Following a Week 3 defeat in Denver, the New York Jets are now 0-3.
For a franchise that won two games in 2020, that’s not all that hard to believe. What’s more frustrating is how they’ve gotten there. The Gang Green defense has only allowed 22.0 points per game but the revamped Mike LaFleur offense has been historically poor.
After a 26-0 shutout loss against the Broncos, the ineptitude of the offense became apparent, but ESPN’s Rich Cimini put a statistic to the eye test. The Jets’ three total first-half points in their first three games are tied for the fewest in franchise history and are also tied for the fewest in the NFL over the past 20 seasons.
Yes, that’s worse than Adam Gase, Jeremy Bates, Chan Gailey and Rich Kotite’s units, as well as any other Jets coordinators and coaches since 1973. Based on offensive dedication in free agency and the draft and the general hype on this side of the ball this offseason, this is certainly a surprise — and not the good kind.
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Collective Effort Failed Wilson in Week 3
In Week 2, the loss was on the rookie quarterback. He threw four ill-advised interceptions in front of better pass protection and a strong rushing attack. That was not the case in Week 3.
This offense was collectively terrible. We’ll begin with LaFleur, the first-year play-caller that has looked like a disaster through his initial three games.
Before the season, some had labeled the young coach as the team’s “secret weapon.” On Sunday, Jets Twitter sounded off on the coordinator after the offensive performance.
Sports talk show host Jake Asman called LaFleur “horrific,” adding the word “disgrace after comparing him to Gase. Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor also questioned a decision to line up in an empty-back set on fourth and one, despite an eventual drop from Ty Johnson on the attempt.
Cimini joined the fun, stating that the “Gase-like offense put Wilson in too many bad situations.” He added that “LaFleur [was] schooled by [Vic] Fangio and [Ed] Donatell.”
The pass protection was also miserable, after the brief glimmer of hope it displayed against the New England Patriots. Wilson was sacked five times and the pressure was more similar to Week 1 in Carolina.
Cimini had a historic tidbit for this area too, announcing that it is the “third time in Jets history [that] the Jets have allowed four-plus sacks in each of their first three games.”
The run game went south too, as rookie Michael Carter averaged 2.7 yards per carry after an encouraging showing in the home opener. Johnson was not great either aside from a 13-yard gainer that boosted his stats.
Finally, possibly the most unimpressive positional group in Week 3 was the wide receivers. This unit brought in weapons like Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Keelan Cole this offseason but none of them came to play in Denver. Including the running backs and tight ends, there were several drops from the Jets playmakers in this one.
Beat reporter Connor Hughes tweeted that the playmakers provided Wilson with “zero help” as Davis, Carter, Johnson and Braxton Berrios all had catchable passes go in and out of their hands. One late drop from Berrios ended up going the other way for an interception. Many have also questioned why 2020 second-round pick Denzel Mims hasn’t been given an opportunity with so many players struggling.
Wilson had this to say, per Hughes. “The whole game on offense was disappointing… [it’s] us killing ourselves.”
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Does Robert Saleh Deserve Some Blame?
The defense has been the bright spot for the Jets so far in 2021, but does head coach Robert Saleh still deserve a portion of the blame?
This team has had slow start after slow start and that lack of motivation or preparation does normally fall on the HC. “I wish it was one thing,” Saleh said in his postgame press conference regarding the offense.
The franchise has been outscored 46-3 in the first half of games this season. They also played an undisciplined brand of football on September 26, with eight penalties for 89 yards. Hughes tweeted that the offense only totaled 111 yards off 41 plays, comparatively speaking.
Most fans have loved Saleh from the moment he was hired, myself included, but something has to turn around fast otherwise those banners will turn into pitchforks in New York.
Win or lose, the product on the field must be better. What we saw today was completely unacceptable.
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