New York Jets Quarter Pole Analysis – The Good, The Bad and The Painfully Ugly

Joe Caporoso with a quarter pole analysis of the New York Jets 2018 season

The New York Jets are one fourth of the way through their 2018 schedule, which means it is a perfect time to step back to analyze what we have seen so far, project what we may see going forward, overreact to a few things and bring some levity to another potentially disappointing season. 

The Expectations 

Despite their Twilight Zone 3rd quarter en route to one of their more enjoyable blowout wins in recent memory, it is fair to say the Jets have been a disappointment so far. 1-3 in a vacuum is not all that shocking but giving away a winnable Miami game thanks to multiple dumb and easily avoidable mistakes, choking away a 14 point lead to Cleveland and then getting thrashed in Jacksonville, puts a little more salt in the wound. This team is still doing most of things they always have done in the Maccagnan/Bowles era, which is not a good thing since they are 21-31 since both took over. They have the same glaring roster problems and play the same brand of overly conservative, undisciplined, unintelligent football. Sam Darnold excitement aside, it is frequently exhausting and mind numbing to watch.

This writer picked the Jets to finish 7-9, which feels generous at the moment. We are going to find out during the upcoming three game home stretch whether this season is going to be a 2014, 4-12 repeat that ends with a coach and potentially a GM being fired or whether they are going to claw back, tread water around .500 and show any tangible progress from last season. This is a week to week league, where there are bizarre outcomes every week. Everybody is eminently beatable at the moment, except for the Rams and Chiefs. The Jets should be taking part in that parity (then again they also should have been during their current 7 year playoff drought). I’m not bailing on my 7-9 prediction but as it stands today 5-11 or 6-10 seems more realistic.

The Good 

Quincy Enunwa is fully healthy and the team’s best overall player so far. The Jets would be wise to lock him up with a new contract sooner rather later, as he has continued to show an ability to play effectively all over the formation, be a beast after the catch and a viable contributor as a blocker. He is currently on pace for 84 receptions, 1,112 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Henry Anderson has been a steal for a 7th round pick, pacing the Jets with 2.5 sacks and being their most consistently disruptive defensive lineman against the pass. The Jets needed a quality running mate for Leonard Williams (we’ll get to him later but not in this section) and they found one for next to nothing.

After a somewhat slow start, Avery Williamson has looked the part of a quality value free agent signing. He has had multiple impact plays over the past few weeks and is filling the gap of what Demario Davis provided the defense last year, in a cheaper/younger package.

Jamal Adams is an improved player from last year, despite a middling performance against Jacksonville last week. He looks more fluid in coverage and remains a heat seeking missile around the line of scrimmage. Despite that, he is yet to truly breakthrough as one of the game’s top players at his position and is so far being outplayed by the top safety taken in this year’s draft, Derwin James. The performance of other players doesn’t impact the Jets but Adams sets a very public high bar for himself, the Jets secondary and the Jets culture. He is a very good football player but unfortunately “New Jack City” remains more bark than bite.

Andre Roberts is the best returner the Jets have had since Joe McKnight (RIP).

It was only one quarter – but how about that 3rd quarter against Detroit?

  • Bilal Powell remains the team’s best running back by a decent margin and an underrated weapon, who is more explosive than he is given credit for.
  • Frankie Luvu was a nice find as a UDFA for the outside linebacker/edge rusher rotation.
  • Steve McLendon is still a quality two down nose tackle on a fair contract.

The Bad 

Trumaine Johnson is the second highest paid cornerback in the NFL right now. Through four weeks, he has left two games with a concussion, fumbled away his only interception, picked up multiple personal fouls, including one that put Baker Mayfield in the game against Cleveland and been scorched by Donte Moncrief for a long touchdown.

The Jets offensive line has been bulled around, particularly the past two weeks. Spencer Long has barely been average, despite being an upgrade over Wesley Johnson. Kelvin Beachum has racked up three penalties already this year and looks overmatched far too frequently for a left tackle protecting a franchise quarterback.

Isiah Crowell has done absolutely nothing outside of his 62 yard touchdown run against Detroit, averaging 2.6 yards on every other carry, struggling in pass protection and bringing nothing as a receiver. He did pick up a personal foul on this ridiculous celebration and laugh about it after (it is pretty funny, to be fair).

Terrelle Pryor has clearly demonstrated why he is one of the most disliked players in the NFL, loafing all over the field and getting himself benched by week 4. It would not be surprising if he was cut before the season was over.

Buster Skrine is still Buster Skrine. He is the team’s fourth highest paid player and is a liability every single week. For the second year in a row, he was a major reason the Jets lost a divisional game to the Miami Dolphins.

Leonard Williams still not making “the leap.” For the last time, when you take a player 6th overall and he is proclaimed “the best player in the class,” you expect him to be able to produce even when double teamed (even though he isn’t double teamed all that much), even when he doesn’t have help (even though he does at defensive end) and even when his coach isn’t great. Williams can do everything he wants that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, the Jets need more from him…on the stat sheet.

Jeremy Bates is calling plays like somebody who spent most of the past decade on a walkabout like he was John Locke. The Jets are playing checkers on offense right now, predictable, overly basic checkers while trying to force a zone blocking scheme on linemen who don’t have skill sets conducive to it.

The Painfully Ugly 

Todd Bowles punting down 13 points with 5 minutes left. Todd Bowles kicking a field goal down 22 points in the second half. Todd Bowles always making the most conservative decision possible and playing every single game not to lose to the point of driving everybody insane.

Mike Maccagnan’s 2015 draft class which has nobody on the roster except Leonard Williams. Mike Maccagnan’s 2017 draft class which has already yielded a cut third rounder, fourth rounder, fifth rounder and sixth rounder, along with another sixth rounder on short term IR.

Every Jets fan alive knowing the second Baker Mayfield came into the Thursday Night game that the Jets would lose…and being right.

3rd and 19 to Frank Gore.

Every quote about the culture changing.

FIX THE HEADSETS AND GET THE PLAYS IN ON TIME! I AM NOT YELLING, WHO IS YELLING?

The Sam 

It has been an up and down start to the season for Darnold (SURPRISE, SURPRISE). The past two weeks he has had a little bit of happy feet in the pocket and has been inaccurate, particularly when attacking down the field. There has been flashes of brilliance, particularly when the pocket breaks down and he creates on the run. He is on pace for 20 interceptions, which is higher than anybody want to see but also has avoided any fumbles, a major problem for him at USC. He has demonstrated a short memory and an ability to make plays down the field in the first two weeks (see, Robby Anderson touchdown, Chris Herndon drop versus Miami). There is no reason any Jets fan should be panicking about Darnold at this point, there has been enough good with the bad to meet expectations for a 21 year making his first four career starts. The future is still bright at quarterback.

The Rest Of The Rookies?

  • Nathan Shepherd – 3 tackles in 4 games and playing anywhere from 15-30 snaps each week. He has lost playing time to Anderson.
  • Chris Herndon – Received a bump in playing time because of Neal Sterling’s injury. There has been flashes of athleticism and pass catching ability but he’s had more negative than positive so far.
  • Parry Nickerson – Has seen a little action when Buster Skrine got banged up. Called for a personal foul on his first NFL play.
  • Foley Fatukasi –Inactive every week.
  • Trenton Cannon – Has not played on offense since garbage time in week 1.

Random Statistical Pacing

  • Robby Anderson: 32 receptions, 432 yards, 8 fumbles
  • Henry Anderson: 10 sacks
  • Bilal Powell: 1,100 offensive yards
  • Isiah Crowell: 684 rushing yards
  • Leonard Williams: 4 sacks

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports