Sam Darnold has regressed. As I have stated before, it’s not time to hit the panic button, but he has clearly taken a step backward from where he finished the season in 2018. This is not to say it can’t be salvaged. It absolutely can. Sam Darnold will still be a good quarterback in this league. Possibly a great one. However, we can’t turn a blind eye to the facts.
In 2018, in 13 games played, a Sam Darnold led Jets offense scored more than 20 points in 6 of those games, topping 30 points 3 times, and 40 points once. This was, inarguably, with a worse supporting cast and Jeremy Bates calling plays.
Through 5 games that Sam Darnold has played in 2019, the Jets offense has scored 20 points only once, and has managed only 8, 0, 15 and 18 points in the other 4 games.
The offensive line has been terrible in the first half of this season, but were their players any better last season? Spencer Long couldn’t snap the ball. James Carpenter was a turnstile and penalty machine. Brian Winters and Brandon Shell were the same. And I would argue that the combination of Jonotthan Harrison and Ryan Kalil would absolutely be better than Spencer Long. Beachum has been hurt, and that has caused some shifting and thrust Edoga into the starting lineup. However, on paper, this 2019 line should be an upgrade. They have performed worse. By a wide margin.
How about the Jets weapons? Have they downgraded in a year? Yes, they haven’t had a healthy Chris Herndon, but would anyone take Deontay Burnett, Andre Roberts, and Isiaiah Crowell over Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, and Demariyus Thomas? I didn’t think so.
The facts are that this team is 1-7. The offense is averaging 9 points a game. The offensive line can’t block. The defense can’t rush the passer. The corners can’t cover, and when they can, they can’t find the ball. Everybody is injured. They just lost a game to a team that is actively trying to lose. They’ve been outscored by over two touchdowns per game. And the 22-year-old franchise quarterback has taken a clear step in the wrong direction.
All signs point to one common denominator: Adam Gase.
One of the best traits of a leader is to be able to self-reflect. To recognize and admit a mistake when it is made, and to do what is necessary to course correct.
Christopher Johnson, it’s time to step up. Gase has to go.
1. The entire organization criminally overvalued their cornerback position this offseason. I am not saying that the front office and coaching staff felt that a combination of Roberts and Johnson were going to be the second coming of Revis and Cromartie, but they did feel comfortable enough to roll with them as starters for the season. After looking at the 2018 season, where Trumaine Johnson grossly underperformed and Roberts was so good at cornerback he was moved to safety, this was a massive mistake.
2. Mike Gesicki had 355 yards receiving in his career up until Sunday. He torched the Jets for 6 catches and 95 yards.
3. It has become abundantly clear why Adam Gase was against the Le’Veon Bell signing: He has no idea how to use him.
4. After years and years of investing heavily in the interior defensive line, the Jets still cannot generate a pass rush.
5. Can we ever have a coach that understands clock management?
6. Chuma Edoga lazily jogging and not touching a sole on the designed rollout that led to Sam Darnold’s red zone interception is a sad metaphor for this entire season.
7. There is not one former Jets coaching staff from Parcells to Bowles that I wouldn’t take over the current staff.
8. The litany of injuries the Jets have had across the board, coupled with the time it has taken for those players to return, is a MAJOR concern.
9. It is still early, but Vyncint Smith appears to be a good find.
10. I understand, but don’t buy in to the thought that the Jets may become “radioactive” to coaching candidates if they fire a first-year head coach after 8 games. I also understand the thought process behind giving a coach enough time to see his vision and plan through. However, through 8 games, this team has clearly become worse in every aspect. There is no improvement, anywhere. Adam Gase has shown no reason for optimism throughout his short tenure. However, the Jets could keep him. And he could turn things around.
But what if he stays and things continue to get worse?