TOJ Roundtable – New York Jets Week 1 Review Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses the New York Jets week 1 performance against the Buffalo Bills…

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Were you surprised by the New York Jets week 1 performance? 

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Scott MasonI suppose I was slightly surprised that the Jets seem to be somehow even worse than we thought – which doesn’t even seem possible – but mostly, no, I’m not surprised. This is a terrible football team, and I am treating 2017 like it is the pre-season: individual player performances mean something but the results of the games do not. Sunday’s performance may have been jarring to watch but it can’t be a shock to anybody. The season starts in April, 2018, and we’ve always known that.

Daniel EssenFor the most part, I was not surprised by much in the Jets week 1 performance. The weaknesses we all thought the Jets would have were there. They struggled to move on offense, unable to run the ball or push the ball downfield in the passing game. Then when they had to try to go downfield late in the game, McCown’s limitations showed. The defense was on the field for too much in the first half, with constant three and outs on offense. The Bills took advantage of the Jets weakness at ILB by isolating Darron Lee and Demario Davis in coverage. They also neutralized the Jets strength on the interior defensive line by getting Lesean McCoy on the edge.

What was a bit of a surprise was the distribution on offense in both the passing and running game. The Jets used Matt Forte almost exclusively in the first half before starting to mix in Bilal Powell in the second half. Powell ended the game with more touches but it seemed strange that the Jets seemed to time slot their usage of the two. Also, Elijah McGuire didn’t even have a single touch. They way Forte looked I’d make sure that changes in week 2. In terms of distribution, 50% of the completions McCown threw were to non-wide outs, including 3 catches from Will Tye, and 2 catches from Erik Tomlinson. Even though we were promised more production from the tight end position, it was still a nice surprise to see it in action.

David Aitken: Sadly the team’s performance wasn’t really a surprise – this is the talent level of the team. The Jets are putting out the league’s worst starting quarterback, the worst group of receivers, the worst tight end and when starting Forte one of the worst runners (at this age). The Bills, even in a rebuild of their own, have the foundations of a great rushing attack and competent QB play. Defensively, outside of the front three, the Jets are playing a lot of young and untested talents. Even the ones with big expectations, like the rookie safeties, are going to make mistakes.

The biggest uncertainty going in was how the coaching staff would approach this. From the Bowles regime perspective, it was a lot of similar mistakes. Powell’s touches limited particularly early on, coverage breakdowns in the back end, game management that was at best ultra-conservative and more accurately nonexistent. In Morton’s debut as a play caller, the first half play calling was so conservative you would think it was Hackenberg’s first start. But this is often how teams try to scheme around bad offenses.

As a positive surprise, the edge/OLB group were the best unit collectively on Sunday and it’s been a while since I’ve said that about the Jets. Kony Ealy was one of the team’s best players in his debut. Josh Martin was disruptive as well, particularly against the run. And while quiet in comparison, Jordan Jenkins had a solid season debut as well, nearly getting a sack in the first half.

Jake BenaquistoThe Jets being incompetent on offense was hardly a surprise, however, their issues on defense were much more alarming. Aside from Josh Martin, the Jets line backers all were underwhelming. Darron Lee and Demario Davis both struggled in coverage, and the pass rush barely made an impact. What shocked me the most was the lack of effort from Muhammad Wilkerson, who seems to be just playing for a paycheck at this point. Mo had somewhat of an excuse last year after coming back from an injury, but to not make an impact on defense now is ridiculous. It’s becoming more and more evident that resigning Mo to a big deal might be Maccagnan’s worst decision as a GM.

Mike Nash:I was not surprised by the Jets week 1 performance. Offensively, the team relied heavily on quick and simple reads for veteran QB Josh McCown, which was relatively successful, but ultimately only resulted in 12 points. On the defensive side of the ball, you can bet many guys had nightmares of LeSean McCoy. Shady had his way with the Jets defense, specially the linebackers. It was a very poor outing for Demario Davis and Darron Lee.

If I had to pick one surprise, it would be the strong play of Kony Ealy. Ealy was all over the place yesterday, stopping the run, as well as getting pressure on Tyrod Taylor. Look for Ealy’s snaps to increase each week.

Ryan MarconeI wasn’t surprised by the performance of the offense, although it was depressing to see that the McCown lead side of the ball was probably even more boring than I anticipated, especially to start. I was, however, surprised by how unprepared the defense looked for LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor. It does speak to just how good Shady is, even when he’s up there in age, but watching McCoy do seemingly whatever he wanted and Taylor be allowed to scramble all over the place just seemed like poor game planning.

I’d also say I was surprised (and shame on me for being so) just how bad Muhammad Wilkerson looked yet AGAIN. I’m the idiot who bought in to all that offseason talk about how it really was the injury that hampered him last season. How he was ready to come back out healthy and return to Pro Bowl form and lead this defense. Well color me fooled. I bought the snake oil. Wilkerson suckered me just like he suckered this franchise, with false promises of performances past. I swear if I see him lope around the field one more time like practice just got ended while a ball carrier meanders around him for big yardage and first downs, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do. But I’ll have to figure it out, because I’m sure to see it again next week.

Greg Armstrong: I say yes because I didn’t realize they were this bad. The offense STINKS and is as conservative as conservative gets. I understand if you get conservative with a Christian Hackenberg but with Josh McCown, he has shown he can make NFL throws (albeit not well at times) so you can at least let him throw downfield and give the offense at least a punchers chance at making something happen.

I was very surprised at how bad the defense played given the fact that it was supposed to be the only watchable thing about this team. The safeties played well in their first real NFL game but the Bills were getting whatever they wanted on offense. You’d think the Jets would know by now that it’s the Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy show in Buffalo but I guess the memo never reached Todd Bowles. Kony Ealy was a surprising bright spot and can we file a missing persons report for Mo Wilk? I knew this was bad but this bad, boring and downright embarrassing.

Michael McLaughlinIt is hard to be surprised at the Jets overall performance given the low expectations. However, there were several individual performances that were possibly surprising and certainly disappointing. Where did the run defense go? I believe we all thought that David Harris would be missed, but the constant overpursuit by Davis and Lee was discouraging even if correctable. Lee’s lone positive seemed to be his tackle for loss on a outside toss where he converted his speed to power to shed a blocker instead of being glued on to him. Obviously shedding blockers is inside linebacker 101 though. In addition, I would have liked to see the offensive line generate more push, Powell get the ball more than Forte and more intensity from Wilkerson. Kearse’s smooth transition into the offense is a positive though. And Jamal Adams looks like he can play.

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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