Welp. What can I say? My observation that the Jets are still in rebuild mode may have been a bit too kind. There are bad teams, there are unprepared teams, there are bad AND unprepared teams, and then there’s the Jets.
The team performed as if Adam Gase didn’t hold a practice all off-season. Similarly, Sam Darnold and the entire offense looked stiff and rusty on the field, with an abysmal first half accumulating just 22 yards. Likewise, the defense seemed to have no answer for Josh Allen. The third year product out of Wyoming has developed tremendously in 2+ years in the league, and is slowly cementing his status as a Jet killer.
The list of cons from this past Sunday could go on forever, but I’ll defer the doomsday attitude for one more week and talk about some pros as well.
Mekhi Becton: In a game where young players either underperformed or didn’t perform at all, Mekhi Becton started out the gate strong. Becton allowed only one sack and one pressure for the entire game, while facing a true talent in Jerry Hughes on the opposite side of the ball. The rest of the offensive line allowed 2 more sacks and 15 more pressures. While it’s only been one week, Becton has shown that he can refine his raw talent, and potentially be the blindside of the future.
Marcus Maye and Bradley McDougald: In the absence of Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye and Bradley McDougald shined in the secondary. Maye recorded 2 sacks, 10 tackles, and a forced fumble. McDougald added 8 tackles and a fumble recovery (the same fumble Maye forced). Although Allen was able to carve up the rest of the secondary through the air, Maye and McDougald’s open field tackling ability, plus their commitment to get to the quarterback, leaves the safety position in better hands than Jets fans previously thought.
Sam Ficken: In a recap where I have to search hard for pros, Sam Ficken sticks out as a small but significant bright spot. The kicking woes from last season seem to be in the rear view mirror, after Ficken made both field goal attempts and extra point attempt yesterday. Ficken, who was signed by the Jets mid-season last year, is coming off a career high 70% field goal percentage. Game 1 against the Bills is a sign that his reliability continues to grow.
Sam Darnold: Much to Jets fans dismay, Sam Darnold still leaves the team with a giant question mark; is he THE guy? It was a clear assumption that Darnold would be coming into this season ready to prove that the last 7 games of 2019 were not a fluke. Winning 5 out of their last 7, Darnold almost kept his promise of running the table, and had nothing but positive momentum coming into the 2020 season. Poor decision-making and shaky accuracy shows that the ghosts of Darnold’s past still linger.
Le'Veon Bell: Who has a four year $52 million contract and almost nothing to show for it? You guessed it. Le’Veon is a locker room guy every club dreams of. His friendship with his teammates, positive social media presence, and desire to silence the haters makes him one of my favorite players to ever wear a Jets uniform. However, would it kill him to have some on field production? A late game hamstring injury cut his day short on Sunday, but this isn’t the first frustrating outing for Le’Veon. In 16 games started for the Jets, Bell has just 803 rushing yards and 493 receiving yards; hardly the running back that was promised coming over from Pittsburgh. Albeit, the offensive line has been an issue ever since his arrival, but a more involved package in the passing game could help the Jets get their money’s worth.
Wide Receivers: Jamison Crowder had a spectacular game. The absence of Robby Anderson has left Crowder as option 1, and he didn’t disappoint on Sunday with 7 receptions for 115 yards and a score. However, the depth chart thins out after Crowder. Perriman’s underwhelming debut and Herndon’s costly fumble summarized the Jets receiving core perfectly. The Jets 2nd round pick Denzel Mims also sat on the sidelines with an injury. Darnold has under performed, but with a depleted and frankly noncompetitive receiver group, he has no way to grow.
Adam Gase: Superlative for head coach most likely to be fired first this season easily goes to Adam Gase. It seems everyone but those within the Jets organization have figured out that Gase swindled both New York and Miami for two head coaching jobs and zero quarterback development. The infamous “quarterback whisperer”, the GENIUS behind Peyton Manning and the Bronco’s electric offense, has shown he is nothing more than a copy and paste of talent-less offensive coordinators throughout the football world. His bland and scripted offense proves no match for attentive defenses. His inability to demand the most out of players leads to lack of enthusiasm on both sides of the ball. From the beginning, the Adam Gase show was destined to be canceled, and it’s up to Joe Douglas to take charge and find a leader who can operate a rebuilding team and generate talent.
Next Sunday matches the Jets up with one of the best defenses in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers. Richard Sherman, Nick Bosa, and the plethora of others pieces on the opposite side of the ball should prove a tougher test for Darnold and the newly rebuilt offensive line. After a solid first game from Jimmy G, he’ll look to take advantage of the cornerback woes displayed by the Jets in week 1. All in all, another tough matchup. If the trend of week 1 continues, look out for some “Tank for Trevor” content.