My headline is to the point. The 2023 New York Jets are a bad football team.
This is a team that can’t win even when its defense plays well. You can imagine what happens when the defense turns in a stinker. In fact, you don’t need to imagine it. You saw it in today’s 32-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
A team short on talent can’t survive two of its best players, Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner, have arguably the worst respective games of their young careers.
While the struggles of the defense, Wilson, and Gardner were not typical, an offense that could not generate much of anything was all too familiar. The Jets scored a single touchdown on a drive that required a fake punt to extend. That gives the team two touchdowns in four weeks since the bye. The Jets are 1-3 in that stretch and very fortunate to not be on a four game losing streak.
That’s the real problem with this team. The defense will have excellent games anchored by Sauce. Garrett Wilson will get back to making plays. He just won’t have any company aside from Breece Hall.
It’s one thing to lose games. Sometimes you run into a bad matchup or just get an unfortunate break or two. The Jets are losing games because they are a fundamentally flawed football team. Those flaws probably cannot be fixed.
The Jets benched Zach Wilson in this game. It was the right move. Wilson has been thrown into an almost impossible situation. The team’s failures certainly are not all his fault. Still he isn’t performing, and the Jets need to try something, anything to generate a spark. There is no bigger attempt than a quarterback change.
Do I expect Tim Boyle or Trevor Siemian to save the season? No, frankly I’m not convinced either will be better or make the offense run more efficiently. As difficult though it might be to imagine, it’s conceivable the offense could even perform worse.
I still think there needs to be a new quarterback this Friday against Miami. The Jets can’t keep the same formula they have been using on offense. Even if Boyle or Siemian somehow make things worse, it functionally won’t have much of an impact for the team’s immediate future. The ship is sinking anyway.
I’m not sure that statement applies only to 2023 either. For every failed coach and general manager, it feels like there is a game along the way that is a point of no turning back. I mean a loss so bad that you lose all hope they will be able to turn it around. Sometimes they are able to hold on for another year or two, but each day they stick around just feels like delaying the inevitable.
This loss feels like it might be just that for Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas. We all know this team lost Aaron Rodgers four plays into the season. Still, would this team have come close to reaching the Super Bowl preseason hype that was everywhere?
I’m sure the offense wouldn’t be quite this bad. Rodgers would avoid sacks by finding his outlets better. You would see less breakdowns with his ability to change plays at the line and get the team into the right protection.
Still, I’m not sure how different the team’s chances would be if he had to play with this receiver group and mess of an offensive line.
And what’s the solution heading into next season? Is it realistic to expect a 40 year old Rodgers coming back from a serious injury to lift the team on his back and transcend all of the roster problems? The Jets will have a limited budget to overhaul an offensive line and add quality receiving targets.
We will have plenty of time to break that down from all angles in the months ahead.
For now the analysis is simple.
The Jets stink.