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NY Jets: 5 most disappointing players halfway through the 2020 season

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

These five NY Jets players have stood out the most as the biggest disappointments of 2020.

The NY Jets‘ expectations heading into 2020 were meager at best. Following a surprising 7-9 finish last season, most expected the Jets to fall short of that mark for a variety of reasons.

A very flawed roster led the way for an incredibly difficult schedule leaving Jets fans feeling very uneasy about a possible improvement on their record from a year ago.

But at the very least, competency was expected. Through the first eight weeks, we haven’t gotten that.

The Jets sit at 0-8 for just the second time in franchise history as the reigning, undisputed worst team in the NFL. In fact, going into their Week 9 matchup with the New England Patriots, the Jets are still on pace for the worst point differential in league history.

Expectations were low, but somehow the Jets managed to massively disappoint regardless. Not that this is anything new, of course.

Blame must be shared by virtually everyone who has contributed to this mess and it’s safe to say that a fair share of individuals have fallen short of expectations this year.

But to stand out as a disappointment in this abysmal disgrace of an organization is something “special.” We take a look at the five biggest disappointments of the 2020 season to this point.

Next: 5. Jordan Jenkins

NY Jets (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

5. Jordan Jenkins, OLB, NY Jets

Jordan Jenkins‘ underwhelming season has somewhat flown under the radar given the struggles of many of his teammates. But make no mistake about it, Jenkins has been a massive disappointment this year.

After accumulating 15 total sacks over the previous two seasons, Jenkins went into the 2020 offseason looking to cash in on a sizable payday. But after his market didn’t develop the way he had hoped, he opted to return to New York on a meager one-year, $5 million contract.

The hope was that he could parlay his success in a contract year into a bigger contract the following offseason. Unfortunately, success has been hard to come by for Jenkins.

The longest-tenured member of the roster, Jenkins is currently ranked as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 99 overall edge defender out of just 113 qualifiers. He’s on pace for the worst year of his career both from an analytics and raw statistics standpoint.

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Jenkins has just one sack and nine total tackles through eight games and has failed to record a single statistic in half of the games he’s played this year. To make matters worse, he’s losing playing time to the likes of Bryce Huff and Tarell Basham who have each showed more promise.

At this rate, Jenkins will be fortunate to receive the same contract that he signed this past offseason when he hits the open market again in March.

His disappointing season has been overlooked by some, but Jenkins certainly hasn’t done himself any favors in 2020.

Next: 4. Blessuan Austin

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

4. Blessuan Austin, CB, NY Jets

Blessuan Austin was one of the Jets’ biggest surprises from the 2019 season. A player who most didn’t even expect to play in his rookie season emerged as one of the team’s brightest young stars with a standout second half.

Aside from a late-season benching, the arrow appeared to be pointing up and the team hoped that Austin would take the next step toward being a true long-term building block in his sophomore NFL season.

But evidently, that hasn’t been the case.

Austin has struggled mightily in a full-time starting role allowing 21 receptions on 33 targets over seven games. His 48.6 PFF grade ranks 97th out of just 116 qualifiers and is a steep drop-off from his very solid 71.4 grade from a year ago.

In fact, if not for his 18th-ranked run-defense grade, he’d likely be ranked as one of the top-15 or so worst cornerbacks in the entire NFL. Yeah, he’s been that bad this season.

This wasn’t the sophomore follow-up that many Jets fans had envisioned. Not only has Austin failed to solidify himself as a long-term building block on defense, but he’ll be lucky to hold on to his starting spot next season.

Honestly, if he continues to struggle as he has been, there’s no guarantee he’ll hold on to that starting job through the remainder of the season.

Austin needs a strong finish to 2020 or else his second season in the NFL will be considered a major disappointment.

Next: 3. Connor McGovern

NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

3. Connor McGovern, C, NY Jets

The only free-agent addition on this list, Connor McGovern was one of the few free-agent signings that brought some considerable hype with him upon his arrival.

Desperate for an upgrade at the center position, the Jets signed one of the best options available on the market inking McGovern to a three-year, $27 million deal.

After a strong season in Denver last year that saw him finish as arguably a top-10 center in the NFL, hopes were high that McGovern could be the long-awaited solution at the position for Gang Green.

But you know the deal by now. That hasn’t happened.

McGovern has become the poster boy for a struggling interior offensive line posting a career-worst PFF grade of 49.1 through eight weeks that ranks 34th in the NFL. There are only 32 starting centers in the league.

Statisctailly, you could argue that he hasn’t even been starting caliber.

McGovern has surrendered two sacks and committed a pair of penalties, but that doesn’t express the extent of his struggles. There’s still time for him to turn things around, but the early results certainly haven’t been promising.

And considering the offseason hype, he’s arguably the biggest disappointment of Joe Douglas’ first free-agent class.

Next: 2. Sam Darnold

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

2. Sam Darnold, QB, NY Jets

Everyone should have known this would be coming. You could make all the excuses you want. You can attempt to rationalize his struggles with fair, but irrelevant justifications.

At the end of the day, Sam Darnold has been a massive disappointment in 2020. Whether you place the blame solely on him, partially on him, or not at all on him, it really doesn’t matter.

Facts are facts. And Darnold’s struggles are as factual as it gets.

To put it rather simply, Darnold has regressed in 2020. As opposed to finally taking the step forward that many Jets fans have been hoping that he would take, Darnold has put together arguably the worst season of his career to this point.

In six games played, the former No. 3 overall pick has thrown for just three touchdowns and tossed six interceptions. He’s averaging an ugly 5.5 yards per attempt, has a completion percentage of under 60 percent, and one of the worst QB ratings in the league.

Turnovers, missed reads, inaccuracies — it’s all been there. Yes, it’s the same story of him working with an abysmal supporting cast and an incompetent coaching staff. He’s been done absolutely no favors by his organization.

Related Story. NY Jets completely revamp offense in 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

But the fact of the matter is that Darnold hasn’t been a part of the solution this year. And you could certainly argue that he’s been one of the Jets’ biggest problems.

And no, just because he’s been slightly better than Joe Flacco doesn’t mean anything. Darnold has legitimately regressed independently of his situation and comparing him to a backup quarterback isn’t a strong argument.

Make all the excuses you want, but the NFL won’t care. And neither will the Jets. Sam Darnold has been a major letdown in 2020, and it very well might cost him his job.

Next: 1. Chris Herndon

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chris Herndon, TE, NY Jets

There was never going to be any other player at this spot. To be the biggest disappointment on an 0-8 team, you have to have truly been awful through the first half of the season.

There can be no silver linings, no glimmers of positivity, and most certainly no hope. That, in a nutshell, describes Chris Herndon‘s season.

Arguably no player entered the year with more training-camp hype than Herndon. After a suspension and injuries wiped out his 2019 season, the Jets expected Herndon to pick up where he left off in his rookie campaign when he returned to the field in 2020.

The reports from training camp were overwhelmingly positive. Herndon was the focal point of the offense and looked primed to be the Jets’ breakout star.

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But my goodness, has it been anything but. Never before has a player so drastically fallen off for seemingly no reason at all.

Dropped passes and fumbles have been the story of Herndon’s season and the once building block of the offense has been relegated to a part-time role splitting snaps with the equally-awful Ryan Griffin.

It’s unclear where things went wrong exactly, but Herndon has exactly one catch now in his last three games — a tight end screen that went for a grand total of three yards before he fumbled it and turned the ball over.

No play better exemplifies Herndon’s season.

Barring an extreme turnaround in the second half of the season, the Jets might be looking for a new tight end in the offseason. And that’s something no one anticipated being the case this past summer.

Next. NY Jets: 3 surprising standouts at the halfway point of the 2020 season

You’d be hard-pressed to find a player in the entire NFL who has fallen so far short of expectations as Chris Herndon has in 2020.

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