1st & 10: Jets Lose to Darnold and the Panthers

Stephen Russo gives his 10 key takeaways from the Jets’ week 1 loss against the Carolina Panthers.

In this week’s installment of 1st & 10, Stephen Russo provides his biggest takeaways from yesterday’s Week 1 loss to the Carolina Panthers.


Try to remain calm. This year is about development. Most of us (well, the sane majority) picked the Jets to go somewhere in the 5-12 to 8-9 range this year. That means that the Jets are going to lose games like this in 2021. While disappointed with the loss and the way that certain things played out, I am still happy with the way that this young team fought back in the second half. I am particularly happy with the way that Zach Wilson stared down the barrel of the gun and brought his team back into this game.
Overall, the Jets have the youngest team in the NFL with a rookie quarterback and head coach as well as a first-time play-caller. Let’s collectively pump the brakes and take a deep breath. There were certainly frustrating parts to this game, but also encouraging signs.

& 10…

1. Let’s hope Mekhi Becton’s injury is confirmed as just an MCL sprain. The Jets offensive line looked bad enough with him, I don’t want to see them without him. Losing Carl Lawson and Mekhi Becton for the year before week 2 would be devastating. Our fingers are crossed for the franchise left tackle.

2. I am surprised the Jets were not able to get the run game going at all against Carolina, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. It wasn’t happening early and never got going, and it felt like Mike LaFleur hung on to it a little too long.

3. Corey Davis is the real deal and is clearly the Jets #1 target. This was a big day for Davis in the opener.

4. The first half looked as if Adam Gase was still roaming the sidelines. However, in the second half you could see some adjustments made (what a novel concept!) and the Jets playing better football to close the game. Kudos to a coaching staff for actually tweaking things at the half.

5. The offensive line was putrid today. They couldn’t run block and couldn’t protect Zach Wilson. This unit needs to improve… fast.

6. My TOJ Live bold prediction of John Franklin-Myers leading the team in sacks is off to a great start! He seemed like the only one on the defensive line making things happen today. Did anyone notice Quinnen Williams today?

7. There are a lot of things left to learn about Saleh and his staff. At this point, I simply don’t know enough because only one game has been played. However, I have to admit that I am baffled by Fant starting over Moses and Denzel Mims not playing until the fourth quarter.

8. I expected Moore out of Elijah (see what I did there?) and more out of the coaching staff to manufacture touches for him. He undoubtedly should have caught a well thrown deep ball from Wilson early in the game, but LaFleur didn’t do anything to get him going either. I expect that to change next week.

9. I am pleasantly surprised with how well the defense played in the second half. They are a very young unit, and self-admittedly I am having a hard time keeping track of who’s who out there, but they fought hard and stepped up in a big way in the second half. They will fight hard all year and they should feel good about their second half performance.

10. It is week 1, and the Jets lost by 5 points on the road. They climbed back into it and made it a game, with a chance to get the ball at the end if an onside kick went their way. Plenty of teams with huge aspirations this year had worse openers than the Jets (see GB, Ten, NE, and Buf). Keep the season in perspective and let’s move on to week 2. Trust the process and hope the offensive line can give Zach Wilson some more time next week.

We’re on to New England….