NY Jets: Studs, duds following Week 4 loss against the Denver Broncos

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
NY Jets
NY Jets /

NY Jets

The NY Jets didn’t have many notable standouts in their Thursday night loss to the Denver Broncos.

Another week has come and gone and the NY Jets are still winless. Shocking right?

Despite having home-field advantage on a short week against a depleted Denver Broncos team that was led by third-string quarterback Brett Rypien, Gang Green still fell by a score of 37-28.

This was the first game that the Jets didn’t get blown out in this season, however, they still looked sloppy. Way too many penalties, way too many squandered opportunities, and terrible coaching once again led to a loss.

The Jets have now lost their first four games of the season and look hopeless with no future wins in sight. In reality, this was likely their best chance at securing a victory. But as expected, the team once again fell short.

There were a few players who managed to show up and make the game watchable, but for the most part, this was yet another sluggish, disappointing showing from this Jets team.

There are more questions than answers heading into Week 5. But before the team takes on the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday, let’s quickly take a look back at last Thursday’s loss.

So here they are, the studs and duds from Week 4 for the Jets.

Next: 1. The future of the franchise and the guy who may have ruined him

NY Jets
NY Jets /

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Stud: Sam Darnold, QB, NY Jets

This year has been a roller-coaster for Sam Darnold. He has looked terrible in Weeks 1 and 3 (earning him a spot on the duds list for both of those games) and he has also shown fans what they want to see from him in Weeks 2 and 4.

That’s right, Darnold is once again back on the studs list. Darnold was 23-of-42 for 230 yards through the air despite playing through some pain. He was also a beast on the ground running for 84 yards on six carries including an amazing 46-yard touchdown.

It’s the second time this year that Darnold has played well despite having limited weapons and a poor performance from the team overall.

He made strong throws, good decisions — with one exception — and made something out of nothing. This is a good sign, but we’ve seen this before and seen him regress the following week.

In order for Darnold to establish himself as the future of the franchise and stop the speculation about Trevor Lawrence, he needs to be more consistent. Being more consistent will be hard considering the man who is calling the plays and leading the team.

Dud: Adam Gase, HC, NY Jets

Adam Gase has been a disgrace this season, so once again he is a dud of the week. The team is a mess, granted they are very injured but so is everybody at this point so that can’t be an excuse.

The Jets are far too undisciplined and despite Gase not taking responsibility for it, this is on the head coach.

Even though the play-calling wasn’t the worst we’ve seen this season, it also did leave a lot to be desired, especially in the red zone. The Jets were unable to punch the ball in the end zone when they actually sustained a drive.

The only touchdowns for the Jets were a 46-yard touchdown run by Darnold (not designed) and a pick-six by the defense.

There is also the topic of Mekhi Becton. Becton was too injured to start the game.

When your first-round pick who is quickly turning himself into a star offensive tackle isn’t healthy enough to start, then he’s also not healthy enough to come in to replace his own replacement when the replacement gets hurt (sorry that was a mouthful).

The head coach’s job is to put his team in a position to win. This week he put them in a position to get hurt. The only thing that is left to do for the Jets is to fire Gase because he has been such a dud this season.

The Houston Texans moved on from Bill O’Brien, so why can’t the Jets do the same with Gase?

Next: 2. A star returns and another coach disappoints

NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Stud: Jamison Crowder, WR, NY Jets

One of the lone bright spots on the day for the Jets was Jamison Crowder. The dynamic slot receiver returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to injury. His return was fantastic, hauling in seven catches for 104 yards.

Crowder did not show any hesitation from the first whistle. He came back and was once again Sam Darnold’s go-to guy. He found the open space, made plays, and was a huge factor in Darnold not turning the ball over.

This really shouldn’t be any type of surprise. Ever since Crowder arrived in New York, he has been a favorite of his young quarterback.

Even when the offense as a whole is struggling, Crowder always seems to find a way to have a big game. Despite having been in just two games so far this season, he has over 200 yards receiving.

Dud: Gregg Williams, DC, NY Jets

Now to discuss a unit that seems like it allows receivers to average over 100 yards per game — the defense. More specifically for this week’s second dud is defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

In the first edition of this weekly article, I said that I would avoid coaches. Unfortunately, the Jets coaching staff has been so incompetent that it only makes sense they are the duds.

Coming into the year, most Jets fans were excited to have Williams back as the defensive coordinator, but his second year with the team has not worked out so well. Week after week, the defense has looked like swiss cheese.

Yes the defense forced three turnovers, but they were playing a third-string quarterback on a short week — you expect to force turnovers. The problem is that the unit also got picked apart by the third string.

Williams is too worried about being beat in man-to-man that he plays soft zones play after play and the other teams just take advantage of it so much. The unit also had a chance to keep the team in the game late, but they blew it.

On the play that ultimately iced the game for Denver, Melvin Gordon was stopped at the line of scrimmage, but the unit didn’t contain him and it turned into a long touchdown. This just shows a lack of discipline which has been evident from day one this year.

Next: 3. A breakout performance and a rather weak one

NY Jets
NY Jets /

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Stud: Jeff Smith, WR, NY Jets

To finish things off we have a receiver who had a breakout game this week. With both Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims out with injury, the Jets needed production on the outside and they found it in Jeff Smith.

Smith hauled in seven receptions for 81 yards, for an average of 11.6 yards per reception. I don’t know about you, but I’d take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday. This is the type of performance the Jets are going to need in order to move the ball at all.

Smith found space a lot in the middle of the defense and complemented Jamison Crowder as the secondary option in the Jets’ passing attack this year.

His production this upcoming week will be key in order for the Jets to keep up with a very good Arizona Cardinals offense.

Dud: Chris Herndon, TE, NY Jets

From one option for Darnold to throw to that was phenomenal to one that was not. Chris Herndon has been a complete dud this entire year and once again he was disappointing in Week 4.

Herndon only caught one pass for 11 yards. In case you didn’t know, one catch from your starting tight end (particularly when two wide receivers are out) is not going to get the job done.

Now, part of the problem is Gase not getting him involved, but he also hasn’t shown enough to earn playing time this year.

Herndon dropped a key pass late in this game that ultimately could’ve changed the entire outcome. Especially considering the Jets have a decent second option in Ryan Griffin (although he hasn’t done much either), Herndon shouldn’t be on the field anymore — that’s how bad he’s been.

Next. NY Jets replace Sam Darnold in 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

The Jets need to get Crowder and Smith-level production out of Herndon in order for the offense to click, particularly in the red zone. If that doesn’t happen, I have a feeling you’ll be seeing Herndon’s name on this list a lot more.