5 Jets that lost the game against Raiders
By Justin Fried
It was a rough Week 2 for the New York Jets as they fell to 0-2 on the season following a disappointing 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Who’s to blame for this poor showing?
Every week here on The Jet Press, I take a look back and examine the top five players that either won or lost the game for the New York Jets.
Safe to say this isn’t usually a very positive series.
That trend continued on Sunday as the Jets were blown out as they traveled to the Oakland Coliseum to take on the Raiders. The game was close for about a half until a costly muffed punt (we’ll get to that) opened the floodgates and Oakland began to pour it on.
Similar problems plagued the Jets in their second game as in the week prior as struggles in run defense and shoddy pass coverage ultimately led to the team’s demise. Surprisingly, the offense showed some promise, especially Josh McCown who looked like a competent quarterback and even seemed to defy father time with his mobility in the pocket.
What a world we live in.
That being said, what specific players are to blame for the Jets poor showing this week?
Next: 5. Demario Davis
5. Linebacker Demario Davis
Davis barely beats out fellow lackluster defender Buster Skrine for the No. 5 spot on this list after another poor showing by the Jets linebacker core.
Although there were no specific plays to highlight Davis’ weaknesses, the Arkansas State product finds himself in this article series for a second consecutive week due to his inability to control the middle of the field.
Davis’ shortcomings during his first tenure with the Jets still seem to be present as his poor coverage skills and tendency to be out of position in run defense are evidently recurring issues that are really beginning to hinder this Jets defense.
The team clearly misses David Harris and it’s showing as opponent’s break off long run after long run against the team as the linebackers in the middle of the field are nowhere to be found. On one particular play, Davis is seen getting blocked 15-20 yards down the field and getting completely taken out of the play. The result was a 52-yard touchdown for Oakland’s Jalen Richard which only added on to the Raiders growing second half lead.
If this Jets defense is going to improve, the team’s going to need to get a lot more production out of their inside linebackers, or else teams will continue to run straight through the heart of this defense to victory.
Next: 4. Muhammad Wilkerson
4. Defensive End Muhammad Wilkerson
In all fairness, this entry is more about the lack of production from the entire defensive line and pass rush unit than Wilkerson specifically. Although it is certainly an alarming statistic that through two games this season, the former Temple Owl has four tackles and no sacks to his name.
On top of that, he has been an overall non-factor in those games and has been seen blatantly giving minimal effort on multiple plays. He finds himself on this list for a second straight week due mostly in part to his perceived talent combined with his actual performance rather than poor overall play.
Regardless, Wilkerson’s play will need to improve if he wants to prove to the league that he’s worth at least some of his hefty contract that he is currently signed to and not just a shell of his former, Pro Bowl-caliber self.
Moreover, if the Jets wish to have any sort of defensive success moving forward, they will have to supply some type of a pass rush. Whether that’s with their inexperienced edge rushers, the thus far under-performing Leonard Williams, or the aforementioned Wilkerson, something must change or else opposing quarterbacks will continue to pick apart the Jets secondary as Derek Carr did with Oakland.
Next: 3. Kalif Raymond
3. Return Specialist Kalif Raymond
The Jets special teams have been an absolute mess of a unit ever since Mike Westhoff left the team back in 2013 and this was on display Sunday. Recently acquired return man Kalif Raymond muffed a punt at a key moment of the game which proved to be the beginning of the end for the Jets chances in that contest.
With the Jets trailing 14-10 as the first half was winding down, the Raiders punted the ball away seemingly giving the Jets, who were riding a wave of momentum, an opportunity to score and perhaps take the lead before halftime. This was against a team they weren’t even supposed to contend with.
Instead, Raymond muffed the ensuing punt (something that was not an isolated incident) and the Raiders recovered deep in Jets territory. From that point on, the momentum had shifted and after a quick Oakland score, the game was all but over.
Finding a solid kick/punt returner has proved to be as hard as finding a starting quarterback over the last few years for Gang Green and Raymond is just the latest example of a failed candidate. He can be electrifying with the ball in his hands but said hands are exactly the problem.
The former Denver Bronco has now muffed three kicks in two games and his days as the Jets return man seem to be on their last legs. There’s a good chance the job is handed over to someone like Elijah McGuire or Jeremy Kerley who at least offer better ball security.
And if that’s the case, Raymond’s job is likely in jeopardy.
Next: 2. Juston Burris
2. Cornerback Juston Burris
Juston Burris had a bad game. There’s no way around it.
While fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne held Raiders top wideout Amari Cooper to a modest four catches for 33 yards, Burris, along with his partner in crime Buster Skrine, allowed Michael Crabtree to record 80 yards on six catches while totaling three touchdowns en route to a career day for the 30-year-old receiver.
Two of Crabtree’s touchdowns came against Burris who got absolutely toasted all game and showed that he still has a long way to go before he could be considered a starting-caliber cornerback in the NFL.
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The Raiders game plan was to attack the Jets second cornerback position and it worked to perfection as Crabtree made Burris and Skrine look like fools on multiple occasions. In doing so, Carr exposed a major weakness on this Jets roster.
A bad missed tackle on a 43-yard touchdown run by Cordarrelle Patterson was the proverbial icing on the cake of what was likely Burris’ worst game of his career. Now I’m still a proponent of starting Burris in the base defense over Skrine and letting him develop some more.
Perhaps he shines and develops into a solid starting cornerback. Or perhaps he faulters and proves that he is not talented enough for such a role.
Jets fans will certainly be hoping for the best, but more games like this might make the latter a more probable outcome for the young defensive back.
Next: 1. Darron Lee
1. Linebacker Darron Lee
For the second consecutive week, Lee tops this list after another disastrous day of football in which he proved to be more of a liability than anyone else on the roster.
The former first-rounder turned in another awful performance this week complete with the same problems that have followed him throughout his short NFL career thus far.
Lee was consistently getting blown off the ball and blocked out of plays showing that despite his speed and athleticism, the Ohio State product has no place being on the field on running downs. His lack of size is clearly apparent and he lacks the intangibles needed to be an inside linebacker at the professional level.
Perhaps he might be better suited at outside linebacker. Well, as Joe Caporoso of Whistle Sports notes, Lee’s struggles might not be exclusive to his current role.
I don't know why #Jets fans think Lee can play OLB in a 3-4 or 4-3. If you can't shed blocks, can't tackle or cover, scheme is irrelevant
— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) September 18, 2017
At least two of Oakland’s scores can be blamed on Lee as he was blocked entirely out of the play on Cordarrelle Patterson’s touchdown run and badly overpursued a tackle attempt on Jalen Richard’s score. Both plays are an example of Lee’s lack of size coming back to haunt him combined with him just being completely out of position.
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As the weeks go on, it’s getting harder and harder to justify that Lee belongs on the field. And that’s something you never want to hear said about your previous year’s first round draft pick.