LAS VEGAS — The New York Jets’ season has become a sport of Mad Libs. Change a number of nouns or adjectives right here and there, possibly, however on the finish, the story remains to be the identical.
The protection performs properly. The offense can’t end drives. The offense doesn’t get into the tip zone. Zach Wilson makes some confounding selections. Greg Zuerlein has a busy day, kicking discipline targets, the one supply of offense. Thomas Morstead has a busy day, punting, as a result of the offense can’t constantly transfer the ball. Penalties kill drives. The protection does its job. The Jets are nonetheless within the sport on the finish. Then it’s over.
Robert Saleh calls out the self-inflicted wounds in his postgame news convention, however feels the Jets are shut. He gained’t blame the quarterback or the offensive coordinator. The defensive gamers chunk their tongues and discuss how the workforce would win if they may solely rating factors themselves, or maintain their opponents to zero factors as a substitute of three, 6, 10 or 16. The offensive gamers are confused.
Rinse, repeat. It’s all the identical — and Saleh doesn’t appear to have an itch to make the type of change that may jolt the offense into competence. He gained’t bench Wilson. He gained’t take play-calling away from offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The Jets misplaced to the Raiders 16-12 on Sunday, a workforce so dysfunctional it fired its head coach, basic supervisor and offensive coordinator a number of weeks in the past, with one of many worst defenses within the league and a fourth-round rookie beginning at quarterback. And it was the identical because it ever was.
Jets fall to Raiders, Zach Wilson throws pricey late INT
If Saleh isn’t going to seize the reins of the Jets offense and do what must be finished to repair it earlier than the season fades away into nothingness — one other 12 months with out the playoffs, like so many earlier than — then possibly the gamers must take management of the state of affairs themselves.
“They asked me today: Are you OK to speak to the media?” tight finish Tyler Conklin mentioned after the sport. “I said, yeah, I’ll speak, but what do you guys expect me to say? That’s the thing, it’s a broken record at this point. We’ve gotta figure it out. We can’t keep going out here and doing this over and over again. Letting the defense down, our team down. I wish I had answers to (reporters’) questions about why we can’t score in the red zone, why we had a lot of penalties, all those things, but there’s really no good answer to give you guys besides we’ve gotta figure it the f— out.”
The Jets scored on their first three drives on Sunday evening, all discipline targets. They punted on 5 consecutive drives after that, adopted by one other discipline aim, an interception by Wilson after which the clock operating out on the ultimate drive. The Jets haven’t scored a landing in 11 quarters. They’ve scored 13 offensive touchdowns in 9 video games. Wilson has thrown one landing move in his final 5 video games and 5 for the season. For comparability, Josh Dobbs has accounted for six touchdowns in two video games in 12 days since getting traded to the Vikings. At the tip of Sunday’s sport, the Jets had 5 punts, 4 discipline targets, eight penalties, 14 first downs and nil touchdowns. Five of these first downs got here on the ultimate two drives of the sport.
“It’s frustrating,” operating again Breece Hall mentioned. “I’ve been saying that since the first week.”
Wide receiver Garrett Wilson appeared emotionally distraught after the sport, on the verge of tears.
“I don’t know what y’all want me to say,” Wilson mentioned. “I’m tired of this, man. I want to play better. The offense wants to play better. Every week we’re trying to make it happen. It’s frustrating.”
This as dejected as I’ve seen Garrett Wilson after a loss. pic.twitter.com/80rnhVV9Cb
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 13, 2023
The first phrases that got here out of Saleh’s mouth at his news convention after the sport have been the identical ones he’s mentioned nearly each week, win or lose. All anybody desires to know is why his offense has someway gotten worse from final 12 months, when he parted with Mike LaFleur as his offensive coordinator and revamped his offensive teaching employees.
He has made a variety of excuses. The Jets haven’t been capable of finding any options.
“The hard part for me is when I’m watching the game — it’s easy to look at the play-caller, the head coach, the quarterback,” Saleh mentioned. “But we’re moving the ball. Today we moved the ball. But it’s just penalties, penalties on the O-line, penalties at tight end, penalties at running back. Just dumb, dumb stuff that we need to get cleaned up or it’s not going to change. But we can clean it up and at least give ourselves a chance to play clean football, to see what it looks like. I still believe it’ll look pretty good.”
The Jets bought to the crimson zone as soon as Sunday, they usually didn’t convert. That’s the expectation at this level for the NFL’s worst red-zone offense. But the protection did its job, once more, and one other largely spectacular efficiency went to waste. The Raiders have been 5 of 15 on third down, quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 153 yards and the Jets held star extensive receiver Davante Adams with out a catch within the second half. They compelled two turnovers, together with a compelled fumble late within the fourth quarter to stifle a possible Raiders scoring drive. Then Zach Wilson turned proper round and gave it again to them when he telegraphed a move to extensive receiver Allen Lazard, permitting linebacker Robert Spillane to leap in entrance of it for what turned a game-deciding interception.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 13, 2023
Wilson wasn’t the issue on Sunday, however he stays an issue. Wilson threw for 263 yards, however 92 got here on the ultimate two drives. The play-calling did him no favors — at occasions, it appeared like Hackett was afraid to let Wilson do something however hand it off or verify it down. Breece Hall had 47 yards on three catches, however wasn’t focused till the fourth quarter, though he’s probably the most dynamic participant the Jets have with the ball in his fingers.
“It’s something we definitely need to look at,” Saleh mentioned.
The Jets protection — which ranks third within the NFL in Expected Points Added, per TruMedia, and seventh in factors allowed — is being held to an unimaginable commonplace. If it provides up any factors, or doesn’t rating any of its personal, the Jets are in all probability going to lose. They realize it, too. This shouldn’t be the protection of a 4-5 workforce. It’s a playoff-caliber protection caught with a middling, remedial offense.
“I’m not going to say it’s surprising,” cornerback Sauce Gardner mentioned of the 4-5 file. “We’re not playing complementary football. It’s just a fact. It ain’t no surprise at all.”
The protection is aware of it has zero margin for error with this offense taking part in this manner.
“Yeah, but that’s how we get coached,” Gardner mentioned. “The coaching is if they can’t score, they won’t win. When you embrace that, we always put it on us.”
Coach Saleh on QB Zach Wilson’s efficiency. pic.twitter.com/HZxPShxYj6
— New York Jets (@nyjets) November 13, 2023
Saleh might not need to make a change, nevertheless it positive sounds just like the gamers are prepared for one. This week, that may come within the type of a “players-only” assembly, the cliched get-together for groups that discover themselves falling aside on the seams.
“Yeah, all of it is on the table,” Garrett Wilson mentioned. “We’re trying to figure it out. I can see something like that going down soon because it has to. I’m going to take it upon myself. We’ve got some guys in this locker room that know how to lead and we’ll see what it’s like traveling back to New York, what we talk about. We have to do something.”
Conklin took it additional.
“We’re definitely at that point where something has to be done,” Conklin mentioned. “We can’t go into next week and roll the ball out there and hope it gets better. I don’t know what it is we gotta do, but we gotta do something this week to get on the same page.”
It is now Week 11. The Jets have performed 9 video games. The offense is worse now than it was earlier than. This ought to be a playoff workforce. Instead, the Jets are shedding to the Raiders, and barely beating the Giants.
“It’s frustrating as hell,” Conklin mentioned.
(Photo of Garrett Wilson and Nate Hobbs: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)
Source web site: theathletic.com