After two good starts for rookie Sam Darnold, he finally came back to Earth against the Browns on Thursday Night Football. But the loss wasn’t all on Darnolds shoulders. The honeymoon of the Monday night win is all gone. Here’s my Week 3 report card.
Sam Darnold put in his first clunker of the year against a ferocious front seven. The offensive line nor the play calling did him any favors but for the first time he looked flustered. The interception to Kearse was as bad as it gets. While Darnold is good on the run (and granted they played a good Browns defense), Jeremy Bates needs to start calling for more plays where Darnold is in the pocket. I’m not sure when that comes considering they play the Jaguars and the Broncos the next two weeks but it has to happen at some point. Darnold will learn from this. He will be better. He is only twenty one years old. Chill. Out.
Running Backs: B
The Jets got up over 100 yards rushing again mainly on the back of Bilal Powell (14 carries, 73 yards). Isaiah Crowell had the two touchdowns but didn’t do much outside of those (16 carries, 34 yards). Cleveland did a great job of bottling up the middle of the field and forcing the Jets to run outside, to which Powell did most of his work. The offensive line still needs to play better if the Jets want a consistent run game to help Darnold.
Wide Receivers: C-
The only thing stopping this from becoming an F was Quincy Enunwa, who is fourth in the NFL in total targets. He’s a monster and always will be. Robby Anderson? Hold onto the ball. Terrelle Pryor? Where you at? Jermaine Kearse was the only other receiver besides Enunwa who caught more than two passes (3 rec, 35 yards on six targets). We spent all offseason banging our fists on the table that this Jets receiving core was good. It didn’t look like that Thursday.
Tight Ends: D
I guess we’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that we probably aren’t going to see much receiving production from this group. Eric Tomlinson had one catch for 14 yards (who is quietly a good YAC guy) and Chris Herndon had two catches for -1 yards on two targets. They were mainly put in to block and give some relief to the offensive line which they did a fairly decent job at. Other than that, not much to write home about.
Offensive Line: C-
It’s not an easy job going up against this front seven that Cleveland trots out. Brandon Shell and Kelvin Beachum were okay while the interior guys got killed all night. The cohesive unit had Darnold running for his life on most plays and with no push from the interior forced the Jets to run the ball outside. It’s going to be a problem all season long and they don’t get any breaks with Jacksonville and Denver coming up.
Defensive Line: B
Not sure if anyone would have guessed that Leonard Williams would be the least productive member of this group through three games but here we are. Big Cat didn’t register a single stat the entire game and played the entire game. The first half was a lot better than the second half where the entire defense looked gassed. Henry Anderson continued to be productive in generating pressure (.5 sack and .5 TFL) and Steve McLendon is still a beast in the middle. Big Cat needs to step up and start to live up to that sixth overall pick hype.
Avery Williamson had 1.5 sacks and led the team in tackles. Darron Lee continued his upward trend this season. This linebacker group looked good and were getting pressure from Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland. Again, the first half was a lot better than the second half where they couldn’t get any pressure and Baker Mayfield carved up the middle of the field. They need to get better in coverage.
Trumaine Johnson struggled in his third consecutive game and committed two dumb penalties while also leaving in concussion protocol for the second time in three games. He was bailed out by Tyrod Taylors lackluster arm strength on a deep ball to Antonio Callaway. Jamal Adams was the shining star once again, but doing most of his damage near the line. Parry Nickerson subbed in for Buster Skrine when he left with an injury and got destroyed by Jarvis Landry.
The outside corners played okay in the grand scheme of things (Johnson wasn’t terrible but did struggle for most of the night and Mo Claiborne I thought played fairly well most of the night). There’s one thing that’s clearly apparent: this team misses Marcus Maye more than we thought. Doug Middleton ain’t it.
Special Teams: B-
The Jets did nothing in the return game outside of one good Andre Roberts run back. Jason Meyers made both of his extra points and also made his only field goal attempt. Lachlan Edwards is still a monster and had three of his seven (ugh) punts pinned inside the 20.
In the first half, it was very good defensively. They got after the quarterback and didn’t allow the Browns to do much of anything on offense. After Baker Mayfield came in, they didn’t adjust their defense and Mayfield picked them apart in the middle of the field. Bowles once again doesn’t make a halftime adjustment and it cost him.
Jeremy Bates didn’t call a great game. Too many bootlegs that had Darnold running for his life and they didn’t take many shots downfield which I can understand due to the opponent but you’d still like to see a shot.
It’s year four of Bowles and the same things that cost them games in the first three years are still showing up. Stupid after the play penalties. Coaching not to lose with a 14-3 lead. Not adjusting. He hasn’t progressed as a head coach and you have to wonder if his seat is getting hotter.