1st & 10 – New York Jets Quarterly Review

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets through four games…

I have not been a fan of Adam Gase thus far.  I was not a fan of the hire when it was made in January.  While he has done things during interviews, mini-camp, and training camp that have made me warm up to the idea of him as a head coach, that has all but been erased throughout the first four weeks of this season.  Do I believe that this 0-4 start falls squarely on his shoulders?  No. I don’t know if Bill Belichick could overcome what Gase has endured through five weeks.  Does Gase deserve some of that blame?  Absolutely.

However, I do not fault him for giving Darnold the first team reps leading up to this game.  It appeared that Gase and the Jets brass had reason to believe that Darnold would be cleared.  Knowing what they had in Luke Falk, while also knowing that Darnold hadn’t been allowed to move in almost four weeks, they made a calculated risk to put all their eggs in the Darnold basket, recognizing that if they prepared to get him on track to start had he been cleared, he would give them their best chance to win.  This was a high-risk, high-reward strategy, and it backfired.  I do not blame Adam Gase for this roll of the dice.

& 10…

  1. Luke Falk is bad. He is a practice squad quarterback thrust into a starting role behind a shaky offensive line.  He lacks mobility, pocket awareness, and holds on to the ball way too long.  Oddly, he has clearly regressed since taking over midway through the Cleveland game.  If you think extra reps for Falk would have beaten the Eagles, you are sorely mistaken.
  2. Trumaine Johnson needs to go away.
  3. Le’Veon Bell continues to be an absolute beast and deserves so much better than what he is getting. The Jets are lucky to have him, and it’s scary to think that they could waste these two years of him in his prime.
  4. I have been very down on the entire offensive line through the first three games, and rightfully so. However, coming off of this performance (10 sacks allowed!), it was just as much, if not more, on Luke Falk’s inability to make a quick decision and get rid of the ball than it was on poor line play.
  5. Leonard Williams can follow Trumaine Johnson out the door. He is not an impact player.  He doesn’t make plays on his own.  He doesn’t make plays with help.  It has been constant excuses for him since he’s been drafted.  It’s time.  If anything can be had for him before the trade deadline, do it. At this point, he is invisible and has done more harm than good by way of penalties.
  6. I think Chris Herndon’s suspension has been overshadowed by Sam Darnold’s spleen. His return to the lineup will be a huge boost to this offense.
  7. On the surface, the Jets are 0-4 having lost to 4 quality teams (Bills are 4-1) with their starting quarterback at 80% for one game and a practice squad quarterback at the helm for the rest. Objectively speaking, anyone would expect them to be 0-4.  I’m not arguing that.  What I would expect, though, is for this team and this coaching staff to find a way to play semi-competitive professional football during that time.  It is a low bar to clear and they haven’t come close.
  8. I do not expect Sam Darnold to be the magic elixir that will solve all the Jets’ current problems. But, I do look at the end of the 2018 season where Darnold had a bad offensive line, his top two running backs out and was throwing to Andre Roberts and Deontay Burnett with Jeremy Bates calling plays, and performed well enough to make him the highest rated passer in the league over that span.  I don’t expect Darnold to solve all their problems, but I do expect him to be the reason for this team to take one giant step in the right direction.
  9. I find it odd that with a screen heavy game plan for a practice squad quarterback that Adam Gase only played Ty Montgomery for one snap. I feel like he has been grossly under-utilized in the first four games of the year.
  10. I am 33 years old, and was born into being a Jets fan. I can’t help it.  It’s in my blood. I struggled in my younger years watching games with my father, it was tough.  The Kotite era was especially bad.  However, I have always maintained that for Jets fans around my age, the “Same Ol’ Jets” mantra didn’t really apply to us.  While there were certainly bad times, 1997 to 2010 were the glory years of Jets fandom.  The Jets made the playoffs in 7 out of 14 years, and had a .500 or better record in 4 of the years they didn’t make the playoffs.  That is 11 out of 14 years of competitive football!  That is total domination in the world of the Jets.  Having said all that, following the greatest win of my life (the 2010 divisional win in New England), this has undoubtedly been the worst 9 year stretch of Jets football I have endured.

I can only hope that Sam Darnold and his shrinking spleen can offer a glimmer of hope and break us out of this.