If you are a new reader at Turn On The Jets, every Monday we either do a GIF Dump for a victory (only winners get GIFs) or a vent for a loss. This year is a little different as the losses will be more expected than usual. We have changed the name from “Loss Monday” to “Tank Monday.”
Away we go… (Week 1 here)
The New York Jets were 14 point underdogs (the largest of the weekend) for good reason on Sunday. Oakland is a superior team across the board at every position, most importantly quarterback, pass rusher and offensive line. It was their home opener. The Raiders are in the Super Bowl discussion. The Jets are in the 2018 NFL Draft discussion.
There is going to be more than one Sunday like this upcoming for the Jets with New England, Atlanta, Kansas City, Denver, Carolina and Tampa Bay all on their schedule. Mismatches happen in the NFL but the Jets are going to be on the wrong end of some of the more egregious ones in 2017.
Yesterday did not unfold in a surprising manner. The Jets were prepared and competed well in the first half considering the circumstances. This should have been a 14-10 game at the half, if not for a muffed punt by Kalif Raymond. Yet, bad teams are bad on special teams, and do things like not figure out their returner position until making a waiver claim days before the season. It is part of the problem of a weakly constructed roster. A well built team has somebody better than Raymond deep in that situation and maybe has a chance to be competitive in the second half.
A narrative emerging from this game is that the Jets should be generally pleased with their effort. There is a world where this type of narrative is logical coming out of a loss to a team like Oakland. It is a world where the Jets lose by 7-13 points and are competing in the final 5-6 minutes of the game. It isn’t a world where the score was 42-13 with over 12 minutes to play. Despite a pretty first half touchdown from Josh McCown to Jermaine Kearse and a competitive second quarter, this game was a blowout.
The Jets defense allowed 45 points, including a 43 yard touchdown run and a 52 yard touchdown run. Yes, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye played well and that is a very good thing but part of the issue of investing so heavily in the safety position is that both of your starting safeties can play great and you can still nearly allow 50 points. This isn’t dissimilar from the 2012-2014 Jets, where the defensive line always seemed to play well, especially against the run, but the defense was still regularly being gashed for big plays and giving up points in a big spot. Certain positions have a higher value because they make a bigger overall impact week to week. The Jets may have fixed safety long term but it isn’t going to matter if they don’t find a pass rush, cornerbacks and improve the worst starting inside linebacker duo in the NFL.
Darron Lee and Juston Buris were supposed to make big strides this year to validate Mike Maccagnan’s 2016 draft class, which was under question due to the second round selection of perpetual third stringer Christian Hackenberg. Lee has been rag dolled through two weeks, being knocked over repeatedly like below:
GIF: Richard 52 yard TD. Raiders pitch. Ealy/Mo pinned inside. Lee knocked off his feet, clearing lane. Burris can’t recover inside pic.twitter.com/4eXUefTVYE
— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) September 18, 2017
Burris had a harsh welcome to reality yesterday after an easy matchup week 1 (from a receiver perspective). He struggled mightily against Michael Crabtree in his 34 snaps and missed multiple tackles that helped spring big plays. To be fair, he wasn’t supported by much of a pass rush. The Jets recorded zero sacks against Derek Carr and zero quarterback hits. It was a better than week 1 but still a quiet day for Muhammad Wilkerson and a forgettable day for Leonard Williams, who managed 3 tackles but zero TFLs, zero QB hits and zero pressures. Leo is damn good player but yesterday was a reminder any “All-Pro” talk remains premature.
Offensively, if you were surprised that Jeremy Kerley played over 40 snaps while ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen combined for 10, you haven’t been paying attention. It is on the coaching staff for benching young players in a year clearly meant for rebuilding and it is on the front office for even signing Kerley in the first place. It was positive to see Elijah McGuire involved on offense (5 touches, 36 yards) and hopefully it will be a sign of things to come, as despite an improved performance from week 1, Matt Forte touches remain a waste of time for everybody.
The highlight of this game for the Jets was the play of the offensive line, particularly right tackle Brandon Shell, who held his own against arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL, Khalil Mack. If Shell continues on his current trajectory, he has a chance to be Maccagnan’s best pick through his first three years when you factor in round, value, position and the trade up. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum has also got off to a steady start. The Jets offensive line problems were wildly exaggerated in the preseason as most of their issues came from Christian Hackenberg being unable to set protections and holding the ball too long.
Josh McCown was competent, or at least as competent as is to be expected from him. He has quickly developed a nice chemistry with Jermaine Kearse, who is playing good football and caught both of the Jets touchdowns on Sunday. The production of Kearse has been a nice throw in from the Sheldon Richardson trade but it is impeding targets for Robby Anderson, who was moved out of the position (X) that he played all summer to accommodate him. In the short term, Kearse may be better but long term doesn’t Anderson have the higher ceiling? There is a reason Seattle wasn’t hesitant about moving on from Kearse this year.
There were no insanely notable game management errors and Offensive Coordinator John Morton did a better job mixing and matching his calls from week 1. Unfortunately, for Todd Bowles and Kacy Rodgers, they are supervising the worst defense in football right now and they are supposed to be defensive specialists.
The Jets should be competitive next week in their home opener against the Dolphins, who needed a missed field goal to avoid going 0-1 against the Chargers. Miami is currently 5.5 point favorites. On paper, the Jets should have a chance to get 1 or 2 wins over the next three weeks. If they can’t execute now, when will it occur?
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com