New York Jets Top Five – Ways To Beat Cleveland On MNF

Joe Belic with five ways for the New York Jets to beat the Cleveland Browns

I should have known Sam was in trouble when he showcased his dance moves on the field one afternoon during practice.  Here I was worried about whether or not the OL could protect Sam during the Monday night matchup, but instead, I should have been more concerned with who was guarding Sam from his own social game.  Nobody knows how Sam got mono, but it’s called “the kissing disease” for a reason.  

Sam is out indefinitely, and this ailment might take a lot longer to heal than most would think.  While it’s conceivable he could play in a few weeks, I think it’s more realistic that Darnold will be out longer.  After doing some investigating on my own, I found that, in some instances, those who have contracted the virus didn’t feel “normal” until a year after the initial diagnosis, not to mention the first three months were pure misery.  

Sam is probably getting the best medicine has to offer, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets eventually placed him on IR.  The long-term health of Sam Darnold is way more important than anything that could happen in the short term.  

When Sam is all healed up and gallivanting around once again, I want to see him in a hazmat suit, wearing a face mask, and protected in a fashion the president would envy.  In fact, the OL should be forced to eat, sleep, and breathe Sam Darnold.  

Is it time to start looking at mocks for the 2020 NFL draft?  The answer is an unequivocal yes. The truth is, before this news, I already believed the Jets weren’t destined for a postseason appearance.  In a recent Joe Jet 5, I noted, “if the Jets don’t beat the Bills week 1, they will not make the playoffs this season.”  

When it comes to my Jets, I always want to keep it real with the fanbase.  I had the Jets winning ten games this year, and it all started with a week one win.  Could they have made up for that loss somewhere else? Yes, it’s a long season, and if the necessary adjustments were made, there was a chance to get back on course.  Now, with Sam out, the blood-thirsty Browns coming to town, the Patriots week three in Foxborough (where Jets haven’t won since 11/13/08), and the Eagles (whom Jets have never beaten) in week 5, reality is setting in.  The chance the Jets make any kind of run is slim, but if they expect to salvage the season at all it’ll start this Monday Night versus the Browns. In this week’s Joe Jet 5, I explore what the Jets can do to keep Baker quiet and put a dent in another teams’ playoff aspirations. 

1) Take Some Deep Shots:

“We had opportunities, we had a chance to win the game,” Gase said. “We have to come out of our double move.  The defender falls down, we have to come out running. If we do that, all of a sudden, we’re scoring a touchdown.” 

While it’s easy to blame Robby Anderson for a play that could have been a game-winner, let’s put some things into perspective before attributing much of the loss to Robby.  

Sam only attempted 3 passes of 20 or more yards in the entire game.  Of Sam’s 27 completions, an alarming 25 of them came under 10 yards, and he had a league-worst 4.3 YPA in week 1. The OL didn’t exactly protect Sam like they should have—giving up 4 sacks—and that may have resulted in the need to get rid of the ball quickly; however, most of the blame needs to fall on the person calling the plays.  The Jets possess one of the fastest WRs in the league and Sam is arguably one of the best deep-ball throwers in the NFL. According to Football Outsider, Sam’s accuracy on balls of 31-plus air yards was ranked 4th last season.  

Some people will make excuses for Gase because Sam was ill, but I don’t buy it.  I don’t’ think Sam’s health had anything to do with the lack of deep balls. If Gase keeps it too conservative with our backup (Siemian), I don’t expect we’ll see much scoring this Monday as well. 

2) Shut Down Nick Chubb:

The Jets DL is one of the most robust units on the team, but they’ll have a tough task this Monday versus last year’s leader in yards after contact per attempt (4.47).  Tennessee did a solid job of containing Chubb last week, but arguably that had more to do with play calling and game flow than Chubb’s talent. Maybe I’m higher on Chubb than most, but by season’s end, I think he’ll be regarded as a top 5 RB in the NFL and a legitimate first-round pick in all fantasy football formats.  

3) Exploit the Weakness on the OL:

Cleveland had a stout OL last season, ranking second overall, according to PFF.  However, it appears, as of now, trading right guard Kevin Zeitler to the Giants was a huge mistake.  The OL put on a subpar showing against the Titans and Zeitler’s replacement, Eric Kush, didn’t look comfortable in his new role.  Greg Robinson (LT) was ejected for kicking a player in the face and may be suspended. Chris Hubbard (RT) moved to left tackle in Robinson’s absence, and Justin McCray took over at RT, where he looked very much like a backup. Mayfield was sacked five times—including a safety—and threw three 4th quarter interceptions—hurting his wrist in the process.  Obviously, edge continues to be a problem for the Jets, but the path to sacking Mayfield and disrupting the pocket is open; Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson, and company need to step up big in this matchup. 

4) Protect Trevor: (I can’t believe I’m writing Trevor)

“Big Uglies” are more of a figurative description of an OL.  This past Sunday the Jets OL took on a more literal representation of the term. To put it mildly, they were awful.  We all knew it was a problem going into the season, but many of us had higher hopes when the Jets acquired Ryan Kalil and Kelechi Osemele.  Kalil was candid about his performance and blamed himself for the issues, pointing out his poor communication and lack of command. Honestly, this is a good sign.  The only way to improve is when you stop pointing your finger and start pointing your thumb. Are you listening, Adam?  

5) Cornerback Assistance Please!

I’m not a defensive coordinator, and I don’t understand the X’s and O’s like some who study tape extensively.  What I am is a fan of almost 40 years, and I trust what I see. Gregg Williams is a solid defensive coordinator, but it appears he has more faith in his corners than warranted.  Too many times, Darryl Roberts and Trumaine Johnson were left to fend for themselves, and the result was not good. T. Johnson was targeted 8 times, allowed 7 completions, and 110 yards.  Roberts was responsible for 3 penalties, was targeted 7 times, allowed 5 completions, and gave up 77 yards, including the game-winning touchdown. We acknowledged cornerback could be an issue going into the season, but it’s inconceivable that Josh Allen and mediocre WRs were able to post these kinds of numbers against our starting CBs.  Roberts and Johnson need assistance, and I hope Williams calls plays accordingly; maybe a little more cover two (with two deep safeties) is more suited for the Jets personnel.