In some ways it’s difficult to write these game recap articles about the 2023 Jets. There are only so many different ways you can write that the offense is hopelessly broken. Somehow, though, the Jets keep finding new ways to be dysfunctional on offense.
With 1:05 left in the first half the Jets trailed by 10 points. In the final 65 seconds of the half, the Jets defense registered a pick six and a second interception. The end result? The Jets went to halftime trailing by 11. How does that even happen? I’m at a loss for words how a Hail Mary can turn into a pick six of its own. It’s that kind of year, and the Jets have that kind of offense.
We all know the Jets caught an awful break when they lost their starting quarterback four plays into the season. A quarterback injury doesn’t explain away all of this futility, though. A few teams have won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback. Plenty have shown life. Even the unsuccessful teams playing their backup tend to not show this degree of futility on offense. For the second consecutive game the Jets averaged a ludicrous 2.9 yards of offense per play.
The marquee free agent signing of the offseason, Allen Lazard, was a healthy scratch in this game. For the time being at least he has lost his starting job to Jason Brownlee. It’s a fitting microcosm of what was a disaster 2023 offseason.
We could also talk about the Jets starting Tim Boyle in this game. Against my better judgment, I gave the Jets coaching staff the benefit of the doubt and assumed they saw something in practice indicating Boyle was a better option than Trevor Siemian at quarterback. My bad.
It’s difficult to understand why Boyle is even on an NFL roster right now. He wasn’t even an effective quarterback in college, sporting a 12 touchdown to 26 interception ratio. Things haven’t been much better in the NFL. At the point the Jets signed him, he had 3 touchdowns vs. 8 interceptions in his career.
This is the guy the Jets chose to start at quarterback. Trevor Siemian is a really bad option. He probably wouldn’t be able to do much in such a terrible infrastructure, but he’s clearly a better option based on his NFL body of work.
Of course, the fact the Jets only had Boyle, Siemian, and Zach Wilson as their options after Rodgers went down was a failure of the front office to take quarterback depth seriously.
At least there was a scenario where Rodgers stayed healthy, and this wouldn’t have been an issue. You can’t say the same thing about the offensive line. The Jets put together a unit that would have been shaky if everybody had stayed healthy. And that unit needed to stay healthy because the depth behind it was unplayable. The line the Jets are trotting out there resembles what you would see in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.
You have an unplayably bad quarterback with an unplayably bad offensive line. It’s no surprise the results are this abysmal. Even the good parts of this offense, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, are being swept away in the undercurrent of failure.
Nobody can escape blame for this. The front office has completely failed in its roster construction on offense. The coaching staff also isn't making matters better. It’s as though they try and find new ways to mess up every week like wasting a challenge over five yards early in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the coaching staff also has old reliable, Nathaniel Hackett’s predictable and unimaginative playcalling.
The Jets aren’t the worst team in the NFL over the course of the entire 2023 season, but I don’t think there is a team playing worse football right now. What’s striking about this situation is the poor play isn’t team wide. The defense is quite good. This certainly wasn’t a vintage performance, but the Jets showed some fight and made plays against one the league’s most explosive offenses.
In the end it doesn’t matter how well the defense plays. No team can win with an offense like this.
The Jets can only blame themselves. This front office neglected the offensive line. It also was so fixated on placating Aaron Rodgers that it made choices to bring in Lazard, Hackett, and Boyle. These were mistakes with season-altering repercussions.
After the way this roster has been assembled and coached, I’m running out of reasons to believe anybody running the Jets deserves to be brought back for 2024. I’m also starting to believe the best thing for this franchise might be to lose out so that even Woody Johnson will be able to see that changes are necessary.