TOJ’s 1st & 10: A Predictable Dud

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


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.

TOJ’s 1st & 10: An Ugly Win is Still a Win

Stephen Russo walks fans through how they should feel about yesterday’s Jets win.


Was this the game we all wanted to see? Absolutely not. We had all hoped for Zach Wilson to come back from more than a month away and look like Aaron Rodgers in a high-powered offense and throw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns because booth Mike LaFleur is clearly the second coming of Mike Martz and can get any QB to look like a Hall of Famer. But that’s not what we got. What we did get was a gritty performance by a young team and a young quarterback who got better as the game went on.


1st & 10: Zach Squanders Opportunity Against the Patriots

Stephen Russo analyzes the Jets’ Week 2 performance in this week’s 1st & 10.

This was a winnable game and the Jets will be kicking themselves for squandering this opportunity. It was the home opener, with fans chomping at the bit for Jets football, and quite frankly, Zach Wilson pissed it away. The rookie is going to have games like this, but we have to call it what it is: a poor performance by a young QB when everything else went surprisingly well. The Jets’ linemen blocked, the defense played well, and they ran the ball effectively. And while you know struggles are going to come, you really wish they weren’t against the Patriots for once. This one is on Zach Wilson.

New York Jets 1st & 10: Painful Season Opening Loss in Buffalo

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets week one loss to the Buffalo Bills…


Allow me to preface everything I will write from here with this: it is just one game. I will not look to fill the air (or the page) with excuses, because we really don’t care, we just want results. However, the facts are the facts. This was a season opener after the strangest offseason in history with a completely new offensive line and basically a new receiving corps against a very good opponent. So, I will not be hitting the panic button just yet… but damnit I am close.


New York Jets 1st & 10 – Ugly Wins

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the Jets ugly win over the Miami Dolphins


A win is a win. In this league, you’ll take it. While the narrative is different because the Jets are now 5-8, this is a game that would have been deemed a “gutty” performance had it gotten the Jets to 8-5. The truth is that ugly wins count just as much as dominant wins and are the marks of a good team. The other truth is that the last nine years of ugly football and the first 11 months of Adam Gase’s tenure with the Jets haven’t afforded this team much in the way of credit for ugly wins.


New York Jets 1st & 10 – Big Things vs. Oakland

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets big win over the Oakland Raiders


This was the statement win the Jets needed. The Jets, for the moment, somewhat solidified the shaky ground they have found themselves on. They beat a quality opponent, top to bottom, in a dominant fashion.

The Oakland Raiders came into Sunday on a three-game winning streak, with a formidable running game and Derek Carr in the midst of a career year, and the Jets wiped the floor with them. The Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead on their first drive and didn’t come close to the end zone after that.


1st & 10: Jets Drop Another to the Jags and Trade Deadline Thoughts

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets current situation post trade deadline…

Let me start with a simple thought: I am done with Adam Gase.

I was skeptical when the hire was made in January. I’m being too polite. I was livid when this hire was made. Adam Gase was a notch below Mike McCarthy on my coaching wish list. And Mike McCarthy was rock bottom. The two-hour roller-coaster ride of the should have been Matt Rhule hire to a quick change of direction to give the job to Gase was a swift kick to the you know what…

Like any other fan, I learned to deal with the fact that he’s not going anywhere.  While I disagreed with the hire, I ultimately wanted to be proven wrong and wanted the team to succeed. So, I let him endear himself to me. He made some progress with little quips on One Jets Drive, his playful banter with Jamal Adams, and of course, the smelling salts.


1st & 10 – Thoughts Jets Embarrassing Loss to New England

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots


I did it. I made a mistake. I made THE mistake. I allowed myself to believe. I allowed myself to become prisoner of the moment. In a world where, especially in the NFL, teams, players and coaches alike are either crowned or dragged through the mud on a week to week basis, I let myself become part of it. And against my better judgment. I admit, when Darnold returned for a lights out game against the Cowboys, it was a breath of fresh air. The guy seemed to erase every possible question mark the Jets had. Instead of remaining objective, taking a step back and looking at the big picture which I have always prided myself on, I thought everything was primed for change. Needless to say I was wrong…


1st & 10 – Jets Drop to 0-3 With Another Dud in New England

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the New York Jets 0-3 start


It was clearly unrealistic to expect the Jets to go into Gillette Stadium on Sunday and pull out a victory. They were without 7 starters (!) and their most important pieces on both sides of the ball in Mosley and Darnold. However, what is not unrealistic is to expect them to put up a fight. Sunday, instead of looking at this as a situation where they were playing with house money, they saw it as a reason to lay down. That is 100% on the coaching staff. Again, there was no creativity, no imagination, no trick plays. No chances taken, no throws downfield. Nothing. Adam Gase and his staff appeared to be perfectly content running a vanilla game plan, taking their lumps, and sauntering back to New Jersey to lick their wounds. On an NFL Sunday that featured seven different teams sending their backup quarterbacks into action, only one team was only able to muster 105 yards of total offense and no offensive points. Anyone know which team???