The NY Jets must look to improve these three things if they want to succeed in Week 5.
After an 0-4 start, there are many things that the NY Jets need to fix. The Jets have looked terrible through the first quarter of the season and things aren’t looking very promising.
Four straight losses in rather uneventful fashion have rendered Gang Green as likely the worst team in the NFL. And it’s clear that their struggles extend far beyond any injury troubles they might be having.
With a tough matchup ahead against the Arizona Cardinals, the Jets need to fix things during this long week and quickly. Unfortunately, that will be no easy task with a number of key players out with injuries.
Starting quarterback Sam Darnold is out this week which will certainly hurt the Jets, but with a veteran backup in Joe Flacco, it could be worse. After all, the Jets saw firsthand last season just how much worse it could be.
Still, there are very few reasons for optimism heading into Week 5. Perhaps the likely returns of players like Le’Veon Bell and others will be enough to salvage a competitive game.
Regardless, the Jets will have plenty to work on, so here are the top three things to improve before their Week 5 matchup with the Cardinals.
Next: 1. Red zone offense
1. The NY Jets must improve their red zone offense
Normally when you see that a team scored more than 20 points, you’d think that the offense did at least a decent job of sustaining drives and punching the ball in the endzone. But in the Jets case, you’d be wrong.
Last Thursday, the Jets were 0-3 when it came to scoring touchdowns in the red zone, a number that is unacceptable. In order to win in this league, you need to score touchdowns. You need to put six points up on the board when you get within 20 yards of the goal line.
This is something the Jets struggle with because their field shrinks and Adam Gase’s terrible play-calling is highlighted even more. Halfback dives followed by wide receiver screens and five-yard outs don’t really work when there isn’t a downfield threat.
The only exciting play from the offense this past week was Sam Darnold’s 46-yard touchdown run. Without him in the lineup, we definitely won’t be seeing that again. So how do they fix it?
Number one would be for the “brilliant offensive mind” that is Adam Gase to start getting creative and call something other than the three plays I listed earlier.
Another way would be to get the tight ends involved (you know the bigger guys that are still fast and can catch touchdowns that Gase has forgotten about).
Overall, it comes down to Adam Gase giving his guys a chance to succeed when they get in the red zone. Then it’s just up to an offense made up primarily of backups to execute. That shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Next: 2. Interior offensive line play
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
2. The NY Jets must improve their interior offensive line play
One thing that we thought we knew when the Jets hired new general manager Joe Douglas was that he would rebuild this offensive line. I like Joe Douglas and I think he has done a decent job in a bad situation.
But the offensive line is good on the outside and bad on the inside. That is a problem.
Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten have allowed a ton of pressure from their guard position, Connor McGovern hasn’t been any better at center. There is also no real push up the middle when Gase calls his patented halfback dive.
If the Jets can’t get a push up front on run plays and can’t keep Joe Flacco upright this week, they have no chance. Flacco is not as mobile as Darnold so there won’t be any escapes from the pockets that lead to big plays.
The offensive line has to be better in order for the Jets to stand a chance this week. Wars are won in the trenches and the same in football. If the big guys can’t deliver, the Jets stand no chance against the Cardinals.
Next: 3. Injury management
3. The NY Jets must improve their injury management
This is the most disappointing thing of all. The Jets came into this game on a short week with an already banged-up team and Adam Gase’s foolish decisions cost key players some games. Looking back at it, it’s even more annoying because the Jets lost the game.
First off, Mekhi Becton should not have been in uniform for this one. No excuses.
He was deemed too injured to start, so why is he available to come in after the backup gets hurt? You’re asking, no begging for him to sustain a more serious injury that may cost him a lot more games.
Second is Darnold. He played through an injury. Props to him for playing through it. But at this point, many still believe he has the potential to be the future of the franchise for the next 10 years. In order for that to happen, he needs to stay healthy and be on the field.
Some may disagree with that notion and that’s fine. But he will be out for the Cardinals game and we don’t know when he will be back. So in my mind, this was terrible coaching from Gase once again.
Overall you can’t win games if your best players aren’t on the field and for the Jets, it’s hard enough when they are healthy. But having your starting quarterback and left tackle out is not good at all.
Gase must manage this team better.