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Eagles 31 Jets 6: Another Embarrassment

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NFL: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets fell to 0-4 today, playing a third consecutive uncompetitive game. They were defeated by the Eagles 31-6 in Philadelphia.

There are too many big problems on this team to count right now. At least on the defensive side of the ball we are seeing a badly undermanned group show some competitive spirit for long stretches of games. Without quality cornerbacks or edge rushers, no defense is going to have lasting success in this league, but I do think this group has largely punched above its weight class so far this season.

There are disappointments on that unit. Trumaine Johnson’s play suggests that he should be a healthy scratch for the rest of the season. It isn’t clear why he was let back into the lineup today, but it did not work. Johnson was repeatedly torched. He even got smoked deep on a play where he started with an initial cushion of more than 15 yards. Putting him back into a starting role felt like a mistake.

Leonard Williams is another underachiever on defense. It seems like the only time we hear from him these days is when he commits a penalty.

But again, given what the defense has to work with, the unit is playing pretty effectively.

The same cannot be said of the offense. It has been playing at an embarrassing level all season long.

Analyzing the Jets on offense is like a game of Mad Libs.

You can’t totally blame the _______________. No offense could succeed with the _______________ and the _______________ performing like this.

Use the words quarterback, coaching, and offensive line. They fit in any order. The problems on offense are so all-encompassing that it is difficult to concern where the blame ends for one of these categories begins and where it ends for another.

The Jets allowed 10 sacks today to an Eagles team that had registered 3 total sacks in its first three games.

Was it that the offensive line couldn’t block? I would say this was part of it.

Was it because Luke Falk lacks any pocket presence and holds the ball for too long? That certainly had something to do with it.

What about coaching?

The coaches also made a lineup change replacing Brandon Shell with Chuma Edoga. We don’t know what happened behind the scenes. It is possible there was a reason for this move beyond performance. If it was based solely on performance, however, it was a terrible decision. Edoga taking Shell’s spot somehow made a catastrophic situation on the line worse.

Everybody is to blame when the offense is this inept. The Jets are down to their third quarterback. That’s a problem. It means the offensive line really needs to step up to help him out.

Want to absolve the coaching? How about the reality that every quarterback on the roster not named Sam Darnold was hand-picked by Adam Gase. If you want to argue that other teams have better backup situations, one might ask why the coach didn’t find somebody better.

But a question like that kind of misses the point anyway. Adam Gase is not the first coach in NFL history who has had to deal with a talent problem on his offensive line. He also isn’t the first coach in NFL history forced to play without his starting quarterback.

No matter the circumstances a lot of the blame must fall on him when his offense fails to register 2.5 yards per play in consecutive games.

It becomes much more egregious when the second game came after a bye. That means this coaching staff had an entire week to assess and try to address some of the problems.

Offensive success isn’t only about talent. There are plays when an offense moves the ball solely due to design. You figure out your opponent’s tendencies. You look at their weaknesses. You devise a way to get your guy the ball in favorable situations.

Perhaps most importantly, you find something your quarterback is comfortable doing and drill it in practice. Even guys who aren’t talented can execute a few concepts with enough practice.

How did the Jets prepare? With two weeks to get ready, their starting quarterback in this game did not get a single first team practice rep.

Sometimes surprises come and upend our ability to prepare out of the blue, but that isn’t what happened here.

The Jets knew there was a real possibility Falk was going to start this game from the outset of the week. This is what we heard on Monday.

So they pretty much knew what needed to happen on Monday and then spent the rest of the week pretending it wasn’t so.

Not that I want to be mean, but is there a way to describe this as anything other than total incompetence?

Would preparing Falk have made this better? I don’t know. Nobody does. I will say this, though. You might take the position that Falk stinks. If so, doesn’t that mean he would need practice reps more than anybody? If you’re already at a disadvantage, don’t you have to do everything possible to try and compensate for it? If Falk is short on talent, how much more important is superior knowledge of the gameplan?

The quarterback situation is very bad right now. That’s the result of bad luck. It’s also due to the failure to find better personnel. It should improve once Darnold returns.

The offensive line situation is very bad right now. That’s the result of neglect by people who are no longer with the organization. There is no fix on the immediate horizon. Heavy and smart investments need to happen this offseason.

The coaching situation is very bad right now. It needs to get better soon. If it doesn’t, a new offensive line won’t be the only thing the Jets will be shopping for this offseason.