Following each Jets game this season, I’ll be participating in the post-game tradition of listing out the studs and duds of the Jets’ previous game — but with a new twist.
Each player listed, whether they were a stud or a dud, is capable of earning up to five points positively or negatively, depending on how good or bad their performance was. In total, the scores of each player listed will add up to match the Jets’ scoring margin from their game that week. This past Sunday, the Jets fell by one point to the Bills, so the combined point total of every player listed below will add up to -1.
At the end of the season, I’m hoping this scorecard system will help us get a good look at which players had the biggest impacts on the team, both positive and negative.
As an added note, no coaches (or general managers) will be involved in these lists.
The studs earn the privileges of having some nice colors attached to their name, while the duds merely get tagged with various levels of badness. Let me know in the comments if you have some creative name ideas for the dud labels.
- Studs: Gotham Green (5 points), Platinum (4), Gold (3), Silver (2), Bronze (1)
- Duds: Level 5 (-5 points), Level 4 (-4), etc.
Here are my studs and duds from the Jets’ Week 1 loss.
C.J. Mosley - Gotham Green (5 points)
Mosley looked like a superstar in his debut, registering a pick-six, a fumble recovery, and a touchdown-saving pass deflection. His absence crushed the defense, as the Jets allowed three points over three quarters prior to his injury and 14 points over the first two drives they played without him. Bills running backs had gained 28 yards on eight carries prior to Mosley’s exit, then gained 57 on four attempts in the very first drive after Mosley went to the sideline.
Le’Veon Bell - Gotham Green (5 points)
Bell had a strong game in the box score, even if unspectacular. He rushed for 60 yards on 17 carries and caught for 32 yards on six catches, with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. The numbers don’t do him enough justice, though. Bell created most of his rushing yardage on his own, bailing out the awful blocking in front of him on numerous occasions. His touchdown and two-point conversion catches were both impressive. Altogether, Bell had a huge positive impact in this game.
Jamison Crowder - Platinum (4 points)
Crowder pulled in a whopping 14 catches for 99 yards. He tied Al Toon for the second-best single-game reception total ever posted by a Jet, trailing only the 17 catches posted by Clark Gaines back in 1980. Six of Crowder’s catches went for first downs. He also took an end-around handoff for four yards, impressively turning what could have been a big loss into a short gain.
Jordan Jenkins - Gold (3 points)
Jenkins made a pair of huge plays, notching a sack-fumble on Buffalo’s first drive of the game and pairing up with Brian Poole to bring down Frank Gore for a safety.
Brian Poole - Gold (3 points)
Poole was credited with allowing only one catch (for one yard) on two targets across 24 snaps in coverage. He also paired up with Jordan Jenkins to make the tackle for a safety.
Marcus Maye - Silver (2 points)
Maye had one interception called back by a Darryl Roberts penalty, and later positioned himself for another one but could not haul it in. He also made an impressive touchdown-saving tackle on Devin Singletary in the open field, and made a total of five tackles without being credited for any misses. Most importantly, he stayed quiet in his deep role, allowing nothing to be completed over the deep middle.
Steve McLendon - Bronze (1 point)
Nothing spectacular from McLendon, but I thought he played the run well and did a good job containing Josh Allen in the pocket. Some other players seemed to over-pursue a few times, allowing Allen a lane outside of the pocket, but McLendon appeared to do a consistently good job staying strong and hold his ground to prevent Allen from getting on the move.
Lachlan Edwards - Bronze (1 point)
Edwards punted well, five times pinning the Bills inside of the 20. He forced four fair catches, allowing only one of his seven punts to be returned (which resulted in no gain). Edwards pinned the Bills at their two-yard line on a kick downed by Trenton Cannon, setting up the Jets to score a safety on the next play.
Blake Cashman - Level 1
Cashman entered the game following Mosley’s exit, and struggled mightily against the run. In addition to poor gap discipline, Cashman had a bad missed tackle. The switch from Mosley to Cashman is likely the biggest reason for the run defending struggles that ensued late in the game.
Brandon Shell - Level 1
I think each member of the offensive line deserves some blame for the bad performance put forth against the Bills. It was the first live game action for this five-man unit as a group, and it showed. There are a couple of culprits who I think deserve the most blame that we will get to later, but Shell was in on it as well. His pass protection wasn’t horrid, but his run blocking was not good.
Kelechi Osemele - Level 1
Similar to Shell, there was not too much blatantly horrible about Osemele’s performance, but he seemed to struggle just as much in the run game as everyone else.
Kelvin Beachum - Level 1
Beachum was called for a hold on the Jets’ last play with a realistic chance to win the game, but the offense could not convert on the play anyway. He did not generate any push in the run game, looking just as much like a liability in that phase as he has been in the past.
Brian Winters - Level 2
Winters had a holding call with the Jets at their own five-yard line, backing them up to their own three-yard line. He really struggled in pass protection, as he was credited with three pressures and was a part of numerous breakdowns.
Ryan Kalil - Level 2
I do not want to knock Kalil too harshly given his limited preparation time for this game, but he struggled. He was credited with allowing a team-high four pressures, a very bad number for a center. Protection breakdowns plagued the offense all day, as unblocked defenders ran wild in Sam Darnold’s face. Hopefully Kalil and the rest of the unit can get things sorted out now that they have a game under their belts together.
Kaare Vedvik - Level 3
Not much to say here. The Jets lost by one point and Vedvik left four points on the field — although his missed extra point was later made up for by a converted two-point try (which would not have been attempted if Vedvik had made the first extra point).
Given recent league averages, an NFL kicker would be expected to produce about 3.2 points out of an extra point and a 45-yard field goal, and Vedvik produced zero, so his value in this game would be about -3.2 points.
A situation that has plagued the Jets for months ends up costing them a victory in their first game.
Quincy Enunwa - Level 3
One catch for eight yards across 48 passing snaps is not going to cut it. Enunwa momentarily left the game early on, but returned to play out the rest of the game. Either Enunwa is already playing at less than 100% health, or he simply had yet another silent game in which he couldn’t create separation downfield. Neither choice is all that great for a player who was just given $20M guaranteed.
Sam Darnold - Level 3
Darnold threw for a career-low 4.3 yards per attempt, averaging an incredibly low 6.3 yards per completion. I know he was done no favors by the offensive line or the pass catchers other than Bell or Crowder, but Darnold still made plenty of mistakes that were independent of anybody else’s struggles.
His accuracy was off all game, as he could not buy a completion down the field. In the second half, he had a trio of bad misses to Robby Anderson, most notably a pair of back-to-back bomb attempts in the fourth quarter. Even in the short range he was shaky. Bell bailed him out on the touchdown play with a great catch on a low throw. Crowder had to adjust to a few passes underneath. Darnold also took an avoidable sack that knocked the Jets out of field goal range (not that the Jets had a kicker who could make one).
The help was not aplenty for Darnold in this game — but it was certainly better than what he got when he looked like a superstar against the Texans and Packers last year. In those games, Darnold’s running backs dropped passes, allowed pressure, created nothing in the run game, and fumbled the ball away once. His defense got him only one takeaway over the two games, and he had to keep up with 73 points from Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers. Yet, Darnold overcame these obstacles and played great football, keeping the Jets in games they had zero business being in.
This past Sunday, Darnold’s defense gave him five takeaways, and he had to out-shoot Josh Allen, whose offense scored three points in the first three quarters. Bell and Crowder created a lot of offense after the catch, and made some good catches on less than ideal throws. There weren’t any blatant drops, and no Jets skill players fumbled the ball away.
Darnold played a bad game. Some other parts of the offense failed to help him out, but he didn’t do a good job pulling his own weight, either. The quarterback needs to be evaluated independently of everyone else — his performance can’t just be given a pass by default because the offensive line wasn’t good or one of the receivers didn’t do anything. There certainly are times when a quarterback’s supporting cast is so terrible that he has almost no chance to succeed — we saw it last year at Chicago and New England — but Week 1 against Buffalo was not one of those games.
The Jets didn’t need much from Darnold to beat Buffalo, but he just couldn’t make the one or two big plays they needed to get them over the tiny hump. Hopefully it goes down as an outlier in a breakout season rather than a sign of things to come.
On the plus side, Darnold recorded his fourth consecutive start without an interception. Including last year’s playoffs, it’s the second-longest active streak in the NFL, behind only Matthew Stafford. Big points to Darnold for this, in spite of the other issues he had.
Darryl Roberts - Level 4
Forget about the depth issues — the Jets have a crisis at cornerback in the starting lineup. Roberts was brutal, credited with allowing five catches on seven targets for 77 yards, all of them first downs (one of the incomplete passes were dropped). Most notably, Roberts played some of the worst coverage you will ever see in the NFL on a play in which he allowed John Brown to score the eventual game-winning touchdown from 38 yards out. He was even called for a hold on that play — one of three penalties for him in the game, along with a neutral zone call and an away-from-the-play hold that wiped out a Marcus Maye interception.
Trumaine Johnson - Level 4
Johnson is inching closer to becoming the obvious most overpaid player in the NFL, if he isn’t there already. Any hope of him having a bounceback season was squashed as he got picked apart by one of the weakest passing attacks on the Jets’ schedule this year. Johnson was credited with allowing seven catches on eight targets for 110 yards, with five of the catches for first downs.
Here’s a look at the Week 1 scorecard: