It’s another solemn day for New York Jets fans as we’re coming off the 12th straight defeat against the division rival New England Patriots.
Not only that, Gang Green lost in blowout fashion (54-13) and the face of the franchise — Zach Wilson — was injured in the process. As we always do on Monday mornings, our expert writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller will touch on all the hot topic questions that Jets nation is talking about right now but first, links to our previous roundtable discussions:
- Week 4: Zach Wilson comparisons, roster bubble & how the Jets can contend.
- Week 5: Green & White scrimmage overreactions, preseason primer.
- Week 6: First round of cuts, unofficial depth chart & Snoopy Bowl standouts.
- Week 7: Second round of cuts, replacing Carl Lawson & recapping Green Bay.
- Week 8: Roster cutdown predictions, thoughts on Shaq Lawson.
- Week 9: 2021 projections, team award winners & breakout candidates.
- Week 10: Offensive line concerns and Week 1 silver linings.
- Week 11: Breaking down Week 2, questionable play-calling from Mike LaFleur.
- Week 12: Week 3 offensive issues, correcting the 0-3 start.
- Week 13: Week 4 Zach Wilson throws, unsung heroes & criticisms.
- Week 14: Week 5 defensive woes, Marcus Maye & Denzel Mims drama.
- Week 15: Expectations after bye, should Jamison Crowder be traded?
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What the Heck Happened in New England?
1. There’s no beating around the bush, the Jets got embarrassed in Week 7. What are you feeling as a fan after a loss like this and how high in your mind does this rank for worst defeats since the beginning of the postseason drought?
Boy that was brutal. Every game this season has been rough because of the slow starts to the game. The Jets have been outscored 44-0 in the first quarter. How can you compete, let alone win games like that? This one in particular stings more because it’s the Patriots.
This loss is certainly up there in terms of how it ranks because it was the perfect storm: a franchise quarterback going down, getting blown out, and of course the Pats factor. The lack of creativity on offense was tough, giving up huge gashes in the run game, and Mike White? It’s hard to put into words how disgusting it was and how dejected I felt in the middle of that game knowing we had no chance of competing let alone winning.
Honestly, the best word to describe it is probably ashamed. I’m in a college group chat with a whole bunch of Pats fans and I was pretty confident that we would give them a run for their money on Sunday. We were fresh off the bye. They had just lost an overtime thriller with an injury report that rivaled a child’s Christmas list. Corrections were supposed to have been made. The team was supposed to play hungry and motivated. On and on — and you can guess how that turned out.
I was at the Week 2 game in MetLife with a lot of those same friends. I didn’t think I could feel more embarrassed and appalled than I did after that debacle but I was wrong! Week 7 was much worse. The most frustrating part is that New England executes such a simple but effective game plan. Mac Jones didn’t kill us, neither did this defense. We were outcoached and outhustled and it felt like our staff was too stubborn to adapt.
I get that the front four is taught to play aggressive but after screen number 10, maybe it’s time to cover the flats? Or how about Mike LaFleur targets a slot receiver, being that the Pats were without Jonathan Jones? I have a short memory when it comes to losses but outside of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s three-INT fourth quarter versus Buffalo to miss the playoffs in 2015-16, this is the most demoralizing defeat in a while.
2. Do you blame head coach Robert Saleh at all for the 1-5 start, or do you feel the blame lies with someone else/others?
There is a lot of blame to go around for the overall 1-5 record, everyone has played a part in that. However, this past game against the Patriots falls squarely on the shoulders of the first-year head coach. He was supposed to be a defensive mastermind and his unit got carved up worse than any other Jets team in the 21st century.
Even beyond that, this team had two weeks to get ready, although it didn’t look like it when you saw the result. The Jets just looked ill-prepared and ill-equipped to handle what the Pats threw at them and that is incredibly underwhelming. For any player or coach in their first year, there is normally a honeymoon or grace period but that is over for the Jets. Saleh is a good speaker and that translates in press conferences, but talk is cheap, it’s time for results. They said they self-evaluated and fixed the issues during bye but clearly, they didn’t.
I’ve been one of the bigger Saleh supporters but it’s hard to defend him this time. As Boy Green stated, the defense just got thrashed by Josh McDaniels with all the pre-game advantages in their favor (besides C.J. Mosley’s absence). New England does have a history exploiting this 4-3 Cover-3 that the Jets HC is famous for but the lack of adjustments on this side of the ball was tough to stomach.
Also, where was that fighting spirit and that ‘All Gas No Brake’ mentality? This flat effort was once again reminiscent of Adam Gase and that’s a scary thing for this administration. Enough BS, it’s on Saleh to get this thing straightened out because this roster does have enough talent to compete.
After the game, he said that he didn’t feel his players needed to be yelled at or insulted. At a certain point though, whatever the Jets have been doing has not been working. Even if the HC has to help LaFleur script first-quarter drives himself, Saleh must do whatever it takes to get this plane turned around.
3. Zach Wilson injury or not, the offense had another lousy performance. What did you think of LaFleur’s game plan?
Let’s just go to the first drive, which was completely scripted. As LaFleur pointed out the first 20-25 plays are all figured out and practiced in advance, so there should be no excuse for the lack of success. The first two plays were run calls and then LaFleur put his rookie quarterback in a third and long play where he got sacked on a nickel blitz.
Let this fun fact simmer for a second, the Jets were down 14-0 and Wilson hadn’t even attempted a pass yet. That is remarkable considering there was no defensive or special teams touchdown in that span. How does that even happen? LaFleur didn’t show any level of creativity until White was in with the Elijah Moore reverse for a touchdown — save some of that for your rookie quarterback!
Saleh deserves some blame for this defeat but LaFleur is still number one on my **** list. This man has no clue what he’s doing right now and yes, I can confidently say that from my couch. I agree with what Paul voiced on the scripted drives and I tweeted it out at the time. How can you watch McDaniels’ magnificently crafted play designs on his opening drive with a less-talented rookie QB and then watch LaFleur and speak positively on his behalf?
The Jets OC previously joked that he let his wife put together this week’s script but maybe he should have actually done that because it couldn’t get any worse!
I have noticed something peculiar though. LaFleur’s playcalling improves with lesser signal-callers at the helm (White, James Morgan, Josh Johnson). No, it’s not because Wilson stinks. My theory is actually the opposite — LaFleur is so enamored by the rookie’s skill set that he throws out the simple stuff and gets greedy with wheel routes and double-moves downfield (home run calls). I’m tired of hearing that a wide receiver was open deep after Wilson got sacked.
Get the ball into the hands of your playmakers QUICKLY, just like the Patriots do with Jones. Let players like Corey Davis, Moore, Crowder, Mims and Michael Carter do the work for you as they rack up yards after the catch.
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Buying & Selling at the Deadline
4. Putting on the GM shoes for a moment, give me one or two SELLS that the Jets must accomplish before the trade deadline.
ANYONE AND EVERYONE MUST GO! As I said that I was channeling my inner businessman who is closing down shop and ridding himself of all his inventory by the end of the day. If Wilson is toast for any serious length of time, the Jets must start selling off everything.
Crowder and Keelan Cole are two veterans that are highly thought of pieces that could be easily flipped for day three picks. Marcus Maye is another one that should be explored, outside of a team-friendly short-term deal being agreed to in the offseason. There isn’t much I wouldn’t sell, to be honest, and I fully expect Joe Douglas to move some product. It’s been one of his trademarks over the past few years and he has been incredible at getting more value than people expect.
To me, it’s pretty obvious, trade anyone that’s not a part of the future. That doesn’t mean “everyone must go,” although I can’t fault that mentality after what we witnessed today. It means the right people get sold and that happens as soon as next week.
I would NOT trade Mosley. He’s still under contract as the linchpin of this defense. I’d also keep Cole and consider extending him based on his locker room presence and worth as a pass-catcher, but here are some candidates that are definite sells:
- Crowder: I know he’s beloved but this must be done. The veteran slot is clogging up space and he’s gone next offseason. Plus, it’s not like he’s helping this offense move the football most games.
- Maye: Another fan favorite but I’ve been against extending the safety for a while. One, he’s approaching 30. Two, his agent is overpricing him after one outlier season. Three, there are better options available in free agency next year. Four, his impending lawsuit for a DUI hit-and-run. Enough said.
- Morgan Moses: I didn’t agree with this recent trade rumor before Week 7 but after it, I say deal him. By the time Wilson returns, Mekhi Becton should be back. That means the offensive line would only wane with White at QB and those are probably losses anyway. An extra fourth-rounder for a last-minute pickup sounds pretty appealing right now.
- Tevin Coleman: If anyone wants him.
- Foley Fatukasi: To be clear on this one, I would EXTEND Fatukasi. He’s a team leader and a valuable cog. The reason I mention him is that if the Jets don’t plan on inking the DT long-term, now would be the time to move him.
5. On the flip side, give me one or two BUYS the Jets should consider or explain why they shouldn’t BUY at all.
I will never say a team shouldn’t buy because like the million-dollar man would say, everyone has a price (insert evil cackling laugh). There are several places I would go, but the most important piece to me is tight end. The Jets woefully swung and missed this offseason and their strategy was kind of puzzling.
There were reports that they were super interested in Jonnu Smith and then the Patriots stole him, so they pivoted to *checks notes* Tyler Kroft? That’s like me going to a car dealership saying I’m going to buy a Corvette and when they don’t have that, purchasing a soccer mom mini-van instead. It was a strange alternate path and one that continues to haunt them every passing week.
Another area I would seriously explore is linebacker. The position has been decimated due to injuries and a lack of overall depth heading into the year. There should be some interesting options with Saleh’s history around the league at several different spots.
Again, you would only buy if you’re acquiring a long-term piece. I recently highlighted several Philadelphia Eagles trade candidates that might fit this mold, but the idea is generally that you’d trade for a player that a team cannot afford, then extend that player after the deal (Stefon Diggs to Buffalo blueprint).
At tight end, O.J. Howard or Dallas Goedert might fit this mold. I also would consider a top-flight cornerback that a seller cannot afford but they have to be under contract beyond 2022 — or willing to extend. I had my eye on a Greg Van Roten replacement too but at this point, you might as well just ride out the season behind the uninspiring right guard.