TOJ’s 1st & 10: A Predictable Dud

Stephen Russo gives 10 thoughts from this Sunday’s Saints game.

1st…

At the start of this season, you all probably (much like me) knew there would be a game or two (or three or four) like this one. A game where the whole team looks flat. Nothing goes right. It’s boring. There’s nothing to cheer for. It is, in a word, meh. We knew they were coming, but it doesn’t make that pill any easier to swallow when it’s here. It’s easy to say before the season begins that the Jets will probably finish 6-11 or 5-12, because you know, objectively, that is what will happen. But when you’re in it, watching another boring game on a Sunday in December feeling like you’ve wasted another 3 hours of your weekend, those 11 or 12 losses sting just a little bit extra… especially knowing you’ve wasted way too many Sundays like this over the past decade.

I am here to say that I agree… it sucks.

But, it’s not the end of the world. It was one game, against a well-coached Saints team that was due for a win. A team that could run the ball, which as simple as it sounds, attacks our biggest weakness. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the Jets are not a very good football team. When you couple that with being as injury riddled as they are, it’s not a recipe for success. Should they have played the Saints tougher? Sure. But are we really surprised by an outcome like this, especially when they enter the game without their top 2 receivers, starting tight end, and top 2 running backs? I don’t think so.

So, as bad as it was on Sunday, the sky is not falling. The world is not over. And Zach Wilson is not a bust after 9 full games.

This past Sunday sucked. Let’s dust ourselves off and move on.

& 10…

1. I think we can put the collective defense of Denzel Mims to bed… officially.

2. Catch the ball please, Ty Johnson.

3. Sundays are so much more enjoyable watching Elijah Moore catch passes for your team, regardless of how bad they are.

4. One silver lining was Eddie Pineiro went 3/3 on field goal attempts!

5. Feels like Braxton Berrios was the only receiver that showed up to play on Sunday. The fanbase had a collective outrage when he was getting too many targets earlier this season, but he has played his butt off at receiver and on special teams. The Jets should re-sign him.

6. I think Joe Douglas has his work cut out for him this offseason. It’s time for him to mix up his typical approach, and marry his “build through the draft” strategy with an aggressive free agency period in March. This is how you build a competitor in 2022 and a team that can stay in the hunt for a wild card spot. Hopefully Woody forces him to open up the checkbook.

7. Despite growing calls for his job after the season, I would run it back with Jeff Ulbrich. I think continuity is something this organization has severely lacked for a long time. I believe that getting these younger players comfortable in a system and mixing in seasoned veterans would be the best way to improve this defense.

8. I am a big fan of John Franklin-Myers and Quinnen Williams. But too often, their presence simply hasn’t been felt for entire games. I think it is right on point to say that this defensive line has been very underwhelming this season.

9. If I were Joe Douglas, I would allocate those first 4 picks in the draft to: OL, WR, Edge, and LB, in no particular order. I would pair that with going aggressively in free agency to sign veteran starters at: TE, CB, S. That being said, my mind could change depending on who comes available in free agency… hello Michael Gallup.

10. I will not be out on Zach Wilson at any point during his first season. I will admit, however, that I think it is mildly concerning that he is still struggling to hit layups (screen to Berrios and boot to Ryan Griffin. On the other hand, when you’re an offense led by a rookie quarterback, sometimes to have to lift him up. So, when you’re a team decimated by injury and missing top weapons, you cannot have: 5+ drops, costly penalties, no receiver separation, and no running game. That is no way to lift your young quarterback up.

Robert Saleh said he doesn’t want Zach Wilson to play hero ball… it’s time his team stopped making him play that way.