Jets continue coaching staff blunders straight to loss
By Bobby Kirschenbaum
As the New York Jets suffered another embarrassing loss, their coaching staff continues to make boneheaded decisions in key situations.
The New York Jets are 1-4 and it continues to get worse. After a thrilling victory Week 2 in Buffalo, the Jets have lost three straight games, including a 31-13 thumping to Pittsburgh on Sunday. With injuries swarming the roster, they had to use backup players, while Eric Decker and Jalin Marshall remain out with injuries.
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Additionally, Brian Winters was out with a concussion following the head-butt last week against Seattle. And in Sunday’s game, the Jets lost David Harris and Nick Mangold, two key components to the team. In addition to the Jet woes, the coaching staff has made numerous mistakes during this losing streak.
Let’s start with the lack of aggression by head coach Todd Bowles. He made some very basic mistakes today, choosing to punt on a fourth and two with just seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, down two scores. It simply made no sense to take the offense off the field with the time ticking.
Most analysts were very surprised with that move. It appears that Bowles has become an extremely conservative coach, playing the game safe, and it shows in the Jets poor play. Twice on Sunday, in the 4th quarter alone, he decided to punt the ball away on similar situations.
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It would have made much more sense in going for it and keeping the offense on the field. This culminated in the final Antonio Brown touchdown, which put the Steelers up by three scores and iced the game for them.
Additionally, he threw a challenge flag on a Bilal Powell catch-and-run which the refs marked a yard short, wasting a timeout. Finally, he called another timeout towards the end of the game when the clock was stopped after the running back ran out of bounds, stopping the clock automatically.
Bowles constantly preaches the need for his players to hold themselves accountable for mistakes, but this time, he needs to take a nice long look in the mirror and do the same.
On the offensive side of the spectrum, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has done a poor job as well. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw nine interceptions in the two most recent games, a stat directly attributed to the play calling.
Sunday was more of the same, hard to watch for all Jets fans. The Jets failed to convert on three different 3rd-and-short situations. One of the calls was a long ball to Brandon Marshall which went incomplete when they needed just a yard. Then came a pitch pass from Fitzpatrick to Matt Forte on 3rd-and-2 which resulted in no gain.
And finally another incomplete pass on the sidelines instead of a simple slant or a run. The Jets did not even score a point in the second half, with several offensive drives looking hopeless. It appears that the entire Jets team has fallen apart this early in the season.
The defense was awful as well and it’s becoming extremely hard to watch a Jets game. On the very first drive, Ben Roethlisberger hooked up with Sammie Coates for a 72-yard touchdown pass. It’s something all quarterbacks have accomplished with ease thus far this season.
Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates (14) catches a pass for a touchdown as New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20) pursues during the first quarter at Heinz Field against the New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Opening day, it was Andy Dalton to A.J. Green for the deep touchdown. Week 2, Tyrod Taylor threw two deep ball touchdowns. Week 3 was a dominant tight end performance by Travis Kelce and Week 4 brought Russell Wilson, who ripped the Jets secondary apart. Additionally, the quarterback pressure has become a huge problem for the Jets.
They sacked Dalton seven times on opening day, and in the four games since, they have a total of just five sacks. Today, they had only one, not coming close to pressuring Big Ben. Kacy Rodgers, Jets’ defensive coordinator, has made no adjustments to the front and it has ultimately led to quarterbacks thriving and dominating the Jets. They have allowed 23+ points in every game this season and are near the bottom in the league in all categories. It’s an absolute trainwreck right now.
Finally, the Jets’ special teams has been disgraceful, led by Brant Boyer. The Jets made a nice move in the offseason, dropping Ryan Quigley and drafting Lachlan Edwards to be the punter. But they are not even capitalizing on his punting abilities. Twice Sunday, Edwards kicked the ball inside the 5, and the Jets failed to jump on the ball, resulting in touchbacks. Offensively, the Jets have not had a kick or a punt return for a touchdown since Joe McKnight in 2012.
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This is the first three-game losing streak for the Jets since 2014, before Bowles took over. Only 6 percent of the teams that have started 1-4 have rebounded to make the NFL Playoffs, showing the Jets’ playoff hopes dwindling every week. I’m not suggesting that any of the four main coaches should be fired right now, but it may be time for general manager Mike Maccagnan to hold a meeting to figure things out and try to miraculously put this team on the winning track again. The team needs to play relentlessly with more passion and fire, and realize that each play can make a difference. They have now put themselves in a must-win situation, a place where no team wants to be this early on in the season.