The Jets fell to 0-10 Sunday with their 34-28 loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:
1. The Jets have been eliminated from the playoffs in our minds for months, but it became official on Sunday when the Colts defeated the Packers in overtime. That result, coupled with the Jets loss, meant the Jets will miss the playoffs for the 10th straight season. It is the second-longest playoff drought in franchise history, trailing the run from 1970-80 by one season.
It is incredible to think it is now a full decade since the Jets have been in the playoffs. Even worse than that is that it has been five years since they even contended for the playoffs. Not since the 2015 season when they went 10-6 and lost to Buffalo in Week 17 have the Jets sniffed the playoffs.
I was not around to see the teams in the 1970s but have long heard the stories of that lost decade in New York football, not just for the Jets but also the Giants. It made me wonder how that run of futility compares to this one.
The Jets have a .370 winning percentage since 2011 (57-97). That is just slightly better than the .356 winning percentage from 1970-80 (57-103). But look at those records. If the Jets lose their final six games and finish 0-16, they will be 57-103 over the last decade, the exact same record as those ‘70s teams.
During this horrible run, the Jets’ division has been dominated by the Patriots. In the ‘70s, it was the Dolphins early in the decade and then the Colts. The Jets finished in second place just once in the ‘70s, in 1972. They have finished second three times in the last decade – 2011, ’13 and ’15.
So, the current Jets are rivaling those ‘70s Jets for the worst period in team history. If the Jets finish 0-16, they will bump aside the 1996 Jets, who finished 1-15, as the worst team in franchise history. This is not the kind of history any team wants to make.
One other note on the drought. The only teams with longer active droughts than the Jets are the Browns (17) and Buccaneers (12). But both of those teams are currently in playoff contention, meaning the Jets could have the longest active streak in the NFL by the end of this season.
2. Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was quite impressive on Sunday. He looked like he knew where to go with the ball and his physical skills are obvious. Seeing Herbert can make Jets fans dream of the possibility of Trevor Lawrence next season and how he could transform the Jets.
Here’s what stood out to me, though. Herbert has Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry to throw to. Who is going to be here for Lawrence if the Jets draft him No. 1 overall? Jets general manager Joe Douglas has a huge task ahead. If the first line of the plan is to land Lawrence, then the second line has to be to build around him. The Jets failed to build around Mark Sanchez a decade ago and they did it again with Sam Darnold. That is not to say those two would have been All-Pros, but we never got to see the best from them because of the talent around them.
Denzel Mims looks like he could be a good player. The Jets need to add another top receiver in free agency this year to help out Lawrence or whoever the quarterback is.
3. The amount of roster turnover for the Jets this offseason could be staggering. How many of these players are part of the future? If there is a new coach, as expected, he is going to have a big say in the personnel and surely will want different players than who Adam Gase wanted.
One of the things that stands out in my time around the Jets over the last 10 years is the lack of continuity. I’m not sure the losing is a product of it or the reverse that the lack of continuity is a result of the losing. We focus on continuity with the front office, coaching staff and quarterback a lot. But the entire Jets roster seems to get flipped every 1-2 years. The last time the Jets had roster stability was 2008-12 when the team kept a core of players together.
Looking at the Jets starters from Sunday’s game, here is the breakdown of the year they arrived to the Jets:
2020 (8): Breshad Perriman, Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, George Fant, Denzel Mims, Joe Flacco, Frank Gore
2019 (3): Alex Lewis, Ryan Griffin, Jamison Crowder
There is not one offensive player starting that was here before 2019. Chris Herndon did not start but played a lot and he was here since 2018. If Sam Darnold were healthy, he would start and he has been here since 2018.
2020: Lamar Jackson, Bryce Hall, Ashtyn Davis
2019: John Franklin-Myers, Quinnen Williams
2018: Folorunso Fatukasi, Harvey Langi, Neville Hewitt, Frankie Luvu
2017: Marcus Maye
2016: Jordan Jenkins
There are a few more players on defense that have been here for a while, but Jenkins and Maye are really the only ones who have been here a long time.
Looking at that list of starters, I would say there are four players on offense I expect back next season and maybe six on defense. That means a whole lot of roster turnover again next year.
4. A few things on the play-calling story that came out of Sunday’s game. I really don’t think it is a big deal that Adam Gase gets the play call from Dowell Loggains and then calls it in to the quarterback. This was not an issue because of a problem in the game. There were no delay of game penalties that sparked it. It was only an issue because the broadcasters made it one during the game.
Another thing is watch the Chiefs – Andy Reid picks the play, tells Eric Bieniemy and then Bieniemy calls it in to Patrick Mahomes. It seems to work well for them.
It is not uncommon for coaches to split play-calling by situation. Sometimes one coach calls all the red zone plays or the third down plays. Gase said he is involved in two-minute calls and third downs.
Everything is ripe for criticism because the Jets are 0-10. If they were 10-0, no one would blink at this story.
The Jets had 196 yards passing Sunday. That is the 15th straight game they have had without a 300-yard passing game. It is the longest active streak in the NFL, according to Pro-Football-Reference. The Giants are second with 11.
Surprising snap count
Chris Herndon played 36 snaps out of 60 (60 percent). Herndon ended up having a few good moments on Sunday, but I’m still surprised he is playing more than Ryan Griffin (27 snaps)
Defensive lineman Henry Anderson had his best game in two years. He blocked a punt, recorded a ½ sack and had five tackles.