What makes an NFL team terrible? Better yet, what made the Cleveland Browns the worst team in the NFL? Was it their poor track record or their choice of quarterbacks or a combination of both?
Notice the use of the past tense in that question. Sure, the Browns are terrible. But, looking at the betting lines for all NFL teams, it seems like they are not the worst, at least not anymore. That privilege firmly goes to the New York Jets, though their fans might fight that assertion.
Try to remember just how atrocious the Browns were last season. There wasn’t a more terrible football team in the league and it didn’t even seem possible that anyone would ever surpass them in that criteria.
Today, FPI is reporting that while the Browns were minus-7.4 points worse per game last preseason, the Jets are 7.9 points worse per game this time around, this in comparison to the average NFL team. ‘FPI’ is ESPN’s Football Power Index and it has proclaimed doom and gloom over the team’s offense, defense and special teams.
There is no worse time to be a Jets fan, not when they have been assigned the worst FPI on record. And the Jets are the only ones to blame for their current predicament. When the team completed its 10-win campaign in 2015, they were a poor team, ranking in the 20s and 30s in the areas of offense, defense, and special teams.
But they were not terrible. And they rationally took steps in the offseason to execute a full-scale rebuild. But the decisions they took did not make all that much sense. Sure, they removed Cornerback Darrelle Revis from the roster, but they also eliminated the likes of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, veterans that might have kept the team afloat in this new season.
Then the team took steps to bring Veteran Josh McCown into the fold to work alongside quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, both of whom are still works in progress. FPI expects Christian to play at a replacement level. However, it also assumes that he is the best option to play.
Christian Hackenberg is hardly the worst component of the Jets team. But everyone thought he was a reach when he was brought in as a second-round pick. In fact, some sources named him one of the one hundred worst picks to come out of the NFL in several years.
So keeping in mind the dark cloud following Christian around, his presence on the field is unlikely to instill confidence, at least with regards to the Jets’ offense. New York fans are not despairing, though.
In fact, many of them are receiving the weak FPI rating with open arms. Not only do they know they’ve lost this season already but their hope is that the team experiences immense losses in the next few months.
And obviously, they hope to use the situation to draft a quarterback of note like Sam Darnold or even Josh Rosen. In that regard, you have to appreciate the NFL, specifically the fact that the league will make it possible for the worst team in the game to get the best quarterbacks on the market.