There isn’t much more I can say about this game than the Jets should burn the film. This 26-0 loss to the Broncos dropped the team to 0-3. The first two games of the season went down as losses for the Jets, but there were redeeming aspects of those performances, signs of possible progress. In this one the Jets were as uncompetitive as the dismal team we saw for most of 2020.
I am trying to look at this season from the big picture and not obsess too much over the week to week performances. We all knew entering 2021 that the Jets were the youngest team in the league, setting out on a rebuild. We also knew there would be very ugly weeks where the team would have growing pains.
I do think the team’s performance to date has been disappointing. Nobody wanted 0-3, much less this type of third loss. Still my focus remains later in the season. I want to see how a young team grows and whether it improves as we get closer to the winter.
Fans have every right to be upset and question moves that aren’t working out. I don’t see the point in calling for massive changes. Joe Douglas isn’t going to be fired three weeks into the season. Robert Saleh certainly isn’t going to be fired three weeks into his tenure. Neither is Mike LaFleur. The team isn’t going to move on from Zach Wilson after three weeks. Nor should any of these things happen. Unlike the last few years where the Jets were full of high priced imports and were on the older half of the league, this is a young team where it is easier to understand ugly weeks.
That isn’t to say we can totally dismiss what we saw in this game. This was a second straight ugly game out of Zach Wilson. He didn’t get much help from his supporting cast. Corey Davis in particular failed to make a pair of potentially important catches on passes that hit him in the hands, a disturbing trend for a receiver who is supposed to be the top target on the team. Other Jets such as Ty Johnson and Michael Carter out of the backfield were unable to come up with big catches when they were there to be made.
Still I think at this point it is fair to question whether Wilson was as pro ready as the Jets seemed to believe entering his rookie season. Let me clarify. I think it is way premature to suggest Wilson was unworthy of the second overall pick. His tools made him a very viable option for that selection. It is also way premature to start bust talk.
To put it simply, some very talented quarterback prospects aren’t ready to play on day one. That’s all right. There’s nothing wrong with sitting. The Jets just didn’t give themselves that option because there was no viable alternative on the roster. They were available. One such option was the opposing quarterback in today’s game. The Jets even made a trade with his former team in the offseason. When the Jets dealt Sam Darnold to Carolina they acquired second, fourth, and sixth round picks. Carolina subsequently traded Teddy Bridgewater to Denver for a sixth round pick. Instead of taking the sixth rounder, the Jets could have asked the Panthers to throw in Bridgewater who would have been close to ideal as a placeholder starter.
However, unlike last week, this was not a game you can say Wilson lost on his own. It was a team effort. We already discussed some of the culprits on offense, but the defense turned in a total no show.
The Jets seemed to feel they had to throw a lot of blitzes on third downs at Denver because they didn’t have the pass rush to get to the quarterback. This created some unfavorable one on ones in key moments which the Broncos exploited.
The Jets also got pushed around in the run game in the first half as Denver took control. Additionally, some poor situational tackling and overly conservative zone drops left the defense unable to limit gains on short passes.
There was a general lack of discipline from the team as well as the Jets committed 8 penalties for 89 yards. Many of these were mental errors, most notably a taunting penalty on Justin Hardee on a punt with Denver leading by 17 in the second half.
I’m not sure there was any redeeming aspect of this game. Just burn the film, and hope things start getting better as we move forward.