Due to the international trip to London, the New York Jets enjoyed an early bye week during the 2021 season.
Now the team should be reenergized and refreshed heading into the rest of their campaign. Up next is a rematch with the New England Patriots in Week 7 on the road in Foxboro.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
Post-Bye Expectations, Looking Ahead to Week 7
1. Coming out of the bye what are you expecting to see from the Jets?
I’m hoping to see a more cohesive offense in Week 7 but I can’t say for sure if we’ll get that as fans. One thing I’m actually expecting is a revitalized defense. Jeff Ulbrich’s unit played its worst game of football in London and it was pretty evident that they were fatigued. That’ll happen after a 100-snap effort in Week 4 that was immediately followed by a plane flight to Europe.
I don’t blame the defense for the Falcons’ loss but they have to get back to being the hard-hitting pass-rushers from the Titans game if the Jets are going to win in New England. The unit went from a seven-sack performance the week before to a big nothing in the UK.
I also expect Denzel Mims to see some more action after the bye. Every time he’s been on the field this season, the second-year player has performed. The coaching staff cannot keep him on the sidelines any longer, or they’ll risk a mutiny from fans and players.
While the record isn’t great after six weeks of play (1-4), there is something the Jets have done pretty consistently and that’s making second-half adjustments. Unlike some of the past coaching staffs, after rough starts, more times than not they’ve been able to reset and make better things happen.
With that in mind, I’m expecting a great energy and hopefully a solution to the first half slow starts. Head coach Robert Saleh said that would be a major point of emphasis during the bye week and now it’s time to put his money where his mouth is.
The beginnings of games are scripted for every NFL team (the first 10 to 15 plays) are practiced throughout the week. With that level of attention to detail, the Jets should be performing a lot better but they haven’t been. If they can fix that issue, the green and white should be in great shape moving forward.
2. What Zach Wilson will we get vs the New England Patriots in Week 7?
I think we see a wiser Zach Wilson. Say what you want about the young gunslinger but he does generally learn from his mistakes. The BYU product tried to test the Pats defense the first time around and Bill Belichick gave him a free lesson in NFL Rookie 101.
You have to take what the defense gives you against a coach this crafty and last time, the Jets were running the ball with ease. There was no reason to force tight-window passes but Wilson’s confidence betrayed him. He should definitely take a few pages out of the Mac Jones’ playbook in round two and play a little more “boring.” Then when New England adjusts to the style, that’s when you strike deep.
I’m a glass-half-full guy by nature, but I am a little bit worried about this one. The first matchup against the Patriots was the rookie’s worst outing of his young career so far.
Now he gets another crack, but this time the Jets are 1-4 and he knows what happened last time. Wilson could react one of two ways: he does what my partner suggested (plays things safe and takes layups) or he feels the pressure of what happened last time and he tries to prove to everyone why he was the No. 2 pick in the draft.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love nothing more than Wilson putting on a show on the road trampling the Patriots and putting up video game numbers, but it’s going to be an interesting one for sure.
New England is coming off of a tough and emotional overtime contest where they lost in walk-off fashion to the Dallas Cowboys.
Here’s what I’ll say, earlier this season the Pats faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a tough and emotional contest in Week 4 and lost. The next week they came out completely flat against the Houston Texans. Ultimately they won that game 25-22, but they should’ve lost.
Now they’re coming off of another game that pulled their heartstrings and I think that could work to the benefit of the Jets. Just something to keep an eye out for.
Putting on the Jets GM Hat and Making Key Decisions
3. What game do you have circled on the schedule post-bye that intrigues you the most?
The division games will all bring their own bit of flare but I feel like there’s one obvious answer here. It’s got to be Wilson vs. Trevor Lawrence in the battle of the No. 1 and 2 overall picks of 2021.
The Jacksonville Jaguars just got their first win of the year but they’re still one of the only teams that might be considered worse than the Jets by the average NFL analyst. That means Gang Green may actually win this game and it has the billing of a high-scoring affair on paper. By then, both rookies should be a bit more comfortable and the Jags D isn’t known for stifling their opponents.
Wilson beating Lawrence head to head would silence a lot of haters, and I’m all for that if the Jets can get the job done.
That Jacksonville game is super sexy and the storylines are overflowing, hard to fault that choice.
All of the Patriots games always carry a little extra chutzpah for me and it’s the next game up on the docket. Plus the way they played in the first matchup was super underwhelming, but I’m going to go a bit off the beat and path.
The game I have circled is the Week 9 road game against the Indianapolis Colts. While on the surface they aren’t an incredibly sexy opponent, it’s the only primetime game on the slate for the green and white this season.
I perfectly understand I’m an 80-year-old man in a 28-year-old’s body, so 1 pm ET games are super underrated, but I can’t help but get amped up for night games when you’re the only show on in town.
That’s a golden opportunity for the Jets to get a win, show off who Zach Wilson and this team are all about, and if they perform well it could open up extra primetime game opportunities in 2022.
4. Would you trade Jamison Crowder ahead of the deadline?
Don’t @ me Jets fans, but YES. I love Crowder as much as the next guy but you have to think about this from a logical perspective. The veteran slot receiver is not in the Jets’ long-term plans. We know this from when Joe Douglas practically forced him to take a pay cut. That means the impending free agent is gone after 2021.
The Jets are also 1-4 and even the most optimistic of fans would have a hard time arguing that the franchise is gunning for the postseason this year. It’s a developmental campaign and that means Crowder’s presence only serves one purpose: aiding Wilson as a safety net. Unfortunately, that’s not enough of a reason to keep him around.
His snaps have a direct impact on younger players like Elijah Moore and Mims, who are both a major part of the future. They should be out there gaining experience, not a 28-year old who has a lot of tread on the tires. Plus, you might as well get something back for him.
Of course, I already wrote a full column about this very topic during the bye week (you can check that out here), but I’ll give you some highlights.
This isn’t an easy decision.
Jamison Crowder is a very good player, but he’s clearly not in the team’s future plans. The veteran being on the field is good news for a rookie quarterback who needs someone that can separate consistently, but also his presence is stunting the development of two younger receivers on the roster who needs playing time.
So despite his pops so far this season, it’s time to pull the plug. The Jets could recoup a nice day three pick from a contending team, throw that in the piggy bank, and hand those targets to Mims and Moore.
Elijah is too damn talented to be a relative non-factor so far this season. Follow the game script of every NFL offense this season that features a rookie wideout, just find ways to get the ball into his hands. The same goes for Mims, if Crowder leaves, Moore can slide inside and Denzel can go outside. This is a win-win scenario for all parties involved.
5. What’s the one move you’d like to see the team make?
I’d love the Jets to get a real tight end in here, but rather than speculate on a big move I’ll focus on something more feasible. I want to see rotation at certain positions that have been struggling, mainly wide receiver and CB2. I already talked about it above but the WR usage is borderline malpractice from Mike LaFleur.
I don’t care what anyone says, THIS IS A STRENGTH of this roster. Corey Davis is extremely talented but that doesn’t mean you have to leave him out there every play when he’s busting his butt run-blocking one moment and going deep the next. I also want to see more Keelan Cole and Mims and Moore and Crowder (if he stays) and even Braxton Berrios. The best way to get the most out of these guys is by keeping them fresh. Also, it wouldn’t kill our OC to have them all switch inside and outside to keep the opposition off balance.
At cornerback, I feel like Bryce Hall and Michael Carter are locks but that third spot is still up for grabs, or at least it should be. I really like what I’ve seen from Brandin Echols but am I convinced he’s the guy? Absolutely not.
He’s gotten picked on more often than not and there are two intriguing young men on the roster behind him in Isaiah Dunn and Jason Pinnock. I’d like to see what we have in these players and I’d even try out Javelin Guidry on the outside full-time. Whatever it takes to find Hall’s top counterpart.
I’ll cheat and go with a few things.
Go get a tight end. I don’t care who or how you do it, but the current group stinks. Scour the free-agent market, see what the value is for a few guys like OJ Howard or David Njoku, and make a move. The Jets swung and missed on this during the offseason and they should help out their young quarterback.
Please don’t bench Quincy Williams! Saleh made waves last week saying the team would be rolling with Jarrad Davis when he was healthy, despite how well Williams has played in his absence.
The 4-3 scheme allows three linebackers to start they should be CJ Mosley, Davis, and Williams. There’s no reason that his snaps should be limited. Williams is playing with energy, speed, and an insane motor.
While he’s not a perfect player by any means, every week he plays Williams gets better and better in every aspect of his game.