As a programming reminder, wins are followed by GIF Dumps and losses are followed by these. Only winners get GIFs…
I spend an inordinate amount of time following this football team and the dialogue around it. Nobody wanted the team to hire Adam Gase when he was a Head Coach candidate and nobody was happy when the decision was initially made. The reason for this is because he struggled the past two years in Miami on and off the field. He was an offensive guru with one of the worst offenses in the league and a short tempered personality entering a highly visible media market. You are who you are to a certain point and usually a NFL Head Coach does not drastically improve in their second stop, particularly if they are not given a few years out of the role to reassess where they were making previous mistakes.The Jets have ignored the offensive line for years. They sat out the center market in free agency and instead had to resort to a summer band aid fix with Ryan Kalil. They have not drafted an offensive lineman in the first two rounds since Vlad Ducasse in 2010.
The Jets ignored cornerback this offseason. Their answer was running it back with a year older Trumaine Johnson, returning from an injury plagued season and to promote a previous third stringer to starter in Daryl Roberts. They ignored the position in the NFL Draft (not counting Blessaun Austin, who is on IR). The Jets ignored edge rusher this offseason, wasting time in a failed chase of Anthony Barr with plans of changing his position. The organization decided unlike the rest of the league, cornerback and pass rusher weren’t essential to their defense.
Coming into the season, it was apparent all the above positions would struggle. Yet, the excitement of a new year and a summer full of One Jets Drive episodes, gushing stories of Gase staying up 23 hours per day mainlining football and Gregg Williams saying he will curse a pass rush out of thin air will convince a fan to think these problems may not be that bad.
Only when the reality of a game plays out do the rationalizations disappear. The conservative, slow and unimaginative offensive game plan followed by an ornery press conference from Gase happened. The cornerbacks struggled to stay with an average passing offense, at best. The pass rush disappeared when it counted. Not having a kicker turned out to be the problem we all knew it would be. More alarmingly, Sam Darnold did not look like the quarterback we saw against Houston and Green Bay last year. His foot work looked shaky, he played it safe and he was inaccurate when attacking down the field. Everybody’s favorite receiver, Robby Anderson, still looked the part of the inconsistent player he has been in recent seasons. The guy who has three straight games under 30 yards but then explodes for back to back 100 yard efforts before going away for about a month again.The Jets put themselves into an unnecessary hole…pissing away the benefits of four Josh Allen turnovers that Tom Brady, Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz won’t be handing them. Adam Gase likes to talk about “nut crunch” time, well nut crunch tine has arrived in week 2 at home for the Jets against an equally desperate but superiorly talented Cleveland Browns team. You cannot start the season with two home losses and you cannot take a 0-2 record in New England and Philadelphia where you will be a touchdown underdog (at least) in both games. 0-4 and 0-6 devolving into chaos and a quickly lost season is alarmingly close.
Fortunately, things can change fast in the NFL. Cleveland is talented but remain eminently beatable and if Darnold is going to be “the guy,” that all fans desire him to be, he can put together the kind of performance (hopefully supported by a better game plan) that allows the Jets to knock off Baker Mayfield. The Jets won’t win this game with 16 points and one offensive touchdown but if their offense plays to preseason expectations, and they “steal” a win, the taste of an ugly opening game loss will be quickly washed away.