The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – 2019 New York Jets Offensive Weapons

Stephen Russo with the good, the bad and the ugly from the New York Jets offensive weapons in 2019

Prior to the start of last season, it appeared as if the Jets took their first step into this century and bought into offensive football. While the hire was controversial, they went for an offensive coach in Adam Gase, a small step in the right direction. The organization recognized a serious asset in Sam Darnold, and also realized that if you want your young Quarterback to thrive, you surround him with talent. So, they signed Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, and figured that pairing them with Chris Herndon, Quincy Enunwa, and Robby Anderson would lead to the “electric” offense that Sam Darnold and Adam Gase had envisioned when the season started. Well, weren’t we in for a rude awakening?

Allow me to take a look at the top weapons individually and grade them on a pretty simple scale: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.


New York Jets 2019 Grades – The Defensive Line

Stephen Russo grades out the New York Jets defensive line in 2019

The Jets entire defensive unit, and in particular, their defensive line, was a strongpoint of the team in the 2019 season. With heavy investments made both in the draft and free agency in recent years, the defensive line should be a strength. Let’s take a closer look at how the unit performed this past season.


Grading the 2019 New York Jets – The Offensive Line

Stephen Russo grades out the New York Jets offensive line in 2020

The Jets offensive line was quite the story for the 2019 season. From injuries to miscommunication to an inability to block a zero blitz, this unit showed it all… and not in a good way. For too many years, and specifically under Mike Maccagnan, Jets fans and media alike were clamoring for more attention to be paid to this unit. But still, no investment was made and it reared its ugly head in 2019. This position group, which was marginal at best coming into the season, was a major disappointment.

To add salt in the wound, they were oft-injured as well, starting 11 different lineman and nine different line combinations during the season. A lauded Hail Mary by new GM Joe Douglas before the season to lure Ryan Kalil out of retirement to come play center was a huge swing and a miss, and his season ending injury proved to be a blessing in disguise as Jonotthan Harrison filled in much better for the latter part of the season. Early season struggles from Kelvin Beachum (he’s still having nightmares of Myles Garrett) and Brian Winters, a turnstile rotation at right tackle between Brandon Shell and Chuma Edoga, and continual miscommunication and incompetence paved the way for an abysmal season for the Jets’ offensive line.


New York Jets 1st & 10 – Final Thoughts on the 2019 Season

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on his final thoughts on the New York Jets 2019 season and what comes next…


I believe in Sam Darnold. Did he make some head-scratching throws this season? Sure. Did he continue to make mistakes that he made in his rookie year? Yes. Was his start on MNF against the Patriots awful? Absolutely! But he also made strides forward and bounced back from a difficult first half of the season for an impressive second half. He is a 22-year-old kid who has played 26 games in 2 years, and has overcome bad offensive lines, subpar coaching, and limited offensive weapons to improve in nearly all statistical categories, throw more touchdowns than interceptions in both years, and get himself to a winning record as a starting quarterback in 2019.  That’s progress.


New York Jets 1st & 10 – Ugly Winning

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the narratives around the New York Jets season and their ugly win over Pittsburgh


It seems as though there are only two possible narratives on this 2019 Jets’ season that has been, in a word, underwhelming. Regardless of the current record and the chance for this team to get to 7-9 with a win over a JV Bills team in Buffalo to improve their win total 3 games from 2018, I believe it’s safe to say that more was expected. Fans needed more from Adam Gase. We wanted to see more progress from Sam Darnold. We thought Le’Veon Bell would be more reminiscent of his Pittsburgh days. And basically, we felt that the offense and this team would be more competitive than it has been all season. I think, to varying degrees, everyone (well most everyone, I am speaking to Jets fans) can agree that all of those things are true.


My Christmas Wish List for GM Joe Douglas

Stephen Russo with an offseason wish list for Joe Douglas and the New York Jets

‘Tis the season for giving. But, in the world of a Jets fan, ‘tis the season for wishing. While this roller coaster of a year winds down and results in a way that many of us feared it would, the offseason is right around the corner and our wish list is growing. For far too many years, the March through August stretch has been the most exciting time for Jets fans. The hope builds, the “on paper” discussions begin, and the actual play on the field isn’t given the chance to crush our dreams.

This feeling is all too familiar, but as the calendar turns to 2020 the Jets fanbase will have something to look forward to that they haven’t had in, well, forever… an undeniable blind faith in a General Manager. You’d have to go back to Bill Parcells to find a hire that was as universally accepted among Jets fans. That correlation is fitting because new GM Joe Douglas will be tasked with doing exactly what Bill Parcells did more than 20 years ago: propelling this organization out of mediocrity.

As the holidays quickly approach, I have given it my best shot at an offseason wish list for Jets new General Manager, Joe Douglas. Here we go!


New York Jets 1st & 10 – Ugly Wins

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the Jets ugly win over the Miami Dolphins


A win is a win. In this league, you’ll take it. While the narrative is different because the Jets are now 5-8, this is a game that would have been deemed a “gutty” performance had it gotten the Jets to 8-5. The truth is that ugly wins count just as much as dominant wins and are the marks of a good team. The other truth is that the last nine years of ugly football and the first 11 months of Adam Gase’s tenure with the Jets haven’t afforded this team much in the way of credit for ugly wins.


New York Jets 1st & 10 – The (Previously) Winless Bengals?

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets loss to the Cincinnati Bengals


They certainly have a way, don’t they? They build you up. They give you hope. They make you think it’s possible. Then it all comes crashing down before your eyes as Andy Dalton and Carlos Dunlap of the 0-11 Bengals tear them to shreds and ruin any last bit of promise this awful season had. It takes a true masochist to be a Jets fan. And this season has tested everyone’s pain threshold.

Following the season’s undoubted best performance against Oakland last Sunday, every single problem the Jets were somehow able to mask the last three games came back in an ugly way. Adam Gase forgot how to call plays and refused to make any adjustments. The offensive line was unable to block and seemed to be flagged every other play. The Jets defensive line that has played well in recent weeks couldn’t so much as sniff Andy Dalton.


New York Jets 1st & 10 – Big Things vs. Oakland

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets big win over the Oakland Raiders


This was the statement win the Jets needed. The Jets, for the moment, somewhat solidified the shaky ground they have found themselves on. They beat a quality opponent, top to bottom, in a dominant fashion.

The Oakland Raiders came into Sunday on a three-game winning streak, with a formidable running game and Derek Carr in the midst of a career year, and the Jets wiped the floor with them. The Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead on their first drive and didn’t come close to the end zone after that.


New York Jets 1st & 10 – Convincing Win at Washington

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets win over the Washington Redskins

Sam Darnold is back. Aside from one poor decision and throw, the kid had one of his best game as a pro. Darnold looked every bit the part of a franchise quarterback, and THE franchise quarterback, the Jets want him to be. He made plays from the pocket. He made plays rolling out. He made plays off-script. Darnold was masterful. He hit seven different receivers in total, and threw four touchdowns to four different receivers.

Yes, this game was against the Redskins. But the Redskins are still an NFL franchise with players like Ryan Kerrigan, Josh Norman and Landon Collins on their defense. When things have looked as bleak offensively as they have for the Jets through 9 games, you need games like this.