The anatomy of another lost Jets season
After the promise of opening night’s slaughter of the Lions, this New York Jets season has totally unraveled. Is there even another win on the schedule?
This blogger needed a week to recover from attending last week’s 41-10 beat-down to Matt Barkley and the Buffalo Bills. There’s much to process, and plenty of blame to spread around.
Let’s start with the head coach. Exactly who was the genius who identified Todd Bowles as a leader of men? Bill Belichick and Sean McVeigh are leaders of men. Any questions?
This is not a winning program. The Todd Bowles error can be characterized by mind-numbing under-performance and over-confidence. This may be the only NFL franchise that consistently plays down to the level of competition.
Like any form of solid waste, there’s a stench emanating from One Jets Drive, that can only subside with the end of the season. Here are four cold hard facts to address moving forward in this anatomy of another lost Jets season.
4. Out at Home
WFAN’s Joe Benigno reported through an on-field source that during warmups, the reeling Bills’ players were shocked to see the Jets so unfocused, and knew they could have a breakout game. Avery Williamson admitted that some players took Buffalo lightly. Jamal Adams came clean to Bart Scott and crew about a lingering lackadaisical attitude.
To a man, the players all say that they love playing for Coach Bowles. Yet why do they not perform for the local Jersey man? They’re not properly positioned in the gaps or in coverage, and they’re poorly communicating. There’s no excuse for this.
The defensive meltdown is far worse being that Bowles came to Florham Park as one of the league’s great defensive minds. Let’s not delve into the fact that there’s been little development in his on-field leadership and in-game adjustment abilities.
Bowles is now acting like a dead man walking. Any man fighting for his NFL life would’ve used the bye-week to do something drastic — fire or bench someone, or make some shakeup. But not this head coach. Things haven’t felt so dire since the Richie Kotite daze.
Next: 3. Man Up
3. Man Up
Adams said that at halftime, he challenged a few fellow defenders to man-up. You know dang well he was referring to $72-Million-disappointment cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
Back from a quad injury the former Ram — reportedly let go due to his rep for “taking plays off” — got burned on the first snap of the day, targeted for a 45-yard bomb by a QB signed nine days earlier, to a WR fresh off the practice squad. It doesn’t get any worse! Oh wait, it does — Buster Skrine didn’t even react after the third TD pass completed his way.
For weeks, we’ve been saying that Darryl Roberts is the best CB on this roster. The LSU product is relentless in coverage and makes every tackle.
Leonard Williams continues to underwhelm. By this point, he should be a Top 25 NFL D-linemen and isn’t. Inside linebacker Darron Lee cannot command any defense when he looks lost himself. Adams and Avery Williamson seem like the only ones out there fighting for their football lives.
Next: 2. I Smell Trouble
2. I Smell Trouble
You gotta be worried about what this coaching staff is doing — or not doing — for Sam Darnold‘s development as the face of the franchise. “Quarterback Whisperer” Jeremy Bates has not placed Darnold in a position to succeed or even shown much in terms of coaching-up the kid’s skill set. In fact, Bates seems lost in his new role as offensive coordinator.
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The Johnsons may need to conduct an invention to save Darnold from this staff. Take one look at the thrilling Monday Night Football shootout between Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff, and dream of Sam could do with a few tools.
Jermaine Kearse continues to perform like he doesn’t wanna be here. Robby Anderson is now hurt, but in his third season, it’d be nice to see the skinny deep threat run good routes and come down with the ball in physical matchups.
The offensive line is a mess. Positional talent is not the key issue — James Carpenter, Kelvin Beachum, Brian Winters, maybe even Brandon Shell would flourish with any other team. Perhaps so-called O-line guru Rick Dennison has the wrong personnel to run that Broncos running game.
And let’s make no mistake about Darnold’s injury. It occurred during the Miami game fiasco — which means that the front line got him hurt and almost killed and that Sam’s lousy performance may have been due in part to his toughing it out on the field after badly hurting his foot.
Next: 1. That Smell
1. That Smell
Any coach gets graded on their development over time. Bowles’ first season was 2015, in which they choked in a playoff opportunity in a Ryan Fitztragic affair on the shores of Lake Erie.
Darrelle Revis, clearly not a fan of Bowles’ lack of personable leadership, recently admitted for that urgent 2015 Week 17 game against a last-place Bills, Rex Ryan revved up his depleted roster to play spoilers, while the Jets came out unprepared and overconfident, like they’d already won the game. Isn’t that what Jamal Adams and Avery Williamson said after last week’s playoff flameout?
Coach Bowles insists “morale is high” going into this Sunday’s Patriots showdown. Tom Brady and company are irate after an embarrassing pasting by Mike Vrabel‘s Tennessee Titans. Given the tough slate remaining, is “at Buffalo” even a possible Jets win, given last week’s humiliation?
Here’s a depressing thought: with so many core mistakes, it can’t all be the coaches, can it? Many answers will become self-evident, as Gang Green plays out the string, and prepare for 2019 free agency.