1st & 10: They Make it Difficult, Don’t They?

Stephen Russo offers 10 thoughts after the Jets’ Week 3 loss to the Broncos.

This team has been given the absolute lowest bar to clear and through 3 games, they’ve failed to get even an inch over it. You are following up the worst coach in NFL history, that not only lost games in historically bad fashion, but was also unanimously hated by every Jets fan in the world. The Jets have a GM we can get behind, a Head Coach that brings intelligence, fire and excitement to a starving fan base, and a rookie QB who looks the part and can sling the pigskin, and yet they are failing yet again. We knew this team wasn’t going to be the ‘85 Bears or the ‘99 Rams, we even knew that it was going to be a struggle, and we were ok with that. But this is below any expectation that anyone could have had coming into this season. It’s putrid. It’s inept. It’s not fun.

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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.
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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.

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1st & 10: Jets vs. Giants Preseason Edition!

Stephen Russo’s latest first & 10 column

1st…

I thought this game had everything you’d want to see from our first preseason action in two years. The Jets showed life, an ability to move the ball on offense, a defense that got after it, and most importantly – no injuries! The biggest takeaway from this game was how Zach Wilson looked in his first game action as a pro. He looked in command and comfortable as he found a little bit of a groove in his two series of action. His ball had zip, he converted a few third downs (what a novel concept!), and he didn’t shy away from the pressure that he did face when it came his way. Overall, it was a great start for the rookie QB as he went 6/9 for 63 yards and led the starting Jets offense to 3 points.

& 10

1. Boy is it good to see Robert Saleh on the sidelines after staring at Adam Gase’s face for two years.

2. I think the absence of Elijah Moore helps, but I believe we are starting to see Corey Davis solidify himself as the clear cut #1 wide receiver on this team. And rightfully so.

3. CJ Mosley is ready to return with a vengeance this year. If he stays healthy, I think he is going to be a Pro Bowler.

4. There has been concern about the offensive line’s ability to pass block in the first few weeks of training camp – I was happy that they kept Zach Wilson clean in his two series.

5. One interesting nugget to keep an eye on with Saleh that hasn’t been on the radar is discipline. Saleh’s personality screams that he is diligent and detail oriented, which should translate to having a disciplined team that doesn’t punish themselves. It’s early and I’m slightly nitpicking but 6 total penalties, and a few that either negated a first down or gave the Giants a first down, are not what you want to see. It’s the 1st preseason game but it bears watching.

6. The Jets defensive line is going to be VERY good this year. Carl Lawson is going to get a lot of headlines, but I’d keep an eye on guys like JFM and Bryce Huff (who really flashed Saturday night). I could easily see Lawson having 10+ sacks with a few others also having 6 or more this year. They are going to feast on opposing quarterbacks and it is going to be glorious.

7. Good for Denzel Mims.

8. I think I like the Jets’ running back group. Ty Johnson and Michael Carter have some pep, and La’Mical Perine has impressed thus far. And we haven’t even considered Tevin Coleman. This could be an underrated unit that could surprise us with success as a group.

9. It makes me so happy that I can have a year where I don’t have to convince myself that Jeff Smith, Lawrence Cager, or Josh Malone can turn into the next Jerry Rice as they’re playing meaningful minutes on Sundays.

10. I found the starting tight end depth chart to be interesting. Ryan Griffin played with the starters, with Kroft and Herndon sprinkled in. It could be a committee approach; it could be that the coaching staff is still figuring it out. I think it’s time for one to separate himself from the pack.

1st & 10: Training Camp Thoughts

Stephen Russo kicks off his new column “1st and 10” with 10 observations/thoughts about Jets’ training camp so far.

1st…

Don’t panic. It’s August 9th. There has been a collective anxiety among Jets fans following the Green & White scrimmage on Saturday because Zach Wilson and the offense left much to be desired. It’s okay. We are less than 2 full weeks into training camp and Wilson is less than 2 full weeks into being an NFL Quarterback. Give it time, Jets fans. We’ll be alright.

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Insights from Today’s Jets Practice

Four of our writers and podcast hosts offer their takeaways from seeing the Jets in person today.

Turn on the Jets was fortunate to have four writers and hosts at today’s Jets practice. In this article, they share with you their impressions of the day’s events, ranging from Zach Wilson’s performance to Jeff Ulbrich’s defense.

What were your impressions of watching Zach Wilson in person today?

Matt Gianesses: Zach looked very comfortable today. He threw mostly good, accurate balls with only a few incompletions – one of which was a drop. His throws have significantly more zip on them than the other two QBs on the field, (Morgan and White). The ball flies out of his hand.

Stephen Zantz: Zach looked great. He was decisive and accurate. The Elijah Moore deep ball is going to big talking point but Zach made a ton of other solid throws. Besides the Moore TD, he had a great rollout bullet throw to Denzel Mims. Overall, this was a great bounce back practice for Zach after a rough day 1.

Stephen Russo:  Wilson had a great day of camp and it was great to see him bounce back from a subpar first practice.  The ball popped and he showed the ability to climb the pocket, move around within the pocket, and get out on rollouts and scrambles.  It was all capped off by a great deep ball to Elijah Moore that got the entire crowd (and Jets Twitter) fired up!

Will Parkinson: I was impressed with Wilson and it was for a few reasons. I thought he showed a swagger and confidence that was evident, especially after struggling heavily on day 1. I liked his ability to put touch on the ball when needed and then fire in a fastball when needed. Lastly, although there is a ton of room to grow, what I saw on film from Wilson was shown on the field Saturday.

What are your thoughts on Mike LaFleur’s offense now that you’ve seen it in person?

Matt Gianesses: It’s hard to tell this early on, but Zach rolled out of the pocket more than once, which was something Gase refrained from designing for his quarterbacks. I also found it amusing seeing a pre-snap motion in training camp, as Gase-led offenses rarely motioned in the regular season. 

Stephen Zantz: It’s polar opposite to what we saw with Adam Gase. The biggest thing I noticed was amount of rollouts and use of Zach’s feet. Gase never let Darnold run so it was nice to see an offensive coordinator that is utilizing a QB’s athleticism. Jet fans should be happy that we now have a seblance of what an offense should look in the 2021 NFL.

Stephen Russo:  It’s not an Adam Gase offense so immediately it’s an improvement, right?! In all honesty, it’s difficult to tell this early on but a few things that jump out are the pre-snap motion, designed rollouts, and the ability to get a lot of guys involved.  I also think that the “run-first” mentality of this offense may hold true to set up the pass, and the Jets look to be in decent shape with that RB room as Carter, Perine, and Johnson all looked good today.

Will Parkinson: A few different things stood out to me. The use of pre snap motion was something Jets fans haven’t seen in a long time and they got a bunch of yesterday just 4 days into offensive install. There was a nice mix of play action, inside and outside zone runs and straight 5 step drops. Very early on but the Jets using motion as well as a ton of 11 personal(3 WRs, 1 RB, 1 TE) was something that stood out as well; sounds crazy to fans, but actually maximizing your talent–unlike previous regimes.
  

Did any other offensive players stand out to you for positive reasons?

Matt Gianesses: To me, Elijah Moore looks like a seasoned NFL veteran. Not just from his on field play, but from the way he carries himself throughout stretches, drills, and team huddles. You could find him dancing, instigating the crowd, and cheering on his teammates. He looks like he’s been here before.

Stephen Russo:  Simply put, Elijah Moore.  He was everywhere, and already seems to have a great rapport with Wilson and is clearly his favorite target.  It doesn’t seem like Moore is a rookie and he is going to make it difficult to keep him off the field.  If the Jets plan on starting the best 3 receivers, he is easily in that group and probably at the top at this point. 

Will Parkinson: The easy answer here is Elijah Moore. Lined up everywhere mostly outside opposite Corey Davis and excelled. I really liked what I saw from Michael Carter, LaMichael Perine, DJ Montgomery, Tyler Kroft as well as how physically imposing Morgan Moses is. As big as Mehki Becton is, Morgan Moses doesn’t exactly look small compared to him, the Jets certainly have some monsters at left and right tackle.

Today’s practice was notable because of how well Zach Wilson played. Based on reports, it seems like the defense struggled. Was that your impression of today’s practice?

Matt Gianesses: The secondary definitely struggled. The pass rush did not. There were throws from Wilson, Morgan, and White that easily would have resulted in sacks. Lawson put on an absolute clinic in his limited reps.

Stephen Zantz: I wouldn’t say the defense struggled as a whole but the secondary was very shaky. A few nice PBUs but overall they were cooked by Zach. Carl Lawson was held relatively in check by Becton today but the DL was getting into the backfield a lot today. Zach’s bomb TD to Moore probably would have been a sack if it was a real game because he held onto the ball for about 4-5 seconds. I think the defense was solid but the offense was just better today.

Stephen Russo:  I don’t necessarily think the defense struggled but it was a good day for the offense.  If you were going to point to one concern, it would be the secondary but we already knew that – and we are in day 4 of training camp with a litany of rookies and second year guys getting rotated in.  Jason Pinnock made a great, acrobatic pick off his back and probably returned it for a TD.  I thought that Lawson and John Franklin-Myers flashed as well and Jets fans are going to be happy with the D-Line production this year. 

Will Parkinson: I wouldn’t say the defense played badly at all. Firstly, without full pads or even uppers on its very difficult to tell because of how cluttered run fits can look and how the outside battles can be. That said, Carl Lawson flashed every single play and the defense as a whole played fast even though they lost some battles in 50/50 balls on the outside. I didn’t think the defense played badly, but today was just more about the excitement of Zach Wilson showing his potential.

Were there any standout players on defense that you noticed?

Matt Gianesses: Carl Lawson pressured the quarterback on what felt like every other rep he took today. He was a nightmare for the offense. The Jets desperately need to keep him healthy alongside Quinnen Williams.

Stephen Zantz: No one specifically stuck out to me on defense. Granted most of my attention was on the offense looking for big plays. The one thing I will say was Saleh was super involved in the cornerback positional drills. It was great to see him providing input on a unit that definitely needs work.

Stephen Russo:  Carl Lawson would be the one defensive player who flashed.  Him and Becton going at it day after day is going to be great for both of them.  Outside of Lawson, there was nothing really notable for the defense, but it wasn’t a bad day either.  

Will Parkinson: Carl Lawson. I’ve written and studied him all winter and spring and he is every bit the player I’ve watched on film. He’s physical, he’s intelligent, he’s fast and has a million pass rush moves. He is going to make Mehki Becton so much better from battling everyday but Lawson will only get better once the pads come on. Jets may have finally solved there edge problem.

Are there any other observations or thoughts that you would like to share with fans based on today’s practice?

Stephen Zantz: The biggest takeaway I have is that Elijah Moore is going to be a really good player for the Jets for a long time as long as he is healthy. You can see the difference between him and everyone else. His route running and speed combination was awesome to see. He looked like the best player out there today. Something I also loved to see was how involved Saleh was with all the units during practice. I saw him taking notes as he walked around the field. It was just really refreshing to see his approach conmpared to what Gase was doing the past two years. Overall, it was a great day for the fans and I highly recommend people try and go to a practice or the green/white game.

Stephen Russo:  Robert Saleh addressing the fans at the end of practice is exactly why this fanbase is so optimistic going into 2021.  He wrapped practice up with the team, grabbed the mic, and thanked us all for being there and told us about about the character of his guys.  He ended it with an “All Gas, No Brake” chant that got the crowd completely fired up and was a great way to end a great day.  We’re 4 days into camp so I don’t to put the cart before the horse, but I truly believe that the combination of Saleh and Douglas could have the Parcells-ian like impact on this franchise.  All Gas, baby!!

Will Parkinson: I think the biggest takeaway was the the culture and vibes around one Jets Drive are certainly changing. They are still a major work in progress but the energy was buzzing and you could tell they’re trying to build something short term and long term here. There’s a lot of young talent and some high level veterans that will have to gel and have things break their way, but the fans, players and coaches all seem to be trying to build something special.