New York Jets Tank Monday – The Vent, Week 1

Joe Caporoso with a vent on the New York Jets week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills

If you are a new reader at Turn On The Jets, every Monday we either do a GIF Dump for a victory (only winners get GIFs) or a vent for a loss. This year is a little different as the losses will be more expected than usual. We have changed the name from “Loss Monday” to “Tank Monday.” 

Away we go…

You can read all offseason about how bad a team is going to be, see flashes of it in the preseason and get a feel for it when you look at the final 53 man roster. Yet, it does not become official until you see the “finished” product out on the field when it matters. Yesterday provided the culmination of a haphazard rebuilding plan combined with years of poor drafting and misguided spending in free agency. You put it together with a mediocre coaching staff and yesterday’s 21-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills is what you get.

The Jets were not ran off the field. They had a reasonable chance in the second half, after cutting the score to 14-12. There were offenses that played worse yesterday (HELLO GIANTS) and there were defenses that played worse. But there was a feeling of inevitably during the game yesterday, which should not exist against another team who is likely to be one of the five worst in the NFL. The Bills gashed the Jets up and down the field for yardage. Whenever they needed a play, the made it. The Jets slogged, inching forward with 1 yard runs and 3 yard crossing routes. They lost by 9 points but it felt like they lost by 90.

A rebuilding team spent a majority of the day having a washed up 38 year old journeyman quarterback hand the ball off or throw swing passes to a washed up 31 year old running back. Josh McCown and Matt Forte play their age and it isn’t pretty to watch. The team’s best “playmakers” yesterday were a throw in veteran receiver from a recent trade (Jermaine Kearse) who barely averaged over 8 yards per catch and a waiver wire pick up at tight end, Will Tye. The team’s offense is literally being sustained by the scrap heap of other superior NFL teams.

It was a similar story on defense, where another waiver wire pickup, Kony Ealy, was the unit’s most active player. He was a rare bright spot on a defense that looked laughably overmatched for most of the afternoon. Buffalo wisely carved up the middle of the field, targeting Demario Davis, Darron Lee and Marcus Maye.

We had a long summer of reading glowing practice reports about a rejuvenated, lighter Davis and a more focused, bulked up Lee. We heard how Maye was miles ahead of the other rookies and was primed to break the team’s second round drought. Similar to the reports of Christian Hackenberg making strides and the Jets talking up using the fullback position more, they were incorrect. Yesterday was another reminder that training camp generally does not matter and quotes given by the team’s coaching staff, definitely do not matter. For the most part, players are who they are.

Darron Lee has looked woefully overdrafted. Demario Davis has always been a below average starter. Marcus Maye has tons of potential but will have a steep learning curve as a second round rookie starting from day one. The Jets have no idea to manage a roster, as they hit halftime yesterday with one active tight end and zero active fullbacks with an offense led by Josh McCown (who dropped back over 40 times!).

The roster has depth problems because outside of Leonard Williams, Mike Maccagnan’s first draft was an abject disaster. If Lee continues on his current path, his second draft is heading in the same direction. It is difficult to coach around depth problems and a lack of talent, especially when you appear to be as clueless as Todd Bowles is right now on the sideline.

Bowles takes too much heat comparatively to Maccagnan but he does himself no favors with comedic levels of game management incompetence and nonsensical answers to the media. He has also done himself no favors with his coaching staff. Do you think another team in the NFL would hire Kacy Rodgers to be their defensive coordinator? How about John Morton at offensive coordinator, who made his debut by shelving Bilal Powell until late in the 2nd quarter to feed Matt Forte? The Jets had to pull Jeremy Bates off a walkabout tour to be their “secret weapon” to fix the QB position.

Yesterday was a run through sludge, which is ironically how the team’s highest paid player, Muhammad Wilkerson, perpetually looks to be running. The explosive plays on offense came from players who probably won’t be here next year and are not building blocks. The positives on defense were mostly contained to Ealy and two of the team’s recent first round picks, Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams (yes, there was good news yesterday).

Let’s hope Adams and Williams continue to look like foundational pieces and prove to be an oasis in the desert of Maccagnan drafting incompetence. They still may be joined by mid rounders Juston Burris and Brandon Shell, who looked like they belonged yesterday. Offensively, the sooner the football is relegated to people like Bilal Powell, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Robby Anderson and a few others, the better. It is going to be a carousel at many of the offensive positions, making for many more afternoons after scratching and clawing for 12 points.

The Jets didn’t lay down and die yesterday. They competed. Unfortunately their GM has given them a Swiss Army Knife to take to a gun fight and their coach can’t figure out how to switch it from a bottle opener to that knife.

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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