The Jets’ Playoff hopes are probably done
The Jets remain mathematically alive, but they are now long shots to end their eleven year postseason drought. With the win, the Jaguars passed the Jets for ninth place in the conference. The teams are both 7-8, but the Jaguars own the head to head tiebreaker. So do the Patriots who are a half game ahead of the Jets. The Jets will need to pass both teams and either the Dolphins or the Chargers, both of whom are now a game and a half ahead of the Jets. The Jets and Jaguars have two games left. The other teams have three games remaining. It just doesn’t seem like there is enough time left for the Jets to catch these teams. There is also one other important matter. Moving up in the standings requires the Jets to win games, and they don’t seem capable of that right now.
Zach Wilson won’t figure it out this year...and probably never will
When a young quarterback gets off to a rough start in his career, there are frequently calls for patience. That is frequently a reasonable request. Adjusting to NFL at the most difficult position does tend to take time. Players are capable of improvement through the course of their careers.
However, through Zach Wilson’s two NFL seasons, I’m not sure many have properly appreciated the degree to which the former BYU quarterback has struggled. His issues go beyond being a young and inexperienced quarterback. His statistics have been among the worst of recently drafted quarterbacks at comparable points of their careers. His statistical contemporaries have been alarming.
Through 22 career starts— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) December 23, 2022
Zach Wilson JaMarcus Russell
8-14 W-L 7-15
70.9 Pass Rating 70.8
15 Pass TD 16
6.44 Yards/Att 6.34 pic.twitter.com/sSW4THPiYn
Wilson has fallen to a point where the Jets benched him for a quarterback, Chris Streveler, who is currently on the practice squad. Worse, the offense actually did more with Streveler in there. This wasn't an isolated incident either. The Jets offense has looked better over the last two years with Mike White, Josh Johnson, and at times even Joe Flacco under center.
Basic aspects of the position seem to elude Zach Wilson, and at the end of year two it is fair to wonder whether he will ever pick them up.
The Jets didn’t get the performance they needed from their defense
A lot of this loss was on the offense and Wilson in particular, but I didn’t think they got what they needed from their defense either. I know it is easy to look at the final score and say they only gave up 19 points.
That said, after forcing an early turnover the defense allowed Jacksonville to score on four of its next five drives to take total control of the game. The only drive that didn’t result in points ended on a missed field goal. Within this sequence was a 16 play, 96 yard touchdown drive that gave the Jaguars the lead for good. The Jets were left to chase the game from that point.
Holding a two score lead against an inept offense in the second half, it wasn’t surprising to see Jacksonville’s offense have less success later on. Especially on a night with bad weather, the only way the Jaguars could lose at that point was to make a game altering mistake on offense. By that point, the Jets defense had already failed.
This season is starting to look like a failure
I really hate to see this because the Jets have clearly made progress. This is a better team with more building blocks than we have seen in the past decade. Of course, that is partially because of a low bar.
Before the start of the season, 7 wins would have been viewed as a success. The way you get to 7 wins matters, though. While the Playoffs weren’t an expectation in September, the Jets entered December 7-4 and in position to make the postseason.
There are some excuses with key players lost to injury, but that cannot explain away everything. I’m not sure you can ever say a season with a December collapse is a success.
Robert Saleh has to take a lot of the blame
I have given Saleh frequent praise this season. I have liked a lot about his approach. We began to see his vision of a team come into focus. I think he has handled some very difficult situations expertly and kept players in the fold who could have been lost.
A coach has to take the heat, however, when we discuss a collapse. The coaching staff collectively is having a bad December. Twice in the last four weeks I have struggled to understand what Mike LaFleur was trying to do on offense. That’s ultimately on Saleh.
By no means am I suggesting that Saleh should be fired after this season, but it is very disappointing to see this team falling apart and the coaching staff lacking answers. A few weeks back I thought the Jets might really be onto something. Now I am less sure.