I did it. I made a mistake. I made THE mistake. I allowed myself to believe. I allowed myself to become prisoner of the moment. In a world where, especially in the NFL, teams, players and coaches alike are either crowned or dragged through the mud on a week to week basis, I let myself become part of it. And against my better judgment. I admit, when Darnold returned for a lights out game against the Cowboys, it was a breath of fresh air. The guy seemed to erase every possible question mark the Jets had. Instead of remaining objective, taking a step back and looking at the big picture which I have always prided myself on, I thought everything was primed for change. Needless to say I was wrong…
Now, I am not going to flip-flip either and say that the sky is falling. It was one bad game. One REALLY bad game. And that bad game didn’t avoid anyone. It falls on everyone: coaches, offense, defense and special teams. All of them are to blame. Sam Darnold was especially bad. But that doesn’t mean his career is over. It doesn’t mean he’s the next Mark Sanchez. It just means that he had a very bad game against a top-notch team (and defense) coached by the greatest defensive mind in the history of the game. So let’s just collectively pump the brakes on saying that Sam Darnold is a lost cause.
What we can say is that this season, albeit loaded with excitement (and rightfully so), was hinged upon extreme rolls of the dice that all needed to land in the Jets favor for it to be a success. Quite the opposite has happened. The Jets needed Adam Gase to be the offensive mastermind and quarterback whisperer Peyton Manning touted him to be. Through six games, that’s not looking good. They needed the offensive line to outperform their collective (and individual) skill set to become a serviceable unit. At this point, if a defense sent me as a fifth rusher I’m confident I could sack Sam Darnold. The defense needed Trumaine Johnson and Daryl Roberts to simply not be awful. Right now, Daryl Roberts couldn’t find the ball if it was shoved up his you-know-what and I’m pretty sure that Stephen Hill would toast Trumaine Johnson for 8-165 and 2 TD’s… all while Trumaine gives him a 15-yard cushion.
Bottom line is that this roster has top talent in a few areas, but little to no depth in too many areas and it simply isn’t good enough to overcome bad coaching and bad play in key areas. That, is a product of bad drafting and bad management in the last 10 years (and specifically in the last 4). This season is not lost. They could make noise. This was the roughest part of the schedule for the Jets, and even had they competed better (ok, MUCH better) than what they did it was still realistic for this team to come out of this at 1-5 or 2-4. However, as we all take a look to the “soft” part of the schedule, we’d be crazy to think that those teams don’t have the Jets circled on their calendars as well.
1. Is it more likely that Adam Gase is an offensive genius/qb whisperer that just needs a stud like Sam Darnold to be successful and the biggest reasons for his 24-30 record as a head coach are Ryan Tannehill and Luke Falk? Or, is it more likely that he is just a good offensive mind who had the benefit of a Hall of Fame Quarterback in Peyton Manning and he really isn’t suited to be an NFL Head Coach?
2. Sam Darnold’s “seeing ghosts” comment is way overblown. The day after the game, we’ve seen people like Kurt Warner and Brett Favre come out and say this is common, because the pressure or threat of pressure was getting to Darnold. It’s not crazy for a 22-year-old QB playing his 16th game to say it.
3. The offensive line is horrendously bad and I’m not confident that they can do anything to fix it by season’s end. Four years of neglect will get you to this point right here.
4. Trumaine Johnson gave Phillip Dorsett a 12-yard cushion, and still got beat by 2 yards for a 26-yard touchdown. I will always yield to the fact that I don’t see what the coaches do, but there is no way to convince me that this guy is the Jets best option at cornerback. He doesn’t deserve playing time.
5. Le’Veon Bell continues to impress, on and off the field.
6. Leonard Williams finally made his impact felt in the second half of a 24-0 game. Great for Leonard. The Jets should trade him before the deadline.
7. The offensive output of the last 9 games Adam Gase has coached are extremely concerning: 10, 7, 10, 8, 3, 0, 6, 24, and 0 points in those games.
8. Sam Darnold did a lot of bad things in this game. His footwork was bad. His decision making was bad. His throws were bad. But, he faced pressure and threw up some balls in hopes his receivers could make plays, and none of them did anything to help him out. The Jets need a serious threat in the passing game that can show up in big spots.
9. The Jets will regret not hiring Matt Rhule.
10. Since 2010, whether it was Rex, Bowles, or Gase, the Jets have consistently come out flat, unprepared, and been humiliated in big spots. As an organization, this has to change. I’m tired of hearing about good weeks of practice. I’m tired of hearing about culture change. Start winning games. Big ones.