From the outside looking in, the NY Jets organization is in a rough place, to say the least. There are Joe Namath's critical comments about Zach Wilson, social media drama from Jets players, and opposing players laughing at the current state of the team.
Unfortunately for the Jets, there is no hiding in the NFL. For the first time in 12 years, the Jets will play on Sunday Night Football in what will be one of the most-watched games of the year. The Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift spectacle will take its next stop at MetLife Stadium.
With a lot of eyes watching, Jets fans can only hope for a better performance than the last two weeks. Let's take a look at the top five players to watch against the Chiefs.
Zach Wilson, QB, NY Jets
This could very well be it for Zach Wilson. The former second-overall pick has struggled mightily in his third season so far and has taken an onslaught of criticism from just about everyone.
Wilson seemed to have shown a little bit of growth against a tough Cowboys defense in Week 2 but completely reverted back last week. The predictable offensive game plan did not help, but it was a winnable game for an NFL quarterback.
Wilson played with no confidence, and his 3.22 seconds to throw, which was the third-highest in the NFL, shows how hesitant he was. This cannot be the case Sunday night. If Wilson is going to go out, he needs to go out swinging. There's nothing to lose at this point.
The Jets signed Trevor Siemian to the practice squad and will likely get him to the 53-man roster sooner rather than later. If Wilson does not perform well this week, we might be watching Siemian start against his former team, the Denver Broncos, in Week 5.
Tim Boyle, QB, NY Jets
Although Wilson will get the start, there is no guarantee he will finish the game. Tim Boyle could see the field if it gets to that point.
The boos at MetLife were loud last week and will only get louder if the struggles for Wilson continue. Wilson was benched twice last season, and although it seems like that is the last thing the Jets want to do this season, their hand might be forced.
If Boyle comes in and leads the offense better than Wilson, it would be hard to see him come back from that.
Mecole Hardman, WR, NY Jets
Mecole Hardman will play against his former team this week… or will he? The Jets offense has struggled so much to this point it is baffling that they cannot get Hardman and his speed on the field.
After not playing a single snap in Week 1, Hardman has only 16 snaps under his belt heading into Week 4. This is inexcusable for an offense that has been so bland.
The Dolphins just scored 70 points last week, largely by using the speed of their players. Hardman is no Tryeke Hill, but he is one of the fastest players in the NFL, and Nathaniel Hackett should be able to find ways to use him.
Sauce Gardner, CB, NY Jets
Sauce Gardner might have the most important defensive role Sunday night. When asked if Gardner would cover Travis Kelce, similarly to when he covered Mark Andrews when they played the Ravens last season, Saleh said, "everything is on the table."
Saleh mentioned it is a different situation, so that might not be the route they go, but that might be their best chance of containing him. For whoever is matched up with Kelce, it will be a long game.
After letting up 358 yards to the Patriots, the Jets defense needs a better showing this week.
Bryce Huff, DE, NY Jets
Much like last season, Bryce Huff has been one of the most effective pass rushers, not just on the Jets but in the entire NFL, and he still is not playing a big enough role.
Per Pro Football Focus, Huff is the highest-graded Jets defender with a 90.0 grade. Huff has 11 total pressures through three games, the third most on the team behind Quinnen Williams (12) and John Franklin-Myers (13). Huff has those 11 in only 49 pass-rush snaps, while Williams and Franklin-Myers both have over 70.
Huff has the highest pass-rush win rate on the Jets at 21.3 percent. That would put him ninth in the NFL among all edge defenders with over 34 pass-rush snaps.
Last season, Huff’s snaps were limited because of his run defense, but this season, he has improved in that regard. Huff’s PFF run-defense grade jumped from 64.9 last season to 80.2 this season.
So far this season, the Jets defensive line has not been as dominant as many have thought, and giving Huff more snaps should help with that.