TOJ’s 1st & 10: Is the Defense Really This Bad?

1st…

As frustrating as yesterday was, and believe me when I say I understand, it was about one thing: Zach Wilson. Wilson’s game against the Eagles was arguably his best all season. He started fast and, although the points production dwindled to zero after the first three drives, progress was made by Wilson and the offense. He stayed within the system, looked confident, hit throws – easy and difficult – and managed the game the best he has all season. While the result wasn’t what any of us wanted, Wilson and Mike LaFleur continued to show growth and that there are true building blocks for the future.

Wilson finished the day going 23/38 for 226 yards with 2 passing touchdowns and a bad interception, but also ran for another touchdown. He looked competent and decisive, and he efficiently led the Jets on offense during a game where they received no help from the other side of the ball. It was great to see true progress as he and LaFleur looked to be truly in a groove. The prospect of a legitimate play caller, quarterback and #1 wide receiver should have every Jets fan excited.

& 10…

1. The Jets defense has allowed 367 points through 12 games, which is an average of more than 30 points per game. This is a historically bad Jets defense, and that’s saying something. They can’t stop the run, can’t stop the pass, and don’t get after the quarterback consistency. They also have no ability to make a game changing play, whether its strip sacks or turnovers given their affinity for not intercepting the ball and not falling on fumbles. Other than that, they’re pretty good.

2. Elijah Moore is solidifying himself week after week as this team’s #1 WR AND I am here for all of it.

3. The offensive line has continued to be impressive throughout the course of the season. I don’t believe that they are a unit that’s in the top half of the league (yet), but I do believe that progress is being made and they are a serviceable line that is going in the right direction. Much like LaFleur’s move to the booth, you can attribute the offensive success, in part, to the growth of the offensive line.

4. The Jets kicking game is an absolute embarrassment. It is borderline malpractice that Joe Douglas continues to allow this to happen. I would expect the Jets to sign a viable veteran this offseason (BREAKING: they signed veteran Kicker Eddy Piniero).

5. I think it’s reasonable to say that this defense will need 7 new starters next season. Outside of the newly-inked John Franklyn Myers, future Pro Bowler Quinnen Williams, a rejuvenated CJ Mosley and Cornerback Bryce Hall, who are they not replacing? Lawson will come back and be a starter, and Michael Carter II has been a nice piece, but I still think that you need to invest heavily in linebacker, cornerback, safety, and another edge.

6. NFL Officiating continues to be a joke and it has never been more evident and one-sided than it was in this game. I have no idea how they throw a flag on Bryce Hall for interference on Goedert or how they can claim to have sufficient evidence to overturn the 4th &a 1 call. It is wildly inconsistent and never provides clarity. It is hurting the product and officials continue to insert themselves into games more and more. The NFL has a legitimate problem on their hands.

7. It’s safe to say that Corey Davis has been a disappointment thus far in his Jets tenure. The drops and injuries greatly outweigh the few bright moments he’s had. I hope that he can return this season and show that he’s worth the money paid. If healthy and playing to his potential, he and Elijah Moore would be a nice, balanced 1-2 punch in the passing game.

8. I don’t think Ashtyn Davis is the guy at safety.

9. It may be understated how much the Jets miss Bryce Huff and Brandin Echols, but the defense should still be able to remain semi-competent in their absence… which they are not.

10. I, like many of us, lauded Robert Saleh for taking the CEO approach to the Head Coach position and giving his assistants the autonomy to do the jobs their way. It was a smart step forward, especially considering his predecessor. However, it is time for him to re-evaluate a bit and take more of a stronghold in the defense. Making his presence known is not a bad thing nor a knock on Ulbrich, but rather recognizing that help is needed and trying to fix a problem.