The New York Jets have now lost three games in a row to drop their record to 3-6. Instead of pouring over Sunday’s slop-fest again, which I did right here, let’s take a step back to review what the team should do the rest of the season…now that their season is over again in early November, a tradition like no other! This is not a comprehensive organizational overhaul discussion, which we’ll save for the bye week, rather this is what the team should do over their final seven games in an attempt to squeeze some value out of them.
While I no longer think it is out of the question for Chris Johnson to fire Todd Bowles midseason, it is still an unlikely outcome. They are more likely to ride it out and make any change in the offseason, especially since there is no logical in house candidate to be the interim Head Coach. Sorry, Jeremy Bates and Kacy Rodgers, you have not earned a promotion. If midseason firings were on the table, I’d advocate firing both Bowles and Bates today before their game planning and game management does any more damage to Sam Darnold. Putting that aside, if they (and the rest of the staff) is reading, here is the best way to make chicken salad out of the chicken feces you’ve been handed over the last seven games:
Offensively, the Jets need to bench Spencer Long for the Buffalo game and if he isn’t 100% after the bye week, continue to sit him until he is fully healthy. There is no tangible proof that Jonotthan Harrison is all that worse than Long, putting snapping the football issues aside, so the Jets should not hesitate to play him and also not hesitate to take their out in Long’s contract when this season is over. They should deactivate Jermaine Kearse, who has been abysmal this season and will not be on the team in 2019. Whatever reps he was going to receive, redirect them to Deontay Burnett and Rishard Matthews to see if either merit a role in 2019. The only four receivers who should be playing and receiving targets are those two, Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa.
Neal Sterling has sustained multiple head injuries this year and is unlikely to be able to play much down the stretch. The Jets should put him on IR, bring back Clive Walford who was competent in the preseason and make him the second tight end behind Chris Herndon. Stop playing Eric Tomlinson, who is a glorified tackle who cannot block and stop playing Jordan Leggett who does nothing but occupy space on the field. It sounds silly to bring back a preseason JAG but he is at least competent enough to play reps behind Herndon, who should be a focal point of the offense moving forward, unlike Tomlinson and Leggett.
At running back, the Jets need to sit Isaiah Crowell for a week and give him the bye week to get back to 100%. He is either currently hurt or just not very good. Outside of the Denver game, he has been pedestrian at best and is a huge liability in the passing game. The Jets should also be looking for an out in his contract after this season. Elijah McGuire should function as the lead back and while Trenton Cannon is probably not a NFL running back, the Jets should give him a longer look at least situationally to see if he merits a spot next year.
From a play calling perspective, the Jets desperately need to change up their tempo. Every snap is up against the play clock. Sam Darnold has looked comfortable when they spread out and run a hurry up. Don’t just do that in the final minutes of the first half, mix it during other series earlier in the year. They also need to demonstrate some type of first down play calling variety and try a few creative looks with him. How about a few more snaps of RPO? How about a more complex screen game that is not so easily sniffed out? How about one vertical shot per quarter to loosen the defense up?
Defensively, the Jets are playing pretty well and there is limited flexibility on changes to be made. As we get into December, it is worth taking a longer look at both Derrick Jones and Parry Nickerson at cornerback and potentially activating Foley Fatukasi for a few games. Nobody knows what the deal is with Trumaine Johnson but it would be nice to see him make any type of positive impact down the stretch, if/when he can get back on the field.
Overall, the Jets are going to be underdogs in every game the rest of the season except their two matchups with Buffalo. They will not do any of these things but play loose, play aggressive, empty out the playbook. You are not beating New England, Houston or Green Bay straight up. The kitchen sink needs to be throw at them to even be competitive. At least go down swinging instead of whimpering to the end in a slew of 30-9 losses.