NY Jets came crashing down to Earth on Sunday
November 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74, right) talks to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) on the sideline during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets definitely got a huge wake-up call on Sunday thanks to one of their worst performances of the season.
The Jets played the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, and as we all know, it was a devastating loss. The Jets’ defense didn’t show up and was embarrassed by Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense. On the offensive side it wasn’t much better, a bit of an effort to come back in the fourth quarter, but it was all too late.
Many fans have hit the panic button already. Social media sites are awash with Jet fans lamenting losing two in row. Others in the fan base are lamenting the loss of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and of course the Geno Smith haters are out in force. The resulting injuries to both Fitzpatrick Geno Smith have lit up social media sites with proposals for trades before the deadline but no such trades ever came into fruition.
The game was an embarrassing loss for the team and the fan base, but I see it as this team is returning to Earth. Here’s why.
Next: An embarrassing defensive effort
Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Taiwan Jones (22) runs the ball against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
An embarrassing defensive effort
The Jets’ defense was formidable coming into the season, but it was apparent even in camp, that the team lacked an edge rusher. The lack of the edge rush has been apparent all season. Bowles has tried to compensate with moving more towards a 4-3 defense, but the lack of that edge rush has been glaring at times. The Raiders’ offensive line stymied the Jets’ interior rush all day long. We talked about this summer and the lack of that edge rusher is coming home to roost.
The Jets’ linebacker corps is aged and lacks coverage skills. The Raiders were only the latest team to expose this weakness. While there is hope with this group, overall it has been pretty bad. Again, we discussed this during summer, it is nothing new, Calvin Pace and David Harris and Demario Davis are all good run stoppers, but are a liability in the pass game.
Bowles has been trying to infuse some youth to stop the bleeding, but both Trevor Reilly and Lorenzo Mauldin are both rookies and will need time.
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The Jets’ defensive secondary was embarrassed out West this week. The loss of Calvin Pryor can be blamed for some of the woes, but this group had it skeptics this summer and Sunday we saw what they were concerned with.
Antonio Cromartie‘s age has been apparent this year, he’s lost a step of speed, and speed was a huge part of his game throughout his career. Cromartie’s hip is banged up again, but many fans expressed that concern when the Jets signed him. Again, this is nothing new, we discussed it at length throughout training camp this summer.
I’ll catch hell for this, but Darrelle Revis‘ age may be creeping up on him as well. The much anticipated match up with Amari Cooper went Revis’ way, he held him to five catches for only 45 yards. Not a bad day right? Not really, he played off coverage all day, while Cooper was contained for the most part, he averaged 9.2 yards per catch.
Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson (17) carries the ball against New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) and strong safety Dion Bailey (34) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
The off coverage was a sign Revis was respecting Cooper’s speed, in his younger days he would have been much more physical with him. Revis is undoubtedly still a top corner in this league, and we are glad to have him back, but this isn’t the same guy the Jets traded away in 2013.
Marcus Williams was toasted Sunday at safety. This is a problem I’m sick of talking about, but let’s rehash it again. The Jets need safety help and it’s glaring at this point. Bowles has experimented with Dion Bailey and Williams the last two weeks, and the results have been poor.
Look, the Jets signed Pryor to resolve the Jets’ safety woes, but chose to ignore the injury concerns. Pryor has developed nicely, he’s a big hitter, but his tackling remains questionable. The biggest problem with Pryor however is the injuries, these big hits in the pros have taken their toll. Pryor needs to start tackling better and avoid making those big hits, so he can remain on the field.
He can’t contribute sitting on the bench. Once again, it was a topic that we discussed at length. Marcus Gilchrist has been forced to play with makeshift safeties, and the depth at safety was discussed this summer.
The Jets’ defense overall is a talented group undoubtedly. It is composed of a mix of youth and veterans. This group has a ways to go though. The young guys need to develop and that will take time. The breakdown in the Jets’ defense on Sunday isn’t the end of the world, but it was a sign this group has a ways to go. Bowles will get these guys back to playing well, and they will improve as the season progresses, but its apparent the group is coming down to Earth after being hyped into the best in the league.
Next: Where to begin on offense
Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Where to begin on offense
The Jets lost both Fitzpatrick and Smith to injuries on Sunday and social media sites are filled with calls for the Jets to make a move for a quarterback via a free agent. Bowles said in his post game presser, that the Jets would look for options at quarterback during the week. Both injuries are reportedly minor at this point, so the Jets may not be looking to trade. I’d expect a steady flow of players in and out of the Jet facility this week, but I don’t see them bringing anyone new onto the roster.
The quarterback situation was discussed for the entire summer, this comes as no surprise. Fitzpatrick’s health and durability were a concern from many in the fan base this summer. An injury was expected, and luckily it’s a minor one at this point, with him likely missing only a game or two, unless he needs surgery now instead of later. Fitzpatrick will be back shortly in my opinion, but that doesn’t completely solve the problem either. Fitzpatrick has been steady through the year, but it hasn’t been pretty. It’s apparent he can’t throw the deep ball and defenses have begun to stock the box against his short passing game.
The Smith debate has hit a fevered pitch with the fan base. This is absolutely nothing new, the Smith debate has been splitting the fan base in social media circles since his arrival. Smith was called on to replace Fitzpatrick on Sunday and went 23/42/265/2 TD/1 INT on the day. It wasn’t a bad day for Geno considering he was called off the bench, with limited snaps with the starters, I think he held his own.
Unfortunately for the Jets, Smith displayed some of the same problems we discussed throughout the summer. He threw another interception on Sunday when he tried to go deep to Brandon Marshall. The interceptions were a major concern among fans during camp and we debated Smith’s tendencies at length here. Late in the fourth quarter, Smith was sacked while the Jets were driving down the field.
He decision making is still in question among Jet fans, and rightfully so. We discussed Smith’s apparent inability to make quick decisions here this summer as well. We talked how Smith would need to improve in getting the ball out quickly and making good decisions if he were to succeed. Nothing new here again, we talked about all this all throughout the summer, and yet we find ourselves back to square one. I’m not blaming this loss on Smith, but the issues with his play is nothing new to Jet fans.
Nick Mangold‘s absence was apparent all day Sunday. Mangold is the key to this offensive lines, and it all starts with him for the Jets. So, yeah you can contribute some of the poor line play on Sunday to his absence, but there is more to it than that. This offensive line is aged, D’Brickashaw Ferguson is 31 and has been showing his age the past two season, Mangold is 31 and has fallen some from his Pro Bowl seasons.
Willie Colon is 32 and has been forced to play banged up the last two seasons, and his play can only be described as marginal. We all discussed this, again, throughout the summer. The Jets chose to forego an offensive lineman this year and it’s coming back to bite them as we all said it would.
Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Depth at the offensive line was another topic with hashed throughout this summer. The Jets chose to cut some of their youth and the result was they had to run out and sign a marginal center when Mangold went down. The depth along the offensive line is horrendous and we all predicted that the aging line could cause problems with injuries as the season went on. Nothing new here, it’s the one area the Jets overlooked this year, and most of us knew it before the season began.
Wide receiver is another group we discussed, as the Jets had a good group of starters, but not much behind them. Injuries and a suspension has left them thin at wide receiver, and if Marshall goes down for any length of time, the Jets could be in serious trouble. I expect them to run a few receivers through the facility this week.
The Jets’ running game was supposed to be the strength of this team, but it has been the Chris Ivory show up to this point. The rest of the of running backs have been a bit disappointing. Ivory has been outstanding for the Jets, but we saw that when he goes down with an injury, the run game has a steep drop off. Few brought this to the discussion this summer, but this wasn’t a topic that wasn’t discussed here. A few of our readers were concerned about the depth at running back and it seems they definitely had a point.
The Jets’ offense is far from a potent group. A great set of receivers, but the Jets have little at quarterback to throw the ball to them. Fitzpatrick has played admirably, but he surely hasn’t been spectacular. Smith has been disappointing throughout his entire career. With Fitzpatrick hurt, and Smith banged up, the Jets find themselves scurrying for an answer.
Next: The harsh reality
November 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) is congratulated by wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) for scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The harsh reality
The Jets are a team in flux. General manager Mike Maccagnan improved the product tremendously over last year, but it is apparent more needs to be done. An aging offensive line with little depth will limit success if injuries occur. The defensive line is top notch but is young and lacking an effective edge rusher. This line will have its successes, but lacking an edge rusher will limit their effectiveness.
Look, I’m not saying this is a bad team, but as I’ve said all year, they have a way to go to be considered a contender. The talk surrounding the Jets this year has been a bit over hyped. Talk of deep playoff runs and Superbowl appearances have been in the conversations concerning this team all year. I get that Jet fans had high hopes after a devastating season last year, but expectations need to be tempered.
This is not a Super Bowl roster, and with the concerns the Jets are facing now, it is doubtful if this is a playoff team. The last two weeks have displayed weaknesses and with injuries piling up, I’ll stick with my original preseason prediction of 8-8 this year.
Next: Ryan Fitzpatrick out, Michael Myers in!
Next up are the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. I expect them to win this easily, but with the quarterback situation being in flux, it is anybodies guess. The Jets to need win against the teams they are supposed to if they want to continue to post a winning record, they failed to do that this week against Oakland. The Jets are a good football team, but they are not ready to play with the elite teams at this point. Expectations truly need to come down to Earth. The Jets are a good team but the playoffs may be slipping away quickly.
I know most of you have already chimed in over the last couple of months on these concerns, but we find ourselves right back to them. How do you see this team going forward? Are the playoffs still in the future for the Jets? Can they bounce back from this and become a contender?
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