As if the New York Jets losing to the lowly Miami Dolphins wasn’t bad enough, a conflict that broke out between Brian Winters and Sam Darnold during the game illustrates a stunning lack of team discipline and unity.
It is not easy to be a fan of the New York Jets. It almost never is.
Those of us who are masochistic enough to write about this team on a regular basis are often left with two choices: either tell the bleak truth about the Jets or try to find some kind of silver lining beneath all of the constant losing and dysfunction.
Yet after the Jets suffered a soul-crushing loss to the previously winless Miami Dolphins this past Sunday, there simply are no positives to be found.
The loss itself was humiliating, the kind of failure that can get coaches fired. As if that wasn’t bad enough, however, the Jets players are now beginning to turn on each other and point fingers.
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During the Dolphins game, a miscommunication between the offensive line and quarterback Sam Darnold resulted in an errant shotgun snap that flew past the quarterback. The play resulted in a safety for Miami.
After the play, offensive lineman Brian Winters was shown repeatedly chewing out Darnold. The stress of playing for an awful and poorly coached football team must have finally pushed Winters to a breaking point, as he somehow thought it was appropriate to publicly yell at his quarterback.
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The hypocrisy of Winters’ antics is beyond shocking. The Jets offensive line this year has arguably been one of the worst in NFL history.
If that sounds like an exaggeration, consider the following.
Prior to the Jets’ loss to the Dolphins, the Jets offense had surrendered at least 200 negative sack yards while accruing less than 450 total rushing yards. Only one other team — the 1991 Indianapolis Colts — has put up such atrocious offensive stats since 1970 (courtesy of ESPN).
The Jets offensive line showed no signs of improvement against the Dolphins, committing five penalties and allowing three sacks. The unit has now allowed 37 sacks — second-most in the NFL.
Suffice to say, Winters has no right to throw stones at Darnold. The offensive line cannot protect Darnold at all, forcing the young quarterback to run for his life and to attempt risky desperation passes.
Winters’ conduct was unacceptable, and it is the responsibility of the Jets coaching staff to properly address it. Unfortunately, there are no indicators that Jets head coach Adam Gase plans to do that.
Gase had the following comment about the Winters-Darnold incident:
“We’d rather not (have that) go on, but sometimes you have to hash through things.”
As the Jets drop to 1-7 and players are making headlines for all the wrong reasons, it is concerning to see such a passive response from the head coach.
Perhaps Gase is expertly managing the team’s dysfunction behind closed doors, but he has done nothing to this point to inspire any confidence from Jets fans.
The state of the Jets is a complete mess right now, and the only hope that most fans have is that an awful season may become a catalyst for major systemic change.
If the Jets do opt to make big changes over the offseason, they should probably start by looking at their head coach and offensive line.