Week 3 - The Saga Continues

Just writing a weekly blog about what is happening, and guesses on what I think will continue to happen. So far, I think I've done a pretty good job of predicting where the highs and lows would be in the next weeks following game, and the areas for concern. I'm going to try to continue to do that here before game 4 with Jacksonville.

Sam Darnold

Contrary to what others may think, I don't think Sam had a bad outing. I don't really blame the quarterback. If your team runs 3 plays all game long, your stats are going to be bad as soon as the defense starts to key on how to stop those plays. Darnold hit on 50% or so of his passes because the passing plays were not varied in any way. Not his fault. Poor game planning. I think Darnold did a great job if you consider certain things. On multiple plays he escaped not one, but two defenders and threw accurate passes while running nearly full speed. Sanchez couldn't do that, neither could Geno, Fitzpatrick, or McCown. Darnold can do some things that I've only seen Aaron Rodgers do with regularity when it comes to accuracy, ball placement, and escaping the pass rush. That's a huge positive that will only get better over time.


Mentioned earlier, but there are clear tells that the Jets are giving away that are going to be more obvious as the season goes on. I think the screen passes on offense are going to fade away as everyone has caught on and is game planning. If they continue, look for one to be intercepted for a touchdown against Jacksonville.

On the defensive side, I don't fault Kacey Rodgers for his play calling in it's entirety. He blitzed up the middle, he brought corners on blitzes, he bunched his outside linebackers, and ran them on delayed blitzes and through every combination of gaps. I watched that unfold in the second half of the Browns game. The net result was zero pressure on the quarterback. This connects with an interview Pepper Johnson had a little while ago, because during all the different blitz attempts, the coverage was softer than fresh baked bread, so the blitzing from different angles didn't match the coverage. As a result, Mayfield ate up the zone. Don't fault the coaching for the defensive play calling, but I do fault that the play calls didn't match well from the front seven into the defensive backfield.


One thing that people say about Sam Darnold is that you can't rattle him. He's "cerebral". I think that is a good thing, but it's also a bad thing. When the Jets need a spark, and someone to rally the troops, Darnold is very low key, just like Bowles is very laid back. They don't have a fiery competitor type of leader, which is what Baker Mayfield is. I'm not advertising Baker Mayfield, and I'm happy with Darnold. I'm only pointing out that in games that you're team is down, and you need a rally, there currently is no one to kick everyone in the ass and march the ball down the field. It doesn't have to be your quarterback, but someone on this team needs to be the voice that captures the room.

Eric Tomlinson

I'm going to keep beating this like a drum, but I don't see the purpose of Eric Tomlinson on this team. He's supposed to be a blocking tight end, but he's not that far superior as a blocker to justify a spot. He has had a penalty every game this year, or he's had a missed assignment blocking, or a sack because of poor pass blocking. Add to that, the guy is a turnstile as a receiver, with a verified 5 second 40 time and I don't see why he's playing over Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling, or Chris Herndon. Would much rather see growing pains with younger tight ends that can catch a seam route, than a guy that is mediocre on a good day. Of all Jets current players, he is my least understood as to why he's on the roster.

Playing Not to Lose

The ultra conservative offensive play calling is seriously hurting this team. I can count on one hand the number of passes that have been thrown longer than 20 yards. Once the defense starts to move up to stop the short game, I haven't seen any adjustments. To me that seems to match the personality of Bowles. Not daring, not aggressive, but trying to make sure he doesn't get fired. You can't make progress if you never make change.

Week 4 Jacksonville Outlook

The Jaguars just came off a good win against the Patriots. Week 3 they play the Titans, so there is a good possibility they could be undefeated playing the Jets at home. This is a trap game for the Jags who were beaten by the Jets last season in overtime 23-20.

If the Jags are smart they will put all pro corner Jalen Ramsey on Quincy Enunwa all game and force Darnold to throw to any other receiver. Also on defense, I'd expect an interior pass rush from Marcell Dareus, Yannick Ngakoue, and company to consistently stunt and beat the guards and center. James Carpenter and Winters could each give up multiple sacks and/or strip sacks and knockdowns as they've been consistently beaten by rushers stunting back inside on pass and run plays. Finally, defensively the Jags have Dante Fowler and Calais Campbell on the edge. This may be one of those games where the Jets cannot generate a run game, and also cannot generate a passing game, and have a 3 point 1st half.

On offense the Jaguars are going to lean on Fournette, Yeldon, and continue gutting the Jets up the middle of their defense. Blake Bortles is much maligned, but he's played well this year, and can spread it around. I think this game could be close if the Jets do everything right, but if the offensive play calling doesn't change, it will be a game of receding field position to where the Jags start at midfield and the Jets behind their own 10 yard line. If that happens it could be a blow out loss for the Jets.

This game may be the one that puts Todd Bowles on the hot seat, because I don't see it being particularly close or competitive. On the bright side, the next 4 games has potential for the Jets to win 3 of 4 with 3 home games and teams they have favorable match-ups against for a possible 4-4 or 3-5 mid season record.

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