After a disappointing 17-16 Week 1 loss at home to the Buffalo Bills, the concerns surrounding the New York Jets cornerbacks have been solidified.
The New York Jets Week 1 matchup against the divisional rival Buffalo Bills last week was supposed to be a coming-out party of sorts.
After another losing season in 2018, the Jets made some significant changes, bringing in new head coach Adam Gase along with notable additions such as star running back Le’Veon Bell, slot receiver Jamison Crowder, and highly-touted linebacker C.J. Mosley.
The culture of the team was supposedly moving in the right direction. The team was supposed to be reinvigorated. Electric. Explosive.
And for much of the first half, that seemed to be the case, as the Jets jumped out to a 16-0 lead thanks in large part to Mosley and a strong showing from the defense.
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Then, however, things began to implode.
Following the halftime break and an injury suffered to Mosley, the Jets looked lost, surrendering 17 unanswered points and throwing the game away. It is important to note, however, that this happened for multiple reasons.
Despite a 16-point lead in the first half, the offense wasn’t performing at the level it was expected to. In fact, eight of those 16 points were scored by the defense.
Gase’s game plan wasn’t the creative and strategic one that Jets fans were promised as the Jets totaled just 223 total yards and averaged only 3.4 yards per play.
Bell and Crowder performed well though nothing was built off of the success of the team’s newest offensive playmakers. Darnold, for example, struggled a bit after a strong preseason.
On defense, the Jets started strong causing four first-half turnovers, but after Mosley’s departure in the third quarter, the unit simply looked incompetent. What also stood out, however, is that the Jets concerns at the cornerback position, which have long been clear, were solidified.
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After all, Trumaine Johnson, who the Jets signed to a lucrative $72.5 million contract prior to last season, dealt with injuries and struggled on the field last year. Alongside him is Darryl Roberts, who has never been known as a consistent starter.
Behind Johnson, Roberts, and Poole? Well, the Jets don’t have much. They were playing with fire and last Sunday, it came back to bite them.
In the second half, Bills quarterback Josh Allen lit up the Jets secondary, consistently finding open receivers.
According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson was targeted eight times, allowing seven completions for 110 yards and a quarterback rating of 118.1. He was also flagged for a penalty.
Roberts, meanwhile, was targeted seven times, allowing five competitions for 77 yards. He was flagged for three penalties — one of which overturned a Marcus Maye interception — and was burned on the game-winning touchdown.
Heading into this season, it was clear that the Jets lacked an elite-level edge rusher. It was also clear though that the team had a weakness in the secondary.
To make up for this, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams attempted to attack the quarterback with creative blitz packages. That seems reasonable but when those blitzes didn’t result in taking down the quarterback, the Jets’ secondary, specifically its cornerbacks, were exposed.
Moving forward, this appears as if it will be a massive issue for the Jets.
The Jets Zone w/ @BoyGreen25 feat @Jake_Trotter:– Why the #Browns imploded in Week 1 & how the #Jets can take advantage.– Preview Week 2 #CLEvsNYJ.– What's the matchup that'll decide the game?– Details on @obj's watch.#TakeFlight https://t.co/uAGtkPgFGQ
— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) September 11, 2019
And while the Jets certainly have other issues, the issues at cornerback may continue to be exposed in the coming weeks as the team takes on talented receivers like Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Brown and Amari Cooper.
After allowing John Brown to total seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown, it’s almost scary to think what those aforementioned receivers will do to the Jets if the performance of the secondary doesn’t improve.
At this point, finding a solution to the problem doesn’t seem like an easy task. It should have been addressed in the offseason but it wasn’t. The Jets will now have to lay in the bed they made for themselves.
One thing, however, is clear after Week 1. The concerns surrounding the team’s cornerbacks have been right all along.