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No Excuses for the Jets

Excuses allow failure

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Every time I talk to a die-hard fan about the Jets, there is justified disappointment about the team’s play this year. They then usually start listing reasons why the team is doing so poorly and how bad luck and injuries are the reason for its demise. They then get upset when I give them the stink-eye look because injuries and bad luck are part of the game. You need to overcome those things to be a successful team. You could say every team goes through the same thing to a degree. The Jets actually have not fared too badly compared with most teams. This is why depth and a persevering spirit are important to a team’s success.

The Jets are just a horrible team right now because they have received very poor coaching. and the players have not taken it upon themselves to right the ship. When times are tough, a leader needs to emerge to get players to play up to a competent level of football. So far this has not happened.

When you make excuses, it allows a team to underperform, rationalizes a defeatist spirit, and infects the entire team. This is where the Jets are. No one can stop this unless the players do it themselves. Much like a person with serious personal problems must sometimes hit rock bottom before they can begin anew, the Jets must believe in themselves and in turn each other before they can be successful.

Many will say that the Jets have a 3rd string QB in now, their center is not ready to play, and they have injuries. Let’s look at who is injured and how it affects the team.

The Jets have only 4 players on IR: Quincy Enunwa, Brent Qvale, Trevor Siemian and Avery Williamson.

Avery Williamson was injured in the preseason. He is a good run stuffer but not so good in coverage (I’m being nice). He would be playing a new position this year with Mosley taking his place as the play caller. He is not irreplaceable. The Jets had plenty of time and even waivers from final cuts to replace him. They chose not to do so.

Quincy Enunwa is a nice receiver but he was always going to be the 3rd or 4th option in the passing game anyway. This is Enunwa’s 5th season as a pro. He has a grand total of 119 career receptions with almost half of them (58) coming in 2016. He is as replaceable as an acquisition off the waiver wire.

Brent Qvale is...well Brent Qvale, a player who somehow makes it on the roster. This is what I was talking about earlier when I mentioned quality depth. This player is not quality depth. He is sub-replacement level depth. He should have been sent on his way long ago.

Trevor Siemian is a poor backup QB who was reportedly Adam Gase’s handpicked choice for the job. Siemian signed a one year, $2 million contract with the Jets. He received $1 million in guarantees including a $750,000 signing bonus. The deal allows him to earn up to $250,000 in per game bonuses. An additional $1 million in incentives were based on playing time, and team performance could have increased the contract value to $3 million if earned. This was way too much guaranteed money for a backup who was not supposed to see a snap this year. He is not that good anyway and has almost no upside. He started 25 games in Denver. That team gave him a lot of support support, and he failed.

Chris Herndon is on suspension but will be back after the Eagles game.

Also I realize that C. J. Mosley, Quinnen Williams and Jordan Jenkins were out as well, but in the NFL it is, “Next man up.” It is part of football. It’s a rough sport. With the size and speed of the players now, many (sans QBs) miss games There are numerous injuries to every team, including key players.

The Jets starting offensive line is

LT Kelvin Beachum - 8 year veteran; started 86 of 91 games

LG Kelechi Osemele - 8 year veteran; 2x Pro Bowler; 1x All Pro; started 93 of 93 games

C Ryan Kalil - 13 year veteran; 5x Pro bowler; 2x 1st team All Pro; 1x 2nd team All Pro; started 145 of 148 games

RG Brian Winters - 7 year veteran; started 70 of 80 games

RT Brandon Shell - 4 year veteran; started 29 of 34 games

Let’s look at other teams and what they have gone through.

New England Patriots

The Patriots currently have 10 players on IR including their starting center (David Andrews) from a Super Bowl team. Their starting left tackle (from the Super Bowl) left in free agency. The guy they drafted this year to replace him is injured (Yodny Cajuste) and on the reserve/non-football injury list. The guy who they drafted last year to be a possible left tackle is on the IR list (Isaiah Wynn).

With their center on IR they start Ted Karras Jr. who was a 6th round pick in 2016 (#221 overall). He played guard a little but was ultimately released and signed to the practice squad. He started 5 of 45 games played

Their starting right tackle is Marcus Cannon who was a 5th round pick (#138th overall) in 2011. He has started only 54 of the 100 games he has been on the roster. He played against the Jets after a shoulder injury against the Steelers to start the year, but he wasn’t at 100%.

Their starting left tackle is Marshall Newhouse who is a 2010 5th round choice by Green Bay. Newhouse has played with the Bengals (2014), Giants (2015-16), Raiders (2017), Bills (2018), Panthers (2018), Saints (2019). He was put on IR by the Saints on 08/31/19 and released the next day. He was signed by the Patriots on 09/11/19 and has played two games with the Patriots as their starting left tackle. He has started 72 of 114 games played

Their starting RG is Shaq Mason who was a 2015 4th round pick (#131 overall). He is a 5 year veteran who started 55 of 60 games played.

Their starting LG is Joe Thuney, a 3rd round pick in 2016 (#78 overall). He is a 4 year veteran who started 48 of 48 games played

Their starting TE Ben Watson is suspended, and they have been using Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. Izzo had a 43 yard reception in the Jets game.

They have their 1st round pick (N’Keal Harry) on IR as well.

The Patriots have a bunch of mid to late round picks and journeymen players on their offensive line. some coming to them as late as 2 days after the first game.

Which team is it that you would suspect, would be having problems on the offensive line? Which team would you think would be dominating? You probably think the Jets were the team with he much better players. But as we see, it is how the player plays, not the name of the player.

Of course adjustments can be made as well. They should be immediately made by the position coach when there is a problem. If Beachum can’t handle a player you slide protection his way. There are a multitude of things coaches can do.

It all comes down to coaching and players taking it upon themselves to be better. It’s not like the Patriot players are more cohesive than the Jets. Their RT just came back from an injury, and their LT wasn’t even signed by the team until 11 days before the Jets game. It is not like the Patriots are playing with a bunch of All Pro linemen.

The game was a blowout with the Patriots actually letting off the gas ( ven sitting Brady) later in the game. Still the Jets ran 47 plays and gained a total of 105 yards. That is an anemic 2.23 yards per play. Let me repeat. That is 2.23 yards a play. The Patriots barely tried in the 2nd half and gained 388 yards in 57 plays, a 6.8 yards per play. That is 3 times what the Jets achieved on the day.

The Dolphins are tanking, actually trying to lose games. They played against a tough Cowboys team and were beaten soundly. They gained 301 yards on 44 plays which is 6.85 yards per play. That same tanking Dolphin team played the Patriots the week before and lost 43-0. Yet they still averaged 4.4 yards a play which is pretty awful but almost double what the Jets did. Aren’t the Jets supposed to have a offensive guru as a coach?

But the Jets were starting a third string QB so you couldn’t expect much. (An excuse)

All of the Jets players (all of them) are professional athletes. They get paid to play a game they have been practicing since they were children. They should be at least competent at what they do. If not, they are in the wrong profession. We are not asking for greatness (although we should). Just be capable. That is so little to ask, and we are not seeing anything close to it. Other players on other teams seem to do quite well in difficult situations.

Sunday the Giants started a rookie QB who took his first snaps as a starter away from home in 90 degree, 92% humidity Florida. His team was losing 28-10 at halftime and had lost Saquon Barkley to an ankle injury in the first half So the Giants just mailed it in...oh they didn’t. Jones threw for 336 yards and two TDs. He also ran in two TDs, and the Giants came back to beat Tampa 32 - 31.

The Carolina Panthers had their starting QB Cam Newton out so the team turned to Kyle Allen who played in the last game of the year in 2018. Allen with little prep time went on the road to the desert and threw for 261 yards and 4 TDs (no INTs) in a blowout win against Arizona. The little known kid from Texas A&M outplayed the 1st selection in the draft Kyle Murray by a mile.

The problem is not that the Jets lost, but rather they have not even been close to competitive in their last two games. They were embarrassed on Monday night at home against Cleveland. Yet Cleveland who looked very ordinary at their own home against the Rams.

With all the spread influences in the game now, the RPO (run=pass options), the read option, and a myriad of other variations you can use in offense these days, why are the Jets so stagnant? We are the Jets, but we are the only team without a jet sweep. You have to stress the defense if you want chunk plays. I don’t see that. I didn’t see it in Miami the last three years either. This is an utter failure by the coaching staff and by the players also for not demanding better. If you have a player with talent you have to put him in positions to succeed, not just run him continually off tackle.

Where is this offensive genius we have heard about? Where is the motion to see what coverage is being played? Where are a few quick hitting passes designed to jump start a drive and get a couple first downs. Where is a rub route (which every team runs) to convert a third down? How about stacked receivers which allows for a free release plus confusion for the defense? Do something to make the defense think, when they have to think they can make a mistake. I see no innovation, no energy from the players, and no speeding up the offense.

We get an occasional motion man or a bunch receiver set, but they provide no real advantage to the Jets. When you have complex offensive sets you need to have some idea of what you can get out of them, what the QB should expect to find when the play unfolds.

Remember that the first game was played entirely by Sam Darnold at home, and the Jets scored a total of 8 offensive points, one TD and one two point conversion. That is the entire scoring summart for Sam Darnold. The Jets added a 47 yard drive against Cleveland for a field goal. That is all the offensive scoring for 3 games. That is a total of 2 scoring drives in 36 total possessions.

There is no excuse for that.