Why is getting blown out a normal occurrence?
For the third time in four games, the New York Jets have allowed (at minimum) an astonishing 45 points per game for the first time since the 1966 New York Giants. Over the last four games, they are averaging an allowance of 472 yards of offense and 43.75 points per contest. In over 50% of their matchups, the team has lost by 15 or more points. Yikes.
The secondary hit an embarrassing mark this week, getting their first interception all year, the only other pick falling in the hands of defensive lineman Shaq Lawson. For reference, there are 17 defensive backs that have at least three interceptions this year just by themselves.
I could go on for another 500 words just laying out horrible Jets facts, but the only one that matters is that this defense has been absolutely putrid. Despite a few outlier positive performances, this team is on track to be the worst defense in franchise history. Keep in mind that this is an organization that has seen more than its fair share of bad defenses.
And look, the offense deserves some blame too. Quarterback Mike White, the King of New York, fell from his throne on Sunday, throwing four picks in the loss. Those turnovers, coupled with a Corey Davis fumble, really stunted what could have been a decent offensive performance against a tough Bills defense. The offense generated over 350 scrimmage yards over the entire contest, the third most by Gang Green this year. Without two or three of those cough-ups and a competent defense, this could’ve been a completely different game. I’m not saying the Jets should’ve won the game, but it could have been a lot closer. Easier said than done, I suppose.
You know why Jets fans (myself included) got so excited about White and hyped him up so much?
There have been four positive things that have happened this year to the Jets organization. The addition of the 2021 draft class (also known as the holiday season for Gang Green), the hiring of head coach Robert Saleh, the win against the Titans in Week 4 and White’s breakout win against the Bengals in Week 8.
The rookie class has been highlighted by No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, who has underwhelmed at best. The potential is obviously still there, but Jets fans have been feeling some Sam Darnold PTSD. The last thing the fans want is another rebuild, with another rookie quarterback, another four years down the line. Saleh’s “all gas, no brake” motto isn’t evident within the organization, seeing as they get beat down week after week. The win against the Titans was instantly followed by a brutal loss to the Falcons that could have easily been won, as well as an embarrassing 54-13 loss to the Patriots. The Bengals win was followed by White getting injured on the first drive in the next game and a horrible four interception performance this past week.
Going back to my rhetorical question, any glimmer of hope this organization gets the fans cling to for dear life, feeding on table scraps while starving for more. They know that anything positive they get one week might not be there the next, so you have to enjoy it while you can. The highlight of the season will likely be that one anomaly game by White when it’s all said and done.
It was fun while it lasted.
Now okay, there are a couple positives to walk away from, albeit not as exciting as the big four that I highlighted. For one, New York has the second-easiest strength of schedule the rest of the way, based on opponent win percentages. This could pave the way for an Adam Gase-like run, a nod to the former coach’s 6-2 dominance over weak teams to end his first year with the Jets.
Another thing to note is the quarterback situation pretty much sorted itself out. Although Saleh remained noncommittal after the game on Sunday and said a decision would be made Wednesday, it’s pretty clear White will not be the signal-caller for much longer, if at all. Wilson will be back in there against these more mediocre squads, hopefully giving him a bit of a confidence boost and assurance that he can excel in this Mike LaFleur system. It also will be nice to see the chemistry build between Wilson and his fellow rookies, receiver Elijah Moore, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and back Michael Carter.
Speaking of, those rookies have been pretty much the only thing going for the Jets as of late. While the verdict is not out by any means on Wilson, it looks like Moore is primed to be the team’s WR1. Vera-Tucker is playing consistently solid football in his rookie season, an early sign he could be blocking for New York for the next decade or so. Carter has been explosive out of the backfield, earning a great 70.6 PFF grade so far. What was supposed to be a three-way split of carries this year has become the Michael Carter, a testament to his recent successes. While last year’s draft class looks like a lot of misses (first rounder Mehki Becton doesn’t look like he’s returning from injury anytime soon), general manager Joe Douglas seems to have found his own in this draft.
So alright, it’s time to stop the bleeding. Whatever’s going on with the defense is not working. Nobody’s expecting this team to win out, just to improve and develop. Even with an easy schedule ahead, is that too much to ask?