful career and his successor, Rich Kotite?

Well, we don’t need to get into that right now, do we?

The point is: Be careful what you wish for … or you may end up regretting it.

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