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Jets Week 2 Anti-Game Balls: Coaching staff leads the way

NFL: New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets lost to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, which makes it our sad duty to hand out anti-game balls to those responsible. Here are my picks.

Nathaniel Hackett: Being an offensive coordinator might be the most thankless job in the NFL. When a play doesn’t work, fans criticize you. Most of the time there was nothing inherently wrong with the play call, however. The players just fail to execute.

In Hackett’s case on Sunday, however, I think the play caller does deserve criticism. There are just a number of aspects of the game he called that did not make much sense. We can start with the most explosive player on the offense only getting the ball four times. Breece Hall clearly wasn’t happy about it.

Then there were the lack of answers for Micah Parsons. Duane Brown in particular was frequently left to handle the elite pass rusher one on one, a very difficult task for a now 38 year old tackle. Brown was more diplomatic in his postgame press conference remarks, but he also alluded to the “less than ideal” circumstances.

The Jets also seemed to have issues in their first game with their silent count.

I can count the number of plays I watched live that left me scratching my head. There was the third quarter play out of an empty backfield. The Jets were having difficulty holding up in protection, and Hackett did not have a design for a quick and easy throw for Zach Wilson. The series ended in a sack. There was a quarterback sneak on third and almost two in the first quarter.

Sure, the players need to execute better, but this game evoked memories of Adam Gase himself from how puzzling aspects of the game plan were.

Jeff Ulbrich: Things didn’t go better on the other side of the ball. It wasn’t just that the Cowboys moved the ball at will from the opening kickoff. It just seemed like they could create the mismatch they wanted whenever they wanted. If they wanted CeeDee Lamb against a linebacker, they knew which play to call. If they needed to target a certain area of the field, they knew what defense the Jets would be in and how to clear out that space. Lamb went over 100 yards in the first half despite seldom going up against Sauce Gardner. Ulbrich had no answers.

Robert Saleh: When both coordinators fail to this extent, the finger has to be pointed at the head coach. I give Saleh a lot of credit for holding the team together in Week 1 after Aaron Rodgers’ devastating injury, but the team did not seem prepared for this game.

Offensive Line: I’ll give this collectively to the group.

And the Becton numbers don’t account for multiple penalties.

The Jets’ offensive line is built on a number of calculated gambles, and none of them seem to be working at this point. A shakeup might be in order sooner rather than later.

Defense: Like with the offensive line, it is difficult to separate any individual player from the unit as a whole. This was simply not a winning effort. The Jets were leaning on their defense to stand tall and carry the team to a victory. Instead the unit allowed the Cowboys to take the lead for good on the first series of the game. Dallas marched right down the field for a touchdown. Things did not get better the rest of the way. The pass rush in particular was a disappointment as the Jets finished the game with just a single sack, and Dak Prescott put together a big statistical day.

Unlike with the offensive line, I do not think this performance is a reason for major concern. It seems like an off day for a strong unit. It was a really off day, though. The Jets won’t win many games where the defense performs that poorly.