The Jets dropped another one on Sunday, a 30-10 loss to the Cardinals, and they are now 0-5 with no wins in sight. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:
1. There is one team in Jets history that no team ever wants to be compared to – the dreadful 1996 Jets. The Rich Kotite hapless and helpless squad that went 1-15. Through the years when the Jets struggle, the comparisons to 1996 always come up. Whenever a coach is having a particularly bad run, the Kotite comparison is used.
Usually it is a short-sighted, emotional response to a bad run. Not this year.
The 2020 Jets look a whole lot like those 1996 Jets. They are not good on offense, not good on defense, poorly coached and look like they are on a march to the No. 1 draft choice next spring. In some ways, they look worse than the 1996 team and may end up being worse if they don’t manage one win.
Taking a look at the numbers, these Jets have been outscored by 86 points. The 1996 Jets were outscored by 70 through their first five games. These Jets are averaging 15 points per game. The 96ers averaged 12.4 in their first five. These Jets are allowing 32.2 points per game. The 1996 squad gave up 26.4 points per game in their first five.
Both teams only scored six offensive touchdowns in their first five weeks.
This might be the most disturbing part when you compare the teams, though. The 1996 team had some talented players. Many of them were still on the team in 1997 and were part of the turnaround under Bill Parcells. They simply needed better coaching and a few more pieces. That is not the case with this team. How many players on the current team do you think will be part of the solution if the Jets can turn this around in two-to-three years. Mekhi Becton? Quinnen Williams, maybe?
That 1996 team had Adrian Murrell, who rushed for 1,249 yards that year. He eventually was replaced by Curtis Martin, but Murrell was a solid back. They also had a young Wayne Chrebet and Keyshawn Johnson at wide receiver. Both became integral pieces under Parcells. Even Jeff Graham was a better receiver than what the Jets currently have. On defense, there was Victor Green, Marvin Jones, Marvin Washington, Aaron Glenn, Ray Mickens, Mo Lewis and Hugh Douglas, who all had good careers.
The current Jets do not have a list like that. It is depressing but true – this might be the worst Jets team ever.
2. The Jets defense gave up 496 yards to the Cardinals, the most the Jets have allowed under Gregg Williams. It was 500 yards until Kyler Murray took a knee at the end of the game and lost four yards.
The defense played OK in the first half on Sunday but collapsed when the team needed a stop the most. After the Jets offense actually found the end zone in the third quarter and cut the score to 17-10, the defense needed to get them the ball back. Instead, they surrendered a fourth-and-1 conversion and an eventual touchdown.
Williams has a chance at a really dubious distinction. He could be the defensive coordinator for two teams that went 0-16. He was with the Browns in 2017 when they could not win a game and now he is overseeing a Jets defense on a team that could match that ignominious accomplishment.
3. What has happened to Chris Herndon? The third-year tight end had another terrible drop Sunday and was largely invisible in the game. Ryan Griffin started over Herndon, but Herndon still played 42 percent of the snaps on offense.
Herndon looked great in training camp. He was the best offensive player on the field most days. But he looks like a player who has lost his confidence and is struggling with the offense. It is a tough decision for the coaches. Do they stop playing him because of his lack of production? That could lead to him losing his confidence further. They may need to just let him play through this and hope it is a slump he emerges from.
4. There has been some bashing of the new-look offensive line and they have not performed all that well so far. I thought they played better Sunday. There were some holes in the running game and Joe Flacco was not under siege, even with Becton not playing.
The thing is we said all spring and summer that the offensive line was going to be hurt by a lack of practice time and preseason games. This was a group with five new starters who needed time to build chemistry. So, these early season struggles were to be expected. Now is the time that you hope to see them coming together and improving each week. If that doesn’t happen, the offensive line rebuild was a failure.
The Jets did not have a 100-yard rusher again on Sunday. Le’Veon Bell led the team with 60 yards rushing. It has been 32 games since the Jets had a 100-yard rusher. Isaiah Crowell rushed for a team-record 219 yards against the Broncos on Oct. 7, 2018. That was the last time a Jet cracked the 100-yard mark. It is an incredible stretch of futility.
Surprising snap count
Rookie running back La’Mical Perine had zero snaps on offense. That is unacceptable. The Jets need to work Perine in. He has limitations in pass blocking and I’m sure he is making mistakes, but he needs to play.
WR Jamison Crowder is the only player on offense the Jets can count on. He had eight catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Crowder is one free-agent signing that has worked for this team.