Bye Week Thoughts w/ Stephen Zantz

The Jets are 1-4 and have hit their bye week. It’s been an interesting up and down start to a new regime featuring a rookie QB, rookie HC, and rookie OC. I’ve had a lot of thoughts over the first 5 games and wanted to give some perspective to a frustrated (understanbly so) fan base.

Stop. Just stop!

As someone who is very invested into Jets Twitter, I’ve seen it all. There are people giving up on Zach Wilson. People calling for Mike LaFleur’s head. People wondering if Saleh will be able to right this ship. Can everyone please take a deep breath?

Yes, the results have not been an ideal through 5 games. Everyone needs to understand that this wasn’t going to be an overnight fix. The team was 2-14 a year ago and has a lot of those players carrying over. This is the youngest roster in the NFL, so growing pains and mistakes were expected.

Now, I think we can rightfully criticize the product on the field thus far without losing sight of the reality: this team is a year away. Zach Wilson has been very meh to start off his career. You have seen the highs (Titans game) and you’ve seen rock bottom (Pats game). The one thing you can’t deny is that he has a lot of talent and can become a successful NFL QB, but it is up to him to grow and put in the work. He needs to take what the defense is giving him and needs to hit slam dunk short throws. He, also, needs to be better inside the pocket. All of this is true.

Let’s give him some damn time please.

Moving to LaFleur, he has not been what we had hoped when the hire has made. His personnel usage has been extremely questionable. Why is Ryan Griffin 2nd in offensive snaps? Why is Elijah only running 16 pass routes against ATL? Why is Mims barely playing despite making plays when given a chance? Why in the world can’t this team get more than 60 rushing yards in a game?

All of these are fair questions.

However, people are forgetting he has never called a play in the NFL until a month ago. He’s learning on the job and will adjust. If we are seeing the same issues 2 months from now, I think it’s completely fair to question the hire. For now, let’s see how they play on offense out of the bye. Sean McVay was an OC for 3 years in WAS before going to LA. He had a lot more experience running an offense before becoming a HC. LaFleur shouldn’t be compared to anyone and should be treated as his own.

As for Saleh, I’ve been impressed with him. He’s said a few questionable things during the week, which he will learn from but overall this is a different team than the one you saw under Adam Gase. This team has heart and does not quit. The defense has been tremendous with the exception of the ATL game. My one bone to pick with Saleh right now is he needs to be more aggressive in his approach to situations. This is essentially a free year. No one is getting fired Connor Rogers pointed this out on Badlands: during the ATL game, it was 4th and 5 at the ATL 45. Saleh elected to punt. That’s unacceptable. You were playing from behind and it was the 2nd half. You will not get criticized if the offense doesn’t convert. You will never get a better opportunity than this season to try some things that most coaches would not get away with. Be aggressive and try things even if you fail.

I expect this team to look a lot different in New England next week. I think this was a perfect time for them not only to look themselves in the mirror but also have extra time to get reinforcements. Becton will be back. Davis and Maye will be back. I also think this will be valuable for a young coaching staff to see what is going wrong and why they can’t move the ball on offense in the 1st half.

Good things are coming. Sometimes we all just need to be a little bit more patient.