New York Jets – Playing The Blame Game

Joe Caporoso on the wide range of the reasons the New York Jets have lost three straight games

A three game losing streak in the NFL usually has many guilty parties. When you try to simplify it down to a singular issue, you are likely missing or overlooking multiple layers of problems. The New York Jets recent three game losing streak is no exception, let’s quickly hit on the major ones (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)

Coaching – The Jets have been a poorly coached and disciplined team through four games. Poor coaching is playing an injured Dee MIlliner over a healthy Darrin Walls against Green Bay. Poor coaching is allowing David Harris to be targeted 7 times for 7 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown against Detroit without making any adjustments. Poor coaching is repeatedly continuing to blitz and leaving your young (Calvin Pryor) and outright bad (Kyle Wilson) players on an island. It is also losing a touchdown because of a faux timeout, punting when you should be going for it and routinely making head scratching play calls, particularly in the redzone. Rex and Marty Mornhinweg are comparatively good NFL coaches, they are both also inconsistent and have very real shortcomings (Mornhinweg in the redzone, Rex’s loyalty/stubbornness to certain schemes and players) that has reared its ugly head so far.

Personnel – John Idzik has been the fans favorite whipping boy throughout this streak. Yet, the Jets skill position personnel isn’t as bad as many make it out to be and their corners haven’t been as bad as many are assuming either. You can’t tell me Jace Amaro is a bust when he has over 50 yards in two of his first four NFL games. You can’t tell me every Jets wide receiver besides Eric Decker is awful when Jeremy Kerley is here and Greg Salas is averaging 60 yards receiving over the past two games, nevermind how well Chris Ivory is playing and that Decker and Chris Johnson are on pace to combine for 16 touchdowns. HOWEVER, the Jets should have added more depth (particularly at guard and receiver) and been more aggressive at cornerback (The Dimitri Patterson signing was a disaster). The GM isn’t perfect and has had some bad misses. The GM also gets more than 20 games to build his roster and doesn’t get to have his draft class written off before a huge bulk of them have had a real chance to play. Teams with no talent don’t end up in the top 11 in both total offense and defense through four games and go snap for snap with three likely playoff teams in the NFC.

The GM isn’t getting fired (and despite what everybody wants to assume Rex probably isn’t either). Did Seattle fire their front office after going 7-9 consecutively in their first two years? Stupid teams clean out a front office after 20 games or they hire somebody like Reggie McKenzie who runs a team like he is reading a Twitter feed of inebriated NFL fans and taking their advice to heart.

…And before you throw out the Rex set up to fail comments, remember the Jets currently have seven first round picks on their defense (Pace, Coples, Richardson, Wilkerson, Pryor, Wilson, Milliner), including three in the past two years.

Quarterbacking – Geno Smith has played poorly, particularly the last two games. It is difficult to overcome seven turnovers in four weeks, particularly when your defense doesn’t force any turnovers themselves. Smith has made progress in many areas but shot the Jets in the foot twice en route to a loss against the Bears and played shaky throughout the Detroit game. The offensive issues don’t all lay at his feet but he is making it difficult to not take calls for Mike Vick seriously, particularly as the rest of the AFC East flounders. Smith will start this week but could very well be faced with a quick hook.

Defensive Problems – Ongoing problems in recent years for the Jets defense remain, they don’t force enough turnovers and they struggle to make critical stops in close games. Against Green Bay, they allowed the Packers to go 97 yards in the blink of an eye before the half. Against Chicago, they let the Bears go 80 yards on 6 plays out of halftime. Against Detroit, they allowed the Lions to go 91 yards in a one score game and failed to get the ball back at the end fourth quarter for a tying chance. It is a good defense but not a great defense until it can do these things more consistently.

Redzone Woes –This is a three pronged problem right now. Geno Smith has missed some opportunities. Marty Mornhinweg has made some shaky calls. Outside of Eric Decker, the Jets don’t have a proven redzone threat in the passing game. The team invested in Jeff Cumberland, Zach Sudfeld and Jace Amaro to be options down there and they haven’t risen to the occasion yet.

The Jets have a wide range of issues, that includes coaching, personnel, players underachieving and poor situational football. This isn’t a one tone, one problem situation.

Finally, the Jets have lost three one possession games. This isn’t a team being humiliated by a mediocre AFC team (HELLO PATRIOTS AGAINST THE CHIEFS). They probably aren’t as far away as many think they are and their season isn’t over. They have zero AFC losses and their division looks like a dumpster fire right now. Those are hollow words when you lose three in a row but this isn’t the team who was losing by 20+ points to Tennessee, Buffalo, Miami and Cincinnati last season.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports