The NY Jets knew that they had their work cut out for them in a difficult Week 2 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. With Aaron Rodgers out, the Jets were relying on third-year quarterback Zach Wilson to lead their offense.
They were aware of the challenges they would face and put up in some extra work last week to properly prepare for a tough Cowboys defense. They simplified the playbook and spent many additional hours devising a game plan that would allow the Jets to find success on offense.
The result of all that extra effort was what we saw on Sunday — a disappointing, abysmal showing in which the Jets' offense looked woefully unprepared for everything the Cowboys threw at them. The Zach Wilson excuse doesn't fly, either.
The Athletic's Dianna Russini reported before the game that Jets offensive line coach Keith Carter had "logged extra hours [last] week getting the offensive line group ready for a game plan to not only protect Wilson but also help ignite an expected strong ground game."
Needless to say, Carter's game plan failed. And it's worth questioning what his game plan was in the first place.
The NY Jets offensive game plan failed on Sunday
The Jets knew that they were going up against one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, led by superstar Micah Parsons. The Cowboys even had Parsons prepare for the Jets by double and triple-teaming him in practice.
The expectation was that the Jets would do everything in their power to limit Parsons on Sunday. Instead, they played right into the Cowboys' strengths and let Parsons wreak havoc on a struggling Jets offensive line.
The Jets asked Duane Brown to block Parsons one-on-one, with no help from additional blockers, on a shocking 14 snaps in Sunday's game. That's a lot to ask any offensive tackle in the NFL to handle, let alone a 38-year-old who missed most of the summer recovering from major shoulder surgery.
Parsons responded by racking up a whopping nine pressures, four QB hits, and two sacks. He single-handedly changed the complexion of the game, and it's because the Jets allowed him to.
That's the best Carter and the Jets were able to come up with, despite the extra hours of planning they put in. Perhaps that's what makes Sunday's performance so embarrassing for the coaching staff.
On top of that, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's questionable personnel usage continues to be an issue. Hackett's refusal to play Jeremy Ruckert, the team's best run-blocking tight end, more than five snaps on Sunday is puzzling.
Ruckert is Pro Football Focus' highest-graded run-blocking tight end through two weeks. Meanwhile, C.J. Uzomah finished dead last among all 79 tight ends in the NFL in PFF run-block grade in Week 2.
Uzomah continues to be an important part of the offense, even lining up at wide receiver in some formations. All the while, Ruckert sat on the bench while the Jets struggled to get their ground game going.
Even the Jets' approach to their rushing attack made no sense. Despite the team finding success running behind the right side of their offensive line, the Jets continued to run primarily to the left.
The Jets rushed eight times for 18 yards when running to the left. They only ran to the right twice, but each play gained six yards.
As it turns out, running behind Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton — the team's best run blockers — is a good idea. Running behind Duane Brown and Laken Tomlinson, especially with Micah Parsons on that side, is a bad idea.
This is simple stuff that anyone watching from home could point out. The numbers show it, too. The film definitely shows it.
The Jets came out with one of the worst game plans they could have put together on Sunday. They played into the Cowboys' strengths, gave Parsons every opportunity to take over the game, and limited the effectiveness of their own players.
That's bad coaching, and it falls largely on the duo of Hackett and Carter.
Maybe this proves that spending extra time to prepare doesn't always yield better results. Or perhaps it just shows that the Jets might not have the right guys in charge.
Either way, changes need to be made entering Week 3. The Jets aren't going to find success with this type of offensive game plan.