The New York Jets Week 3 scoreline versus the Cincinnati Bengals was somewhat respectable at 27-12 but make no mistake, this game was never truly close.
The common theme for the Jets on September 25 was mistakes — whether mental or technical — and after the game, head coach Robert Saleh admitted that these errors weren’t committed by the younger players. Veteran mistakes plagued the Green & White in this outing, plain and simple, and the Jets HC highlighted a few of them in his postgame press conference.
John Franklin-Myers & Corey Davis Headline Veteran Miscues
“It’s our vets,” Saleh agreed after SNY reporter Connor Hughes noted that the younger prospects aren’t the ones costing the team right now. “Our vets are making them.”
He continued, naming two in particular: “[The veterans] made critical mistakes at critical times. JFM [John Franklin-Myers] had the third-down personal foul, which — ticky-tack or not — has no business [happening]. He just doesn’t have to, and then Corey [Davis] obviously with the penalty he had. It’s got to get fixed.”
JFM’s penalty extended a drive that led to a Bengals touchdown and Davis’ flag stalled a potential touchdown opportunity for the Jets. That’s a 14-point swing right there on two unnecessary decisions in the heat of the moment.
The final call-to-action from Saleh extends beyond Franklin-Myers and Davis though — fixing these miscues. You can include safeties Jordan Whitehead and Lamarcus Joyner in the same sentence, for starters.
Saleh spoke on Whitehead’s major mistake as well, a missed tackle that allowed a 56-yard catch-and-run touchdown for wide receiver Tyler Boyd. “He’s gotta wrap up,” the head coach told the media members. “You can big hit and wrap up at the same time, he knows that.”
Joyner didn’t make as many glaring errors in this outing but he’s had plenty over the course of the first three weeks — and he was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet tackle on wide receiver Tee Higgins. Several other veterans didn’t show up against Cincinnati either, including Joe Flacco, C.J. Uzomah, George Fant, Carl Lawson and more.
“It’s frustrating,” Saleh voiced in a more general sense earlier in the presser, “it’s part of everything that I keep telling you guys about — it is frustrating as hell — but anytime you turn the ball over four times [and] you only get one takeaway, obviously you’re never going to win a football game. We had opportunities in the second half to try to change momentum… we just gotta be able to take advantage of those… It wasn’t good.”
No, it certainly wasn’t, and the high of Week 2 now fades heading into Pittsburgh.
Jets Youngsters Did Show Up
The only silver lining is that the Jets’ rookies and second-year prospects continue to do their part.
Wide receiver Garrett Wilson had another 60 yards off six catches despite missing a portion of the game with a rib injury. He did return later and was one of Flacco’s favorite targets all afternoon.
Rookie running back Breece Hall was a dynamic weapon in the passing game as well with 53 yards off six receptions. You could easily make the argument that offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur abandoned the run far too early, and Hall’s eight carries at a 4.9-yard clip is all the evidence you need.
Cornerback Sauce Gardner also made a few important pass breakups for this defense and both defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons blew up plays in the backfield.
Second-year blocker Alijah Vera-Tucker appeared to continue his sturdy campaign at right guard too, with rookie Max Mitchell starting his third game on his righthand side.
Telling fans that the future is bright only works for so long though. Eventually, you have to get more consistent in the here and now — and Saleh is beginning to understand that.
How about getting Braxton Berrios more involved in the passing offense, he’s hardly being used except on end-arounds! Keep the TEs in more for blocking!
The running game was largely not working and the reason for this was poor blocking of the OL and being too predictable. Too often they were trying to set up the pass by running on 1st and 2nd down and got stuck in 3rd and long. How about doing it the other way around? Set up the run by passing, mix it up more and keep the other team guessing on what you’re going to do on offense!
Could not agree more on the predictable playcalling. LaFleur had an encouraging stretch in the second half last season but his playcalling has been poor so far in 2022. Hopefully that changes with Wilson at QB. Thanks for another read and comment!