TOJ Roundtable: Positives and Negatives from Week 1

The TOJ Writers analyze one positive and one negative from last week’s Panthers’ game.

In this installment of the TOJ Roundtable, the TOJ writers and hosts offer one positive and one negative takeaway from the Jets’ Week 1 performance against the Carolina Panthers.

Stephen Zantz: The Jets lost so that was a negative so that’s where we will start here. The OL is clearly the biggest problem we saw on Sunday against Carolina but I want to point something else that irked me. LaFleur’s reluctance to pass on 1st down really bothered me. I understand that 1st down is typically a running down but the Jets had no semblance of a run game. This was causing Wilson to be 3rd and long for most of the game. This changed slightly in the 2nd half but I want to see LaFleur mix it more heading into the Pats game.

Moving to positive, Corey Davis was phenomenal on Sunday. He showed exactly why the Jets signed to the big contract they did in free agency back in March. He made some great plays in addition to the two touchdowns. The one play that really caught my eye was the 2nd and 8 play early in the 2nd quarter where Davis racked up a ton of YAC after the offense had been completely stagnant to that point. I’m excited to see Davis against a tough Patriots’ secondary on Sunday.

Stephen Russo:  There were a ton from both ends but I will start with the negative.  This will seem obvious but for me, it’s the offensive line – and for a myriad of reasons.  The layers of this run deep, but for starters, the offensive line simply couldn’t do their job on Sunday in the run game or protecting Zach Wilson.  While I typically implore Jets fans to refrain from hitting the panic button, I am trying to do the same and realize it is only one game and they haven’t played together all preseason.  However, when you compound this performance with the idea that Joe Douglas was basically touted as THE guy to build a wall to protect his young, Franchise QB – and thus far he has failed in his 2.5 years here, it’s quickly approaching panic time.  This unit better get it together… fast.

The positive that I saw is the new coaching staff .  While there were more obvious positives about the game (Zach Wilson, Corey Davis), and there were certainly negatives about this staff (Mims playing 2 snaps, Fant starting over Moses, etc.), the ability of this coaching staff to make halftime adjustments and coach to win was a breath of fresh air.  Saleh’s adjustments at half turned this into a true tale of two halves and got the Jets back in it to make it a one score game.  There were also things that Jets fans simply aren’t used to from previous regimes like going for two late in the 3rd quarter to get the score within 8, and going for it on 4th &8 with just under 4 minutes to play – and getting the first down!  Previous staffs would have punted and started walking to the locker room.  Baby steps!

Dylan Price: Truthfully, I didn’t want to target the offensive line as Stephen squared has, but the performance was too disheartening not to talk about. All offseason we heard reasons for why the team kept Connor McGovern and Greg Van Roten and opted not to help the interior more. The truth is, AVT is going to struggle, he’s a rookie, but two veterans who were so hyped up within the new scheme got exposed on Sunday. I don’t know how the team improves the interior right now, but it has to get better and soon. Otherwise, this will be a very long season for Zach Wilson, and we will fall right back into the cycle of wasting another young quarterback.

As for a positive, I want to highlight the secondary. The team kept Robby Anderson to only one reception, albeit a long score. The team also contained former Jet Sam Darnold. Darnold struggled to find open guys and this forced him into more check downs and safer throws. When he targeted the corners, Darnold was 9/15 for 77 yards and an average of 5.1 Y/A. The Jets had a tough task given the diverse skill sets and speed of the Panthers receiving corps, and they hung in there which fills me with hope heading into next week’s home opener.

James Kuntz: On the positive side, I was very impressed by the Jets secondary on Sunday. Despite their collective inexperience, they actually were pretty effective at stopping the Panthers’ passing game and only gave up one explosive play (the 60 yard TD to Robby Anderson). I’m very curious is they can keep up this performance.

Looking at the negatives, I was pretty disappointed by the lack of production by the defensive line, especially considering that the Panthers offensive line is made of paper-mâché. Quinnen’s lack of an impact was particularly concerning. I’m very interested in seeing how the unit fairs against the Patriots’ who have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

DA Osorio: For a positive, I’ll go with Boy Wonder: I thought Zach Wilson had a really good 2nd half where he showed poise, toughness, and a cannon for an arm. If Patrick Mahomes is the Steph Curry of the NFL (in my opinion, he is), then Wilson is the Trae Young. The talent to replicate a fraction of what Mahomes does was on display, from the throw deep to Elijah Moore to the off-platform throw to Corey Davis, and I’m really excited to see more from a QB that I admittedly had some concerns about coming out of the draft process. He didn’t alleviate them in one half, but it was a nice 2nd half.

The negative, for me, runs counter to Stephen R’s positive: the coaching staff was undressed in the first-half and appeared not ready for this matchup. They, too, adjusted well in the 2nd half but the first half saw them get flat-out outcoached. A better QB has Carolina up 30, so the Jets were lucky they were playing one of the worst QBs in the league. They need to be better, both Saleh and LaFleur, if they’re to hang with the greatest of all-time next week.

Michael Meegan: After having some time to digest last Sunday’s loss, while it was a disappointmentl the sky isn’t falling. One of my biggest positives was that Corey Davis looks like a legit WR1. We have not had one of those in over a decade outside of Brandon Marshall’s 2015 season. If the offensive line gave Zach a bit more time Davis could have had over 150 yards. Having a 1000+ yard WR is a welcome sight given how bad the Jets have been at the skill positions over the years. While the DL underwhelmed, the Jets’ safety group was abysmal. Redwine looks like he should not be on an NFL field and Joyner is now gone for the year. Marcus Maye is solid, but he can not do it all and if he can’t stay healthy for the next 16 games, we are screwed.

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