There was no one who believed the Jets were going to be Super Bowl contenders this season, but 0-9? The worst team in the NFL? One of the worst teams any of us have ever seen?
It Is hard to believe how bad the Jets have been, and changes are coming to Florham Park. They could have a new coach and a new quarterback in 2021, as the team in a perpetual rebuild begins another one.
There will be plenty of time to look ahead, though. Winless at the bye week, it is a good time to look at what has happened so far this season and try to figure out what has worked (anything?) for this team and what has not.
Quarterback Sam Darnold has missed three games with a shoulder injury, something that has hurt the evaluation of the third-year signal-caller. The offense has sputtered with or without Darnold, and ranks dead last in total offense and scoring offense. The Jets have scored just 10 offensive touchdowns in nine games. Adam Gase gave up the play-calling duties three weeks ago, and the offense has gotten marginally better, but not by much.
As bad as the offense has been, the defense has not been much better. Coordinator Gregg Williams’ unit has struggled mightily in pass coverage and has not gotten much pressure on opposing quarterbacks all year.
Many fans are now hoping the team goes 0-16 to lock up the No. 1-overall draft pick and the chance to take Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. The current Jets players and coaches are still trying to get in the W column, but the schedule is tough and 0-16 remains a distinct possibility.
Most Valuable Player
There are not a lot of great choices on an 0-9 team, but wide receiver Jamison Crowder has made a difference when he has been on the field. Crowder has missed four games due to injuries but still leads the team in catches (31), receiving yards (409) and receiving touchdowns (three). Crowder is a safety valve for Darnold, and the offense does not move as well when Crowder is not playing. He has 11 catches on third down this season.
Least Valuable Player
Le’Veon Bell played just two games for the Jets before whining his way out of town on social media. He had 19 carries for 74 yards, and the Jets are paying him to now play for the Chiefs. The Jets signed Bell in 2019 hoping he would be an offensive weapon to help Darnold grow. Instead, he looked washed up during his time with the Jets and had no impact for the team.
Least Surprising Surprise
You knew the secondary was in trouble when you looked at it on paper. After trading Jamal Adams and shopping in the bargain bin for cornerbacks, GM Joe Douglas did not help Williams out much. The Jets are 29th against the pass and can never seem to come up with a big stop until the opponent reaches the red zone. Pierre Desir has been a disaster. Bless Austin competes but still looks raw. Bradley McDougald has not lived up to the billing given to him when he came over from Seattle in the Adams trade. Marcus Maye has been the only consistent piece in the secondary.
The entire season has been a disappointment, so you can point the finger at plenty of people for this one. It’s tempting to say Chris Herndon because he has disappeared, but Darnold gets the nod here because his struggles have had a greater impact. The hope was he would make a huge leap in Year 3, and in Year 2 with Gase. Instead, he has taken steps back. Darnold has just three touchdown passes and six interceptions in his six games. His 65.9 QB rating is the worst in the NFL. Darnold has not been helped by the organization, which has surrounded him with very little talent and a porous offensive line. Still, you expect to see more from Darnold than one good play a game.
So many moments to choose from … um, um, yeah. OK, so when you are a winless team, surprisingly there are not many best moments. The best moment is probably last Monday night when they took a 27-17 lead with 30 seconds left in the third quarter over the Patriots. It looked they would finally get a win and against their hated rival until …
The fourth-quarter collapse against the Patriots on Monday night was the worst moment in a season of awful ones. The Jets blew the 10-point lead, with their defense unable to get a stop and the offense running just four plays in the final quarter. Kicker Nick Folk, a former Jet, finished them off with a 51-yard field goal as time expired in the 30-27 loss.
Most Revealing Stat
The Jets have scored 10 offensive touchdowns as a team. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has 13 touchdowns by himself.
Worst Personnel Decision
Douglas really screwed up by allowing wide receiver Robby Anderson to leave in free agency. The Jets expected Anderson to get big money, but he did not have the market they thought he would. He wound up signing a reasonable two-year, $20 million with the Panthers. The Jets should have been able to match or beat that and keep Anderson. Instead, they failed to pivot and ended up signing Breshad Perriman, who has been unable to stay healthy.
Team CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson must first make the decision to fire Gase, which feels like a foregone conclusion. Then Johnson must find the right coach to get this team heading in the right direction. This organization has floundered for the last decade and has been unable to establish a winning culture. This will be the 10th straight year the Jets are watching the playoffs. Johnson and his brother Woody have gotten a lot of hires wrong in the last decade. If he whiffs again, it will set the team back another 3-5 years.