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Ahmed Sauce Gardner - An appreciation thread

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Jets fans.  Win or lose, we will have played a consequential game in December.  We are contenders right now.  Zach Wilson failed.  Becton failed.   Fant got hurt.  Mitchell got hurt.  We were playing a waiver wire RT.  AVT and Breece Hall were lost for the season.  Our starting LT arrived in training camp and is 37 years old.   Two highly drafted wide receivers demanded trades.  There are innumerable reasons and excuses for why the 2022 Jets failed.  Why we went quietly and said "get them next year".   You can even make the case that this is one of the worst years we have ever had.  Yet here we stand.  Despite all the trauma - the AVT & Hall losses were the pits - we clawed and scraped victories.  Even when we lost to the Bengals, you could see the defense beginning to gel amidst the three and outs.  What is different?

It is Ahmed Sauce Gardner.  Born in Detroit, this cold weather kid played WR and Corner in high school.  In the Michigan state championship game he caught four passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.  Not sure which one.  During high school he was state champ in 2015, 2016 and 2018.  In college - in addition to never once giving up a score - he took Cincinnati into the college football playoffs.  The first group of five team to manage the feat.  In the 2022 draft, his coattails led the NFL to draft NINE Cincinnati players.  A school record that is unlikely to be challenged much less broken.

Since he has joined the Jets, he has totally shut down his man.  We noticed it instantly - if they do not bite as puppies.  He soon exceeded all hopes when he visibly erased Ja'marr Chase, the NFL's best young WR.   The board soon whined about Mosely and Joyner getting beat on isolation plays.  Yet they were running them because the WRs were covered.  You cannot keep doing that.   We will lay traps and Mosely had a pick last week.  Yes, Reed has been stellar.  But he is a grizzled veteran who came to play.  We have seen that before.  Another team's player who got paid and decided to earn it.  But Sauce is ours.  And his ceiling appears to be Deon Sanders. 

Who among us thinks that this NFL season's star WR Jefferson is going to light up our rookie?  Who lacks confidence that we can defeat the 9-2 Vikings in their own barn?  This is the confidence Sauce creates in his teammates.  This is why he was state champ in high school.  This is why he took an off the map school and crashed the NCAA tournament.  It is why there are now nine rookie Bearcats in the NFL.  He is forging an identity on this team and it is contagious.  His teammates know, this bus has momentum.  I can feel it.

The seminal moment for the 2022 Jets was when Quinnen Williams exploded on the sidelines and demanded a four man rush.  What Q was really saying was lets go to man to man.  And that is what Salah did.  Now we rush four, we place the linebackers up on the first down line and play man with Ahmad Sauce Gardner.  He stirs our drink.  He is 22. 

Like all Jet fans, I wonder how long it will last.  But for today, I am enjoying his efforts this year.  I truly appreciate Sauce Gardner.  What a year.

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