1. Stick with Darnold and Bowles the entire year, but ditch Bowles at the end
After last night’s collapse, it seems like the popular vote is to ditch both Bowles and Bates. I am completely on that bandwagon. We need better coaching across the board. However, do this at the end of the year. Do not make any coaching changes mid-season. The worst thing for a rookie QB is instability. Keep everything the same for this year and live with what we get. I don’t want to take any chances with screwing up Darnold’s progression by abruptly switching up the coaches or benching him. Keep Darnold in the games, worry about the coaching changes in the offseason.
2. Entertain the thought of reaching out to Chris Petersen and Lincoln Riley
For those who don’t know, Petersen is the current head coach for the University of Washington and Riley the head coach for the University of Oklahoma. These are the two hottest names in college football right now in terms of coaching. Petersen is quickly turning into a college football legend, building dynasties at both Boise State and now Washington. He’s known for always finding the right players, running both an efficient offense and lights out defense, and most importantly discipline...something we clearly lack. Petersen can come in right away and right the ship. Riley would be the flashier pick, a possible McVay 2.0. He’s only 35 years old and he’s put together the best offense in the nation. For those sick of dealing with defensive minded and offensively challenged Jets coaches, Riley is an interesting option.
3. Make the offensive line the absolute number 1 priority in the offseason
This is basically stating the obvious at this point, but it needs to be said until it happens. After 3 games, it’s clear that this is the team’s weakest link next to coaching. Darnold can’t even afford to take a seven step drop without three guys being in his face. No wonder the only passing plays we do are screens and exaggerated play action bootlegs. We have the cap space and the draft picks in order to go all-in on a new o-line.
4. Add receiver to the shopping list as well...or playmaker in general
Outside of Enunwa, nobody seems to have proven their worth for the offensive skill positions. Crowell and Powell have had flashes, but are also inconsistent. Anderson looses the ball everytime he touches it. Kearse, Pryor and the tight ends are nowhere to be found. We need to get some better weapons for Darnold. Does this mean reconsidering LeVeon Bell? If we can afford both him and some linemen, maybe. My point here is that we need to explore all options and get some dynamic playmakers.
5. DON’T PANIC
Did the Dolphins loss suck? Yes. Did the Browns loss suck? Yes. Will future games against the Jaguars, Broncos, Vikings and Pats suck? Yes. Will Darnold have an underwhelming rookie year? Probably. Will we give the Bills their first and only win? Probably. Is it all bad? Not quite. There’s still a ton of promise with this team. We’ve got a young, good defense and a 21 year old QB with the composure of a 10 year vet. If we find the right coach and build a solid offense around Darnold, we’ll be alright. I like to think of it this way: our situation right now seems very similar to the 2016 Rams coaches by Jeff Fisher and led by a rookie Jared Goff. They were not good that year. However, they found the right coach and loaded up on weapons and within two years they are a Super Bowl contender. Hopefully we’re next.