For the second consecutive season, the New York Jets will start 0-4 with a 38-27 loss to the Denver Broncos. This might’ve been a close game. Undoubtedly, this was arguably the sloppiest game the Jets have played all year. A season of misery continues.
Let’s look at what I was able to take away from this game.
1. Injury Mismanagement
For the past two seasons, injury mismanagement has been an often critique for the New York Jets. For example, two former players filed injury-related grievances against the team last season. Anyways, let’s talk about what went on.
Left Tackle Mehki Becton
Before Thursday’s game, rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton was limited in practice all week with a shoulder injury. The team announced that Chuma Edoga would start in Becton’s place. Concussed George Fant returned to play right tackle. While not expected to play, the Jets decided to make Becton active for Thursday’s game against the Denver Broncos. He was gonna be the emergency left tackle. Conor McDermott would back up Chuma Edoga.
After a few plays on the first Jets’ drive, Chuma Edoga came down with an injury. Ironically, the team replaced Edoga with an injured Mekhi Becton. Again, McDermott is the true backup to Edoga. Anyways, Becton played decent in Edoga’s place. All of a sudden, Mekhi Becton comes out of the game injured. It appeared Becton re-aggravated the shoulder that had been irritating him all week in practice. Conor McDermott would take Becton’s spot.
At this point, no one knows if Becton will be able to play against the Arizona Cardinals next week. The Jets made a reckless move by playing an injured Mekhi Becton instead of sitting him for the short week.
Quarterback Sam Darnold
This injury is more important.
Anyways, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold injured his throwing shoulder while being sacked by Broncos’ linebacker Alexander Johnson. Darnold simply landed on his right shoulder. Backup Joe Flacco would take his place for the remainder of the drive.
On the ensuing drive, Flacco would remain as the signal-caller. Ridiculously, the Jets decided to bring Sam Darnold back, on third down no less. The result of the third-down was a sack on Sam Darnold. That wasn’t the worst part of the situation.
Now, Sam Darnold’s status for next week’s game against the Cardinals is unknown. Not to mention, he could be out for a while. By placing an unhealthy Sam Darnold into the game, the Jets continue to break what’s left of Sam Darnold. Why in the world would you place an injured Darnold back into the game? I strongly believe this is a fireable offense for the doctors and head coach Adam Gase alike.
The Jets sacrificed Sam Darnold’s future for the rest of the season for a Week 4 regular-season game. This team continues to reach new lows.
2. Sam Shows Off His Legs
Fans and analysts alike know that Sam Darnold isn’t a complete product and hasn’t reached his full potential yet. He has shown flashes of brilliance and inability combined. Overall, he’s been an inconsistent quarterback this far.
Darnold has sometimes flashed as a mobile quarterback. He completely brought that to a new level on Thursday night. In the first quarter on a crucial third down, Darnold evaded pressure from the Broncos’ defense and ran for a 46-yard touchdown. Overall that night, Sam Darnold rushed for 84 yards on 6 carries, averaging 14 yards per carry.
It seems as though the NFL is heading towards a more mobile quarterback direction. Look at quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen. All have great speed and are used as running quarterbacks. Run plays are consistently drawn up for these quarterbacks. The NFL is no longer a pocket-passing league anymore. It seems as though head coach Adam Gase is stuck in the early 2000s when pocket passers dominated the league.
Time to make Sam Darnold a more mobile quarterback!
3. Way Too Many Penalties/Personal Fouls
As previously mentioned, the Jets played the sloppiest game of the year on Thursday. The team accounted for 11 penalties and 118 penalty yards. They also committed six personal fouls. Half of the personal fouls called were roughing the passer. Two of the six personal fouls called were late hits.
In real-time, two personal fouls killed potential third-down stops that could’ve been made by the Jets’ defense. One was a roughing the passer call in the first quarter. The other was a facemask call in the fourth quarter. Both penalties were committed by defensive end Quinnen Williams.
Notably, while the Broncos tried to run out the clock in the final seconds, quarterback Brett Rypien threw the ball downfield and was egregiously hit by Jets’ defensive tackle Steve McLendon with helmet-to-helmet contact. By looking at the hit, you could tell it was a hit out of frustration.
Because of these personal fouls, Broncos’ head coach Vic Fangio told his players not to shake hands after the game.
Mind you, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been known as a good defensive coordinator. Williams is also known for having a role in the New Orleans Saints‘ bountygate scandal, where team players were allegedly paid bonuses for injuring the opposing team’s players. No one has forgotten about Williams’ role in bountygate.
At this point, it seems the Jets’ defense has quit on Gregg Williams and they continue to be exposed.
4. Lackluster Offensive Playcalling/Lack of Aggressiveness
This is a surprise to no one. At all. Head coach Adam Gase’s playcalling continues to be suspect as it always has been. Most notably, the Jets offense continued to run Frank Gore on second down and long. Most, if not all attempts were unsuccessful at gaining any key yardage. Gore ran for 30 yards on 13 carries, averaging 2.3 yards per carry. Again, Adam Gase continues to utilize Gore like he’s young again. Even more ridiculous, Gase called Gore to be a receiving back out of the backfield to run wheel routes. That’s something Le’Veon Bell should be used for.
Notably, after Jets cornerback Pierre Desir scored on a pick-six thrown by Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien, Gang Green decided to go for the two-point conversion. The play call was incredibly obvious. It was a designed rollout to the right. Meaning, Sam Darnold could only utilize the right half of the end zone. The result was an incomplete pass.
The lack of offensive aggressiveness continues to hurt any chances of success. Notably, on fourth down with the Jets down 27-25, head coach Adam Gase decided to kick the field goal. Mind you, it was a fourth-down and one. Yes, the field goal was successful. But, a proper coach knows you would need more than a field goal to try to win the game. Adam Gase lacks any aggressiveness and that continues to be a weakness of his. Gase continues to coach scared.
5. Regressing Offensive Line
On Thursday night, the Jets’ offensive line continued to regress. The unit allowed six sacks to the Denver Broncos’ defense. The run blocking was horrendous. The interior of the offensive line remains a liability. Both Mekhi Becton and George Fant have been good.
Becton will be out for some time as his status for next Sunday is up in the air. Chuma Edoga has played okay but is now injured. George Fant remains solidified at right tackle. Right guard Greg Van Roten has been a downgrade from the departed Brian Winters. Left guard Alex Lewis remains a liability in all facets of his blocking. Center Connor McGovern has been a disappointment thus far. Becton’s possible replacement in Conor McDermott has been horrific. It’s quite clear that the interior offensive line has been a weak spot for the unit as a whole.
With Becton out, the Jets will suffer a setback at the position and the offense will continue to stink.