A closer look at the NY Jets' penalty issues in 2023

The Jets have suddenly become one of the most penalized teams in the NFL
NY Jets, Jeremy Ruckert, Zach Wilson, C.J. Uzomah
NY Jets, Jeremy Ruckert, Zach Wilson, C.J. Uzomah / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

This one doesn’t require any sophisticated football knowledge or analysis to understand. My wife watches these games with me, and her most consistent feedback of late has been about the overwhelming amount of backbreaking penalties the NY Jets accrue.

After averaging only 3.3 penalties per game in their first three games, the Jets suddenly became one of the most penalized teams in the league where, in each of the last six games, the team has accrued anywhere between seven and nine penalties. For reference, the league range this season for penalties per game is 4.8 (Minnesota Vikings) to 7.7 (Dallas Cowboys).

Who is most to blame for the NY Jets penalty woes?

Who are the biggest culprits? Mekhi Becton (5), Allen Lazard (4), and Connor McGovern (3) combine for 20 percent of the team’s total penalties.

Still, the Jets player who has been penalized for the most yardage is Quincy Williams, whose 45 yards reflect an eager ball hawk who’s been dinged for unnecessary roughness a few times. As a unit, the offense has 31 penalties for 233 yards, and the defense has 25 penalties for 190 yards.

I know the offense seems to be the biggest culprit, and as of late, they have been — in the last two games, they had 12 penalties for 103 yards vs. four penalties for 20 yards on the defense.

Six of the top 10 of the Jets' biggest offenders by yardage this season are on the offensive side of the ball. Yes, C.J. Uzomah is one of the six.

The four defenders who appear in the top 10 are both Williams brothers, Jermaine Johnson, and breakout star Bryce Huff. For those four, it seems like we’ll live with the occasional hiccups.

For the offense, however, this is inexcusable because the yardage is killing drives. At least the defense has shown the ability to bend and not break (allow a touchdown) at one of the best rates in the league. The offense is the worst scoring unit in the league, and last week, we saw a careless penalty wipe a touchdown off the board.

Can Robert Saleh, Nathaniel Hackett, and Jeff Ulbrich get these guys in line and clean up the sloppy plays? Against a talented (albeit injured and reeling) Buffalo Bills team, there will not be room for error if the Jets truly plan on turning this season around.