After the Week 2 defeat in Dallas, the New York Jets are now 1-1 on the 2023 regular season. Typically, that wouldn’t be the worst place to be heading into Week 3 but considering the Aaron Rodgers injury and the uncertainty of the NYJ offense from week to week, some might consider the upcoming home game a must-win outing despite their record.
Of course, part of that mentality stems from the New England Patriots’ 14-game win streak versus the Jets, and our writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr. and Michael Obermuller are back to discuss the top NYJ questions heading into Pats Week.
Within this September 19 mailbag you’ll find; reactions on Nathaniel Hackett’s odd Week 2 play-calling, one-word reactions for the defensive performance against the Cowboys, Zach Wilson grades, theories on how to fix the offensive line and Week 3 predictions.
Most recent NYJ mailbags:
- Eary RB expectations, toughest cuts & Week 1 predictions.
- Rodgers reactions, sticking with Wilson, altered expectations & Week 2 predictions.
Calling Out the Real Jets Culprits in Week 2 vs. Cowboys
1. NYJ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett received a lot of criticism in Week 2 both from players and media/fans. Is it too early in the season to “overreact” and blame the play-calling for a loss?
I didn’t love the play-calling, but the defense was the main reason for this loss.
Having said that, Hackett deserves his share of the blame for what transpired. I just didn’t understand the concepts at the beginning. There wasn’t enough running the football — specifically with Breece Hall — and I want Garrett Wilson to have 10-plus targets every single game, no excuses.
You have to get the ball to your playmakers. There have been seasons where the Jets have had nothing at the skill positions and they had no choice, but this isn’t one of those years. Get your crap together Hackett!
The offensive gameplan wasn’t good, but I won’t overreact when it comes to Hackett because I think this game got off-script very quickly. Now, you could argue his improvisation was poor — especially in moments where C.J. Uzomah is on the field over Mecole Hardman in passing situations or Hall is stuck on the sidelines — but I’ll wait a few more weeks to get an accurate read on personnel stuff.
Two things wrecked this offensive approach from the get-go. One was Micah Parsons. The Jets knew he was trouble going in, but I don’t think they expected him to utterly manhandle Duane Brown and the offensive line the way he did.
The second was the defense, which underperformed in a way that nobody expected. Hopefully, the offense can stick to their plan a bit more in Week 3.
2. The Jets defense was undressed by Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Give me a one-word reaction on the defense’s performance in Dallas.
The Jets pounded their chest about the potential of this unit, and it was supposed to be the thing we all assumed showed up — yet it folded like a used lawn chair. Disappointing and deflating are two more words that could describe it, and the lack of juice was concerning.
At the end of the day though, this is one game against a Super Bowl caliber team. Don’t forget that just a week ago they gave the Buffalo Bills the business.
My partner referenced the ‘85 Bears comments and hopefully this game serves as a wakeup call for the defense. The NFL is no walk in the park, and if you want to be the best there is no room for error.
This Jets defense made something very clear ahead of the season — no matter who’s at QB, they want to be the best defense in the league. That means you don’t give up an effortless touchdown drive to start the game. You also don’t give up an immediate touchdown drive after your offense puts seven points on the board. And you definitely don’t make the opposing quarterback look like the second coming of Tom Brady.
This performance was downright pathetic, and it really shocked me as a huge fan of the group. I’ll say one more thing too. Everyone ripped Wilson for accountability last year. Well, how about some accountability from Sauce Gardner?
I know Gardner didn’t allow CeeDee Lamb’s 143 receiving yards, but he did watch as a tight end caught the ball right in front of him for a TD. He also dropped a pick six and missed tackles in this game. He was far from perfect, yet after the game we have to hear him say that Lamb “didn’t really make no plays on me.” I love Gardner, but read the room dude.
Grading Jets QB Zach Wilson vs. Cowboys & Attempting to Fix the NYJ Offensive Line
3. Whenever Zach Wilson starts a game for the Jets, he seems to be the talk of the town with extreme positive and negative reactions from fans. Grade Wilson’s performance on a scale of 1-10 in Week 2 and explain why.
I’d give it a solid 7 for Wilson against the Cowboys. Through three quarters, Wilson was having one of his better games as a pro.
He was moving the ball, using his legs to escape pressure, and delivering the ball where it needed to go. Obviously, the fourth quarter and the final stat line tell a different story but if you watched the game, you saw legit progress.
Let’s put it this way, Wilson was not the reason the Jets lost to America’s Team.
The “Wilson haters” — so to speak — will talk about the three interceptions that were of no consequence in the loss. They’ll talk about his 2022 struggles and his inexperienced background. What they won’t talk about is that coach of the year Brian Daboll, Daniel Jones and the New York Giants were shutout by the same Dallas defense a week ago.
My partner is 100% right in that the Jets did not lose this game because of Wilson.
Now, having said that, a 7 grade is a bit rich for my blood. Wilson wasn’t horrible and he showed some signs of improvement, but he wasn’t above average either. If I’m being nice, I’ll give him a 6, but a more realistic grade is probably a 5 out of 10.
4. How would you attempt to fix the Jets offensive line? Which just always seems to be a problem year after year.
It’s probably too early for any drastic changes, but I’d keep an eye out for some swapping around at the offensive tackle spot.
Mekhi Becton has been the Jets’ best offensive lineman through the first two games of the season. If Brown continues to impersonate a pair of saloon doors, then the Jets will have to throw his old ass on the bench, replace him with Becton and move Alijah Vera-Tucker out to right tackle.
That is a lot of moving pieces, and maybe Brown deserves another week or two to figure this out, but time is of the essence.
There’s been a lot of talk about benching Connor McGovern for Joe Tippmann and I’m all for that happening at some point. Overall, though, I do believe some patience is needed here.
Let’s be honest, as bad as Brown looked, Billy Turner and Max Mitchell were far worse this summer. The Cowboys also have the best defensive front in football and they often make OL units look like pee-wee football players.
I want to see this starting five bounce back in a big way against the Pats, assuming no one is benched after Week 2. If they do that, they’ll probably get a slightly longer leash from Robert Saleh moving forward.
Week 3 Predictions for Jets vs. Patriots
5. Give Jets Nation your predictions for Week 3 against the New England Patriots. (on the season: MO is 2-0, BG is 1-1)
This will probably sound hyperbolic, but this upcoming game is a must-win situation. The New England Patriots have owned the Jets winning 14 in a row and 22 of the last 24 in this series. Gang Green needs to get this monkey off of their backs and simultaneously, get themselves to 2-1 and 2-0 inside the AFC East.
This is a massive game, and not only should the Jets do it for themselves, but they could also potentially kick the Patriots to 0-3 to start the year. There is nothing sweeter than smacking your little brother in the head with a 1-2 combo and the Jets have a chance to quell some demons and seize the day!
I believe they will. The Dallas game was the outlier and people are already forgetting what NYJ did to the Bills in Week 1. Give me the Jets winning this game 23-13 over the Patriots!
When it comes to a game like football, motivation is everything. Last week, I was a bit worried about the Jets motivation levels heading into Dallas after a thrilling victory over Buffalo. In the end those fears were correct, and the Cowboys ran NYJ out of their stadium.
I don’t think that happens at home against a franchise this locker room truly despises. The Jets defense always tends to play better at MetLife under Saleh, and Zach Wilson looks like he’s learned a few things since his previous run-ins with Bill Belichick.
If the Jets play mistake-free football on offense, they should win this one on the backs of their defense and playmakers (Hall, Garrett Wilson, etc). I’ll take the Jets in a heavy field goal game, 19-12.