The Jets lost again today. New York is now 1-5 in the 2014 NFL season. The Broncos emerged victorious from MetLife Stadium by a 31-17 margin. This makes five losses in a row. When the schedule was announced, it looked like games two through seven would determine how competitive the Jets would be. With one game left in that stretch, it appears to have sunk the Jets before the season even got off the ground.
Let's jump into another unhappy recap below based on first viewing thoughts. As always, these might change on a second viewing.
Offensive Line: I think you have to include all of these guys together. The Jets lost the battle in the trenches in every sense today. The Jets only gained 2.1 yards per run, and I got the impression the biggest problem was the inability of the guys up front to get a push. Denver also record four sacks and constantly put Geno Smith under pressure. When you have a quarterback who handles pressure as poorly as Geno, that is a bad recipe. I also felt like part of the problem was the passing game. It didn't seem like the Broncos had a ton of respect for the Jets' ability to throw it down the field. The Broncos linebackers seemed to be moving in showing play action little respect. It looked like there were ample run blitzes. These aren't excuses for the line play, though. The Jets need to be able to run it effectively.
Phillip Adams: He saw extensive time today. He might see extensive time in the future. It did not look particularly pretty. Adams looks like he doesn't have much of a feel for the game. I understand giving a cushion to avoid the big play, particularly against talented receivers. You need to have the instincts to be close enough to break on the ball when tested. It looked like he gave way too much room underneath from the first play of the game, and Denver had a completion there whenever they went in his direction.
Darrin Walls: I don't really blame Walls. He should be covering number four receivers in subpackages, not going up against guys like Demaryius and Julius Thomas. He can't handle physical forces like these guys. Today he struggled when he was tested.
Calvin Pryor: I thought Pryor made some plays early, but there were also more bad angles, and while we might see on replay that he should have gotten help on the touchdown to Julius Thomas, it looked like his technique was messed up. Pryor has some traits that remind me of LaRon Landry. I mean that in both good and bad ways.
Kyle Wilson: It seemed like Wilson had a very strong game. We barely heard Wes Welker's name. The interception he could have had was nowhere near as easy as people made it out to be. That said, he gave Welker way too much cushion on the decisive play. His one bad play really cost the Jets.
Defensive Line: They really rattled Peyton Manning early, but the heat turned down. They also allowed a 100 yard rusher for the second straight week and allowed over four yards per run. I felt like the Jets were probably asking the line to carry a big load. Against the run, the linebackers couldn't commit a ton because they had to respect Denver's passing game. Against the pass, the unit had to cover up the obvious deficiencies in the secondary. This is one of the best units in the game, though. They can handle it.
Chris Johnson: While the offensive line was probably responsible for some of the problems, Johnson has looked like he is at the end of the line all year. He doesn't look dangerous with the ball. And today he ran the wrong way on a screen. The Jets are trying to get him the ball in space, but they can't if he does stuff like that. I'm starting to wonder whether he should be a healthy scratch going forward.
Chris Ivory: Not sure there was much room for him to run, but 7 yards on 8 carries says it all.
Greg Salas: He had a nice catch and run, but his only real skill is running after the catch. If you can't run good enough routes to get consistently open, you won't have many catches to run after. Your value is thus not great. That drop before the half was a killer too. It cost the Jets a potential field goal shot.
Walt Powell: He muffed a punt and might have gotten away with fumbling a kickoff. There wasn't a ton of impact to make up for those on his returns either.
Eric Decker: It's nice to see the Jets trot at least one receiver out there who can create separation by running precise routes, being physical, and setting cornerbacks up. He had 6 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown, and was robbed of a spectacular one-handed reception by a bad call. He's also doing this while playing hurt.
Jace Amaro: Amaro was a force today. He knows how to use his size and made some really nice catches in traffic. He also netted a touchdown. His game needs some refinement. He didn't take one of his routes to the sticks on a third down. He also dropped an easy grab. He seems like the kind of guy who will drop the easy ones and make the tough ones. On a week like this when the tough ones outnumber the easy ones, that is all right. He's still learning a complex position with a number of diverse roles. What is good is he has flashes where he shows he can be an impact guy. The final line was 10 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Geno Smith: I went back and forth on where to put Geno. I ended up sticking him here because at least this was better relative to how he looked over the past month. I couldn't argue if you wanted to put him in the bad section. I thought his receivers and line put him in a tough spot. He protected the ball. The only interception he threw came in a spot where he had to drive it 99 yards in about 20 seconds. You have to force low percentage throws in that spot. He also found some receivers.
I guess my issue is this is about as good as it gets for Geno. The top of his game is what he saw today where he is playing just all right, not great. I understand the surroundings are less than ideal. Just because a quarterback is pressured doesn't mean he has to handle it so poorly. Geno might have shown good mechanics in training camp, but once the games have began, they have regressed to where they were last year. He didn't see open receivers. His pocket presence is lacking. He also stared down targets and threw late. I'll give you the perfect example. On the play to Decker before the half that seemed to be incorrectly ruled an incompletion, he threw late and turned what would have been a routine catch with an on the money pass into a circus grab. That doesn't excuse a bad call, but we know calls get blown every week. Don't put the officials into a position where they might blow a call.
As we discussed above, the Broncos were determined to take away the run. They didn't respect the pass. The Jets need to make opponents pay for this. The Jets aren't capable.
Geno played better than he has recently. He isn't necessarily at the top of the list of reasons the Jets lost. We still aren't seeing enough at this point.
This is where we are at. The Jets are 1-5, and we can probably start talking Draft in October. Four days from now is a trip to Foxborough to face a Patriots team that seems to be right back on track. Things are not good right now for the New York Jets.