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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We are a few days removed from the Jets’ monumental win over their 2-7 crosstown rivals, the Giants, and anointing themselves Kings of New York as they improved to an impressive 2-7 record. If you’re picking up my sarcasm, I would quote David Spade from Tommy Boy and say “well I should hope so because I am laying it on pretty thick.” The truth is that if you allowed yourself to escape reality for a little over three hours on Sunday, you probably enjoyed a rather entertaining game in which the Jets came out victorious and their franchise quarterback looked every bit as good as you would hope.
Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets current situation post trade deadline…
Let me start with a simple thought: I am done with Adam Gase.
I was skeptical when the hire was made in January. I’m being too polite. I was livid when this hire was made. Adam Gase was a notch below Mike McCarthy on my coaching wish list. And Mike McCarthy was rock bottom. The two-hour roller-coaster ride of the should have been Matt Rhule hire to a quick change of direction to give the job to Gase was a swift kick to the you know what…
Like any other fan, I learned to deal with the fact that he’s not going anywhere. While I disagreed with the hire, I ultimately wanted to be proven wrong and wanted the team to succeed. So, I let him endear himself to me. He made some progress with little quips on One Jets Drive, his playful banter with Jamal Adams, and of course, the smelling salts.
Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots
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…