If the Jets hope to remain competitive, they need to highlight the positives and improve upon the negatives. In this week’s “Joe Jet 5,” I breakdown the good, the bad, and the ugly, and emphasize what it’s going take to bring down the Pats.
1) Le’Veon Bell
While Bell lost a fumble late in the game this past Monday Night, he was one of the only bright spots on an offense, that is arguably, to date, one of the worst in the NFL. Bell displayed true grit and proved that he was worth every penny the Jets invested.
If anybody ever questioned Bell’s devotion or love for the game, the answer lies within the tears running down his face from the sideline. Bell’s passion moved me, and it’s clear that the Jets are lucky to have him. According to PFF, Bell leads the league in missed tackles, and his below-average YPC is not an accurate representation of how well he’s been playing. Could you imagine his numbers if the OL could actually block?
Many remain concerned that Bell is being overused and I agree that we need to see more of Ty Montgomery—and perhaps Bilal Powell—but this isn’t the game to hold Bell back. He’s had a year to rest, and needs to continue being the “Bell-cow” the Jets paid him to be.
2) Luke Falk
OK, so Luke didn’t completely Falk it up on Monday Night. He was 20/25 with 198 yards in the air. Falk entered the game in the second quarter, after Siemian’s injury, led the Jets to a field goal and orchestrated drives of 45, 57, 58 and 60 yards. Falk wasn’t able to put more points on the board, but the offense seemed more poised and ready for the challenge with him behind center.
Falk thrived in the Pac-12 and maintained a 68.3% completion percentage while at Washington State (in 2015 he finished second in the nation with 69.4%); however, according to NFL.com, almost 74% of Falk’s college pass attempts were under 10 yards, and that’s a concern. He actually seems perfect for Gase’s system, but that approach will not win the game this Sunday. The Pats are a potent offense and, if the Jets hope to bring down “the evil empire,” Luke will need to take some shots and Robby Anderson has to be a big part of the game plan.
3) Benching Trumaine Johnson
It doesn’t matter how much money you make or what name is printed on the back of a jersey, if you don’t put in the effort, or have what it takes, you’re sitting down. I applaud Gregg Williams for his choice to bench Trumaine. It’s going to take tough decisions to field the right group of players and, as of right now, it seems on the defensive side of the ball the Jets are willing to make those moves.
4) Leonard Williams
I’m not going to complain about the Jets defense as a whole because they more than held their own—except for a long TD pass to ODB—this past Monday Night, but what’s going on with “Big Cat”?
I have routinely defended Williams and was expecting a huge year for him. I thoroughly believed Leo would thrive in a Gregg Williams system, but up until now he’s been “just another guy.”
It’s a long season, but he has to show us something this week. The Pats just lost their starting left tackle and are fielding a backup center. It’s going to be hard to defend him against the criticism, if he continues to put up zeros (NO QB HITS and NO SACKS) on the stat sheet.
It’s difficult for me to say this, but if Leo doesn’t take a significant step forward, the Jets should seriously consider moving on from him at the end of the season. Truthfully, at this moment, I think they should have secured a high draft pick for him when they had the chance.
The Ugly and Completely Defunct
5) Offensive Line
I’m getting tired of talking about the offensive line. I know Joe Douglas comes from a culture that emphasizes protecting the QB, so I have hope for the future, but the present has been a nightmare. According to PFF, the Jets rank 28th in pass blocking (53.6 grade) and 27th in run blocking (49.9 grade) this season.
I like Quinnen Williams, but I said it then, and I’ll repeat it now, “the Jets should have traded the third pick in the draft.” I don’t care how many people said Quinnen had the “best film they’ve ever seen.” Honestly, the hype was getting a little ridiculous during draft time. I’m sure he’ll have a good career, but unless he’s sacking QBs like Aaron Donald, the pick is a bust.
The Jets have many holes, but I, for one, wouldn’t complain if they used the majority of their picks on OL. Heck, use every pick on an OL and I don’t think many would complain. This is slightly hyperbolic but, as far as I’m concerned, they don’t need to bring any of the starters back. Maybe the unit still needs time to mesh, but the circumstances remain dire, and the time is now. Prove me wrong, OL!