The Jets keep insisting they're not the same, old Jets, and that they're not going to fall apart like they did last season. Even on Sunday, when they were clearly out-classed on the field, they swore they were ready to be a playoff contender now.
"I think we're there," Jets safety Jamal Adams said. "I think we're close. This team is a great team. We have a 53-man roster full of a lot of talent. There's no waiting for next year, or rebuilding. There's none of that. This team can be special."
It's a nice thought, but it might not be the Jets' reality. And their 37-17 loss to the Vikings made that crystal clear. These Jets are headed in the right direction. They've got some terrific building blocks in place.
But they just don't have the offensive weapons to compete with the better teams in this league.
That remains the most glaring omission from the rebuilding job Jets GM Mike Maccagnan started last offseason, and it's an even bigger problem now. They knew they didn't have a true No. 1 receiver when the season started, and now they're playing without two guys - the injured Quincy Enunwa and the released Terrelle Pryor - who had a shot to stake a claim to that job.
They are so depleted, so undermanned, that at one point in the fourth quarter, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold was dropping back and staring at punt returner Andre Roberts, special teamer Charone Peake, and Deontay Burnett, who was on the practice squad 24 hours earlier. That made it pretty easy for the Vikings to clamp down on Robby Anderson, the Jets' deep threat, and Jermaine Kearse, who had no catches and was only targeted twice.
Granted, Darnold was pretty terrible on his own. He earned whatever criticism he gets for his 17-for-42, 206-yard, three-interception performance. But the number of drops he endured, including a deflection of Peake into one of his interceptions, was maddening. So was the fact that Jets receivers had only two catches in the first three quarters.