That was an embarrassment of epic proportions.
The New York Jets offense (what little there was) made it look as if the Browns defense was playing a team from the 1920’s. I may have underplayed the vision I just put in your head. It was that bad. The entire nation had to tune in (for maybe a half) to watch the Jets look like a butt-fumble. I watched the entire game, every second, to punish myself for having even minimal belief in this team.
The only positive for the Jets is their starting QB has mono and was not available to get beaten into the ground like Beetle Bailey after Sarge was through with him. That is the only positive from this debacle. I said in an earlier post, the #1 objective 2019 season was the development of Sam Darnold. If Sam (and not Trevor Siemian) was getting prepped for surgery right now the entire season would have been lost. I feel bad for Siemian. This was his opportunity to resurrect his career, and he really never had a chance. Like I said, look at the bright side for Jet fans. This could have been Sam Darnold.
The next four games has the Jets at the Patriots, at the Eagles, home against the Cowboys and home against the Patriots. Yeesh; that is downright dreadful. The Jets will be at minimum a double digit underdog in each game. We have 0-6 staring us in the face. I predicted the Jets would go 5-11, and I think I let my fandom get in the way of my reasoning.
So who is to blame for this mess?
First thing first, the blame for a fiasco always lies at the top of the football operations. Joe Douglas has not been here long, and we know Mike Maccagnan criminally undervalued the offensive line his entire tenure with the Jets. That is a straight up fact Yet Maccagnan is gone now so Joe is on the hook for the product on the field. He brought in Ryan Kalil to shore up the center position, but that has been a utter failure to this point. It was a good try on his part, but it my be time to cut bait with Kalil. He was given a $3 million signing bonus and has a $2.4 million salary (non Guaranteed) which is $150,000 a game plus a active game bonus of $187,000 (on the 46 man squad). So Kalil is getting $337,000 a game, money that can be saved against the salary cap and used to find another player. It can also be rolled over for next year. He is simply not the same player he used to be.
The product on the field is the responsibility of the head coach Adam Gase who is another person not getting the job done. I was vehemently opposed to the hiring of Gase, the retread coach from one of our rivals. Gase in my opinion is not a head coach. He is barely an offensive coordinator whose only success came when he had future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning on the field. Manning was like a coach on the field. He could read the defense and change the play to whatever he thought would work. I don’t think that Manning working his magic is a correct selling point for Gase as an offensive genius. An offensive genius would not have allowed the chaos we saw Monday night.
Gase only became the Jets coach after others turned down the opening because Maccagnan refused to let them hire their own staff. Of course Gase turned the tables on Maccagnan. He (Gase) turned into Dorothy from Kansas, dropped a house on Maccagnan, and took the Jets green slippers for his own. He became the power of the Emerald City. But if the Jets have a few more games like the Cleveland one Joe (the Wizard) Douglas will send Gase back to Kansas in a balloon.
Sadly, for better or worse the Jets are stuck with Gase for the season. Not only is Gase the head coach, but he is also the pseudo-offensive coordinator, Dowell Loggains (Toto) is the offensive coordinator in name only. There is no way you could replace Gase and have Loggains calling plays. It is not happening.
Apparently Gase is smarter than we thought. He is irreplaceable during the season because he has a cairn terrier behind him that is incapable of performing his job. There is no way you could change the entire offense during the season. If only Gase was as shrewd at calling an offense and devising protections, we would be onto something.
The problem with many coaches (and Gase is one of those) is that they set up a game plan on Thursday but are unable to change that plan when their strategy isn’t working. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. NFL football is a dynamic game so you must be flexible and be able to change gears on the fly.
Plays like this happened all night..
Gase never changed the game plan to help the team. This was the first play of the 2nd quarter, and the Jets were still running the same offense. If you watch closely the Jets only have two receivers running patterns, and both are running deep routes. The Jets were getting dominated at the line of scrimmage so when did Gase think the Jets would have enough time to throw long time intensive routes?
Siemian takes some of the blame here as well. He started 25 NFL games in his career so he should have gotten out of this play. The play is dead before it even began as there were 9 players ready to blitz. Siemian turns his back to the defense, gives a inane play fake (you can’t hold linebackers from their drops when they are all blitzing), then turns around in time to get buried. You go to a hot read with one WR running an out and the other running a shallow cross. If the WR crosses the face of the CB, and Siemian hits him in stride across the middle it is a footrace to the end zone. Once Gase saw this he should have told his QBs about a few hot reads that are blitz beaters.
Also Gase should have changed the offense into a quick throw offense and set up chip blocks for his beleaguered linemen, anything to jump start the offense. Once the Jets started to make chunk plays from the blitz beating script, the Browns would have stopped blitzing. If you can’t take advantage of what the defense is doing they are going to continue all night until you make them pay.
Plus you need to put players in motion, the Jets were standing at the line of scrimmage at the snap all game. You get a guy like Crowder in motion. At the snap he takes two steps and is at full speed. Give him an option route (beating his man in or out), and he is open for a decent gain.
Also you have to know what is going on in the game and not stand on the sideline with a play sheet in front of your face. Late in the 2nd quarter the Jets were third and 8 at their own 12 yard line after Josh Bellamy dropped a perfect throw for a first down. There are 49 seconds left, and the Jets are down by ten. The Jets are late out of the huddle and are called for delay of the game.
WHAT? You have three timeouts left. What are you doing on the sideline? Can’t you see the clock? You have a rookie QB in there who was on the practice squad just a few days before. His head is swimming right now. Help the kid out. It moved the ball from the 12 to the 7, and now it’s third and 13. Then after the Jets (of course) throw an incompletion, the punter is punting from the middle of his end zone. He gets off a poor kick, and it took one completion to get into field goal range. If the coach is not paying attention to the game why should the players? This was just absurd. The coach gave away 3 points, and the Jets are now down by 13. You see coaches all the time run the length of the sideline to call a timeout. It was critical at that point of the game not to allow the Browns to score with the Jets getting the second half kickoff. This was on Gase, again just absurd.
This is the first play of the 3rd quarter.
There is no discernible change to the offense even though they just came out of halftime. No motion, no chip blocks, and no rub routes to get a quick completion. No change in the offense is ALL on Adam Gase. In his press conference he took some of the blame. “It starts with me, making sure I put our guys in better positions,” he said. “There are plenty of plays where, when I look back, I feel like I didn’t do a good enough job of putting them in the right spots.” Coach Gase is now Captain Obvious. The NFL stands for NOT FOR LONG if you can’t see the game play was your fault and respond quicker, like after the first series.
You have to change quickly in the NFL to combat defensive strategies. It doesn’t preclude you from changing back later in the game. This should be the basic tenet of all offensive play callers. You should have to assume you are going to have to react to something the defense is doing; you should expect that. Beachum was getting manhandled all game. How do you expect to drop back and stand there when Beachum was no match for Garrett?
On this last play the defense holds, and the Jets get the ball right back but in poor field position. There is a stunt on the play but no blitz. The Browns realized they could get home with four rushers because of the fact Gase gave his line no help.
Bell is even positioned to Garrett’s side yet he gave no help. Bell and TE Ryan Griffin both come open on the play, but the rush overwhelms Falk who is too inexperienced to change blocking assignments. Gase should know that Falk has never played in an NFL game and given him more slide protections.
After the half when the Jets got the ball I would have set up TE Griffin outside and motioned him back towards Garrett. At the snap I would of had him wham block Garrett from the side as he is engaged with Beachum, partly in payback for Siemian and partly to make him check his flank everytime he rushed again. It’s a perfectly legal tactic as long as the wham block in above waist.
Also the Jets tried a screen pass to try and slow down the rush. This is a folly of a move, and I hear it quite a bit on football broadcasts. Screen passes almost never work (and are usually incomplete or lose yardage) when run like that. The only way to correctly run a screen pass is when you are successful throwing the ball, especially short passes. It makes the defensive linemen desperate to get to the QB and stop the completions. They fly to the QB in an attempt to stop the onslaught, but it turns into a big play for the offense. You see Tom Brady do it all the time. He rarely gets sustained pressure during a game, and New England is one to the best screen teams year in and year out. So are the Steelers, because they throw the ball so well teams are careless going for a sack.
When a defense is getting good pressure they tend to expect a screen pass to come sooner or later. The offense wants to get rid of the ball and get a completion, but it is the wrong time to do it. People will disagree with me, but the best offense passes when the defense expects the run and runs when they expect the pass.
I hope Joe Douglas took good notes during the game (or just read my article) and makes some decisions about this coaching staff and the players who are underperforming. There is not a lot he can do right now, but it is a shame to see the defense get left on the field forever because of the offensive ineptitude.
Where do we go from here?
There is not a lot that can be done to fix the holes it the roster right now. What this situation can do is give Joe Douglas the opportunity to evaluate his team, each position and each player to see how or whether they fit into the future of the Jets. The next four games are doozies with each loss putting more pressure on the management team to do something to stem the tide.
Joe has to be smart and see the big picture. There should be no John Idzik moves here like wasting assets by bringing in a overpriced player. The Jets are not one player away or even three players away. Cooler heads prevail in these instances. I know some people will want a Jalen Ramsey, but he probably doesn’t want to come here and would cost more than we could afford. Besides the Jets need to make character a major factor in their search for players.
There are going to be needs out there by teams who consider themselves with a shot at the Super Bowl. The fans of teams will get impatient if there is a need, and a team doesn’t fill it with a player who might be available. The Jets might have a certain player who a team covets and may pay more than the market value for that player. If Joe feels (for whatever reason) that player doesn’t fit into the Jets future he could benefit greatly by dangling that player in front of a team in need.
Just think of your fantasy team. When an important guy gets injured (Ben Roethlisberger) you go to the waiver wire and only find Joe Flacco. You might give up a stud RB for that Russell Wilson sitting on someone’s bench. It’s either that, or your dreams of a championship this year may be gone. You never know when you might be that close again. Plus in the NFL you have the added pressure of not having a job next year if you don’t make the Playoffs.
There are currently 200 players on the IR list, and it grows everyday. The players available get less talented as each day passes. The 49ers just re-signed a tackle they put on waivers two weeks ago and didn’t even offer him a practice squad gig. In a few weeks he will seem like a great find to a team in need (if he was still available) even though he is a marginal talent.
The problem as I see it now is that teams are going to watch that Monday night game tape, and it will be blitz city against the Jets the rest of the year until they find a way to combat it. I don’t want Sam Darnold coming back to a team that can’t block and have his development hindered or (worse yet) halted because of injury.
Gase has to do something, change the offense, replace some linemen, hire a voodoo priest. He has to do something to stem the tide or this could get ugly, and Joe Douglas is watching.
I want nothing but the best for the Jets, but inaction sometimes is the best action. Oh and Frank Pollack has to do a better job of teaching the linemen how to block. New England has nine guys on IR and are down to a left tackle they just picked up off waivers; so maybe it can be done. You just have to do it.
What do you think?...