The New York Jets hit a new low last night on national television. They were wholly non-competitive and carried the look of a defeated, listless team. Where does this pile of steaming trash go from here?
A few plays can sum up the Jets problems. Below is David Johnson’s first touchdown from last night. First off, Sheldon Richardson is at inside linebacker. This should never happen. It is a poor use of resources that the Jets have three players who play the exact same position but that doesn’t excuse Richardson ever playing linebacker. Rotate Muhammad WIlkerson, Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson at defensive end, slide one inside to play nose tackle occasionally but let your linebackers, as average as they are, play linebacker. Richardson at linebacker, makes both the defensive line and linebacker position worse.
Erin Henderson, who was brought back on a free agent deal this offseason, looks slow, soft and clueless here with a weak arm tackle attempt. First round pick Darron Lee is pancaked coming off the edge. 70 million dollar man Darrelle Revis is easily blocked by Larry Fitzgerald and doesn’t even bothering diving to make a tackle. 22 million dollar man Marcus Gilchrist also manages to get blocked by Fitzgerald instead of being a last line of defense. 25 million dollar man Buster Skrine is easily blocked by John Brown. Hey, at least Revis is leading in some way.
This is a mix of bad (really bad coaching), players regressing to the mean and large investments not paying off. It adds up to a bad defense, who is somehow both not as talented as they are hyped up to be and underachieving. This is a blooper reel of a football play and the veteran leaders on this defense should be ashamed.
On the other side of the ball, Ryan Fitzpatrick is not running an offense anymore. He is dropping back, locking on to Brandon Marshall and throwing him the ball no matter what. This has always been his style of play but is exaggerated to a comical level this season. It is easy to speak in hyperbole at times like these but Fitzpatrick is truly the worst quarterback in the NFL right now and rightly plays completely reckless because there is no accountability for his play.
Extremely bad quarterback play is like a virus that impacts and slowly destroys the rest of the body. The defense loses motivation when their offense scores two touchdowns in four games (this is not a misprint). This is a level of incompetence that hasn’t been reached in the past few decades of Jets quarterback play. The young receivers cannot reach their potential because they are ignored when open or under-thrown when targeted. The running game can’t get going because teams can stack the box because the quarterback can’t beat them over the top. The opposing defense is opportunistic because they know the quarterback is locking on to one target and won’t move away from his first read. This level of quarterback play is like starting each game as a swimmer at the bottom of a pool with an anvil around your ankle.
It seems like the Jets have only kept Geno Smith because Bryce Petty is hurt and Christian Hackenberg is frozen in carbonite somewhere. The Jets are the only team in the NFL who carries four quarterbacks but they have the worst starter in the league. They carry four tight ends but never use their tight ends. An unfortunate newsflash is the Jets aren’t smarter than the rest of the league but are just doing a poor job of managing their roster and developing their players.
There are other problems. Matt Forte looks slow. Calvin Pryor is regressing. The defense cannot force a turnover or sack the quarterback. Muhammad WIlkerson is on a milk carton. Lorenzo Mauldin is a non factor. The team has no edge rushers. Yet, they all fall wayside to the quarterbacking and coaching issues right now.
Words mean nothing. Brandon Marshall said everything he is saying about Ryan Fitzpatrick, about Jay Cutler. He will talk up whoever is throwing him the ball. Ryan Fitzpatrick can say the locker room has his back but Eric Decker is out for the year, Darrelle Revis looks like he is on his way out and the batch of young receivers have no adamant loyalty to him and look exhausted of being missed/ignored on the field. Todd Bowles can say everything is fine and Fitzpatrick isn’t the problem but he is wrong.
Four straight non-competitive losses demands change. There should be changes on the coaching staff. There should be changes to the defensive personnel. There should be changes to the offensive personnel. The schedule isn’t “getting softer” until the Jets show they can win a single football game.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com