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Recapping Jets Offense at Detroit - Did Anyone Show Up?

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The Jets offense put on a dismal display at Ford Field. Was there anything positive to take out of it?

NFL: New York Jets at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Ouch. On the offensive side of the ball, that was a rough performance if we’re putting it nicely. The Jets padded their stats against a prevent defense late in the game to make their numbers look somewhat believable, with 156 yards of passing and 85 yards of rushing, but it was actually far worse than that.

Throughout most of the game the entire offense, in particular the starting group that played much of its time against Detroit’s backup defense, struggled to win its matchups on every part of the field. The Jets had -3 passing yards in the first half.

Save for McCown’s one drive against the Titans, this offense has managed 6 points and no touchdowns in nearly two full games. Crazy as it may seem, the offense has shown no signs of life without Josh McCown at the helm.

Still, there were a couple good things to take out of this game. Here’s a look at who stood out most in Detroit, in ways both good and bad.

THE GOOD

Bilal Powell

In spite of the feeble run blocking, Powell showed why he is possibly the team’s most reliable and explosive offensive weapon. He ran for 32 yards on 9 carries, a mediocre average of 3.6 yards per carry, but consider this. Throughout both preseason games, the rest of the team’s running backs have combined for 37 carries. Those runs have gone for just 2.2 yards per carry, which well represents the separation between Powell and the rest of the backs on the roster. He also had a 17 yard catch and run that was the team’s biggest play of the first half.

Bilal Powell needs to be fed. And if the Jets want to survive, they need to feed him.

Bryce Petty

Petty’s second half in this game was the best we’ve seen either him or Hackenberg play throughout the two preseason games. He complted 15 of 24 (63%) of his passes for 160 yards with one desperation pick. Petty seemed confident out there with a sense of awareness he hasn’t really shown before. He was quick to feel the rush and escape, making a few plays outside the pocket but also hanging tough inside for a few nice throws. Petty was mostly on time and accurate throughout his appearance. He even slid at the end of a run, an elementary quarterback play but a good sign for a guy who has taken a tremendous beating in his short career. It’ll be hard to surpass Christian Hackenberg on the depth chart, but Petty made a strong case for the #2 spot in this game.

Here’s an excellent play from Petty. He stands tight in the pocket and with the pressure closing in delivers a strike with a perfectly placed ball to Myles White, who led the team with 43 receiving yards on 3 catches from Petty. He doesn’t let the pressure affect his feet at all.

Jordan Leggett has also flashed a bit through two games, catching 3 of 5 targets for 48 yards, but did lose on two contested balls in the end zone in this game. He was in on the longest Jets play of the night, shown below. The Lions only rush three late in the game, but Petty again sits tight and throws the ball through two defenders perfectly in stride to Leggett, who showcases some YAC ability.

THE BAD

The Whole Offensive Line

Before we get to the skill players, the offensive line needs to be mentioned. Trying to find a player on the line who won his matchup clean, specifically in the starting group, is a challenge. Holes were very rare in the run game while Hackenberg had the pressure in his face as soon as he dropped back quite a few times.

This play below, the third of the game, is indicative of the line’s struggles. Perhaps Hackenberg made a mistake in setting the protection, but everybody still gets beat except for Brian Winters, who also had a rough game overall.

Here you can see Winters get beat for a sack.

Christian Hackenberg

Whatever Hack did in Week 1 to inspire confidence was thrown out the window today. Was his offensive line good? No. Are his receivers experienced? No. Are his running backs experienced? No.

Despite all of that, he still has not led the Jets to a single point throughout both of his appearances, and that isn’t acceptable. Hackenberg lost more yards through sacks than he gained through the air, not entirely his fault but indicative of his performance.

He was off on every throw that wasn’t a screen to Powell. He way overthrew an open Robby Anderson deep (who continues to beat his man consistently), forced one to a covered Charone Peake short of the marker on 3rd down, and threw a pass across the field one yard past the line of scrimmage to Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ feet. There was also one play in which he let the ball slip out of his hands and was fortunate to get the incomplete pass call over a fumble.

Hack was clearly shaken by the pressure, scrambling to change things up before the snap often and reverting back to the sloppy accuracy and mechanics he showed most of his college and NFL career prior to last week.

So far, the Jets really haven’t seen any hope emerge out of the unproven parts of the offense. Christian Hackenberg has proved he still isn’t ready, the offensive line is a mess, and the younger running backs and receivers haven’t provided much spark.

What do you think? Is there any hope for this offense of being competent this season?