Experts Breakdown Jets Offensive Struggles, Solutions & Predictions

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson throws out of a busted pocket on September 26, 2021.

As we begin our 12th installment of the Heavy on Jets roundtable discussion, featuring our writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller, it’s important to note that fans are pissed off and so are we.

We plan to bring the heat today and we hope we do you proud Gang Green nation, but first, a look back at our previous Monday morning chats.

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Ugly Offense Is All Too Similar

1. The offense has been historically poor to start the season, what do you attribute that to most?

Boy Green:

So many of us thought this would finally be the year where the offense was ahead of the defense. The cornerbacks were so young/inexperienced, with the many injuries up front and in the linebacking corps. Yet Robert Saleh has coached up this unit and they’ve been far better than we anticipated. While the offense, as you put it has been historically putrid.

I thought those days were over with Mike LaFleur at the helm instead of Adam Gase. There are a variety of reasons why they have been poor, but I’m going to point to LaFleur. He’s made a lot of questionable decisions: not enough layup plays to get the offense moving, bad situational calls (empty sets on 3rd/4th and shot), and no Denzel Mims continues to be weird.


I’ll age myself here and explain that “Scooby-Doo: Where Are You!” was my favorite television show as a child. The reason I bring this up is that I keep expecting someone to pull a rubber mask off LaFleur’s face and reveal one Adam Gase! I’m half-kidding because it’s been that bad and that eerily similar.

As frustrating as LaFleur’s play-calling has been though, I still attribute this to the offensive line and Douglas for his failures in this regard. Our general manager promised Sam Darnold’s parents that he would fix this unit before almost getting him killed in 2020. I’m not even a Darnold apologist — trust me I’m the furthest thing from it — but now Douglas is at the risk of ruining the quarterback he drafted.

According to Gang Green Nation writer David Wyatt-Hupton, Wilson has had an average of 1.7 seconds before the pocket collapses, been sacked an NFL-leading 15 times, been hurried 14 times (second-most in NFL), and pressured an NFL-leading 33 times. How do you expect a rookie quarterback or even a rookie OC to succeed under these circumstances?

2. Piggy-backing off that, what steps would you take as a coach to correct the offense and help Wilson?

Boy Green:

Exactly what I just said. Get the offense going immediately with running back screens, crossers/drags over the middle for easy completions to build Wilson’s confidence (and the player that is catching that pass, Elijah Moore maybe?). Get this offense moving down the field and allow the defense to have some time to breathe on the sideline. That would be a great start.

Wilson didn’t lose the game yesterday. The offensive line was spotty, they couldn’t run the ball consistently, and we already talked about the play calls. Help your young quarterback out. Do you want to know how you can do that? BY CATCHING THE FREAKING FOOTBALL! So many bad drops from Corey Davis, to Ty Johnson, to Michael Carter. Just disgusting and no wonder Wilson couldn’t get anything going.


Keep in mind we’re talking about the coaching staff, for now, so this question doesn’t involve trades and roster moves. It’s hard to say it better than Boy Green did, but I’ll try to add something unique. Can we act like we want to be out there? The defense has shown plenty of heart but where is the offensive heart? Where are Moore and Cole and all these dynamic weapons? Where have Davis’ hands gone all of a sudden? The drops were unacceptable in Week 3 and the body language after each drop told me all I need to know.

This offense does not seem happy playing together right now. Maybe it’s the pressure that’s snowballing. Maybe it’s blame being thrown around, from the offensive line to the playmakers and the coaches. Maybe some of the veterans don’t trust Wilson, who seems like he’s trying to hold it all together while balancing the weight of the world on his shoulders.

I’m not sure what it is specifically that’s causing this mood, but LaFleur has to figure this out FAST because it’s not Saleh or Jeff Ulbrich that’s on the chopping block if the Jets finish 2021 with the worst offense in football. P.S. Enough with the excuses, get Mims and Jamison Crowder out there immediately sore groin or not.

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What Now?

3. Week 3 was rough, are there any silver linings that you can take from this defeat?

Boy Green:

Quinnen Williams is back. Wow, what a fantastic performance where he finished with 1.5 sacks and was disruptive. This is the kind of outing we expected back in Week 1 but perhaps our expectations were too aggressive? The former Alabama star was coming off of an offseason foot surgery and was never full go in training camp or the preseason, so September became his preseason of sorts to get ready.

Williams is finally ready to be that disruptive force. There weren’t a lot of silver linings in a 26-0 blowout loss to drop to 0-3 on the season, but this is one Jets fans should rally around heading into the fourth game.


Williams’ efforts were definitely encouraging but I’ll highlight a different linchpin of this Jets defense once again. C.J. Mosley was incredible in this game. Maybe it hasn’t led to wins because of the offensive struggles, but at least the big-money linebacker is finally living up to his contract.

His pop on the goal-line to stand up Javonte Williams was the kind of play that wins football games if they can just figure out the rest. The Broncos even got caught holding him one time in the red zone because they had no other answer. Week 3 was the second straight game that Mosley had double-digit tackles and he’s been flying all over the field. In general, I do feel the linebackers have made strides under Ulbrich, despite the inexperience around the vet.

4. If you’re Douglas, do you make any roster moves to try and counteract the 0-3 start?

Boy Green:

This will be my prisoner of the moment, over-reactionary comment. I’d move on from Greg Van Roten. Did you see the comment he made after the game? He was asked what needs to change because Wilson can’t survive 17 weeks of this after the game he immediately blamed the quarterback and said he needs to learn to get the ball out quicker.

After that comment, he tried to save it by blaming other things but when you are asked a question like that you don’t blame other people, you take some responsibility and have some gosh darn accountability. Don’t blame a rookie QB in his third professional start, you blame yourself for being one of the worst starting guards in football. Disgusting. I hated the answer. Support your young quarterback! Say it starts upfront blah blah blah, don’t throw your rookie under the bus.


I second those comments on GVR. Releasing him would definitely send a message, but is it the right one? I’m honestly asking. It depends how Van Roten’s standing is in the locker room. If he’s well-liked, I would bench him as a statement and see how Isaiah Williams does at right guard (I don’t need to see anymore Dan Feeney). Williams showed some strength on the run during the preseason and he could provide a boost.

In terms of Douglas, he should be looking into every available offensive lineman that is on the trade block or in free agency. Whether that’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Isaiah Wilson or someone that’s yet to be uncovered. I’ve been a major Douglas supporter during his tenure as Jets boss but these O-line issues must be corrected before Wilson turns into Darnold 2.0. This is the job that this GM was brought in to do, SCOUR THE MARKET. Players like Alijah Vera-Tucker and Morgan Moses were a good start in 2021 but the job is not done — especially after Mekhi Becton’s latest injury.

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Looking Forward

5. When do you believe the Jets will win their first game in 2021?

Boy Green:

I’m sure after all that ranting you’d expect me to say some game in 2022, but I’m the self-proclaimed most optimistic New York Jets fan on the planet. When I look at their next two weeks versus the Tennessee Titans and the Atlanta Falcons, I see two possible games. I don’t want to call them winnable games because Gang Green hasn’t won crap yet.

The Titans have a solid record, but how good are they? The defense and offensive line are super vulnerable and that could be the perfect recipe for the first win of the season. While the Falcons game will take place overseas, so that one is more up in the air, the Dirty Birds are god awful. They just got their first win of the season, but of course, they beat the New York Giants which should barely count. That could be another win.

If they can’t get it either of those weeks I feel pretty confident about their chances in Week 6, which is of course the bye week. I’d imagine it’s pretty hard to lose that one.


I agree that the Titans are certainly worse than their record but I don’t see us stopping this offense whether it’s Derrick Henry or A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. What I hope to see in Week 4 is points because Paul is right, this defense stinks and if LaFleur can’t muster up a game plan against Tennesee at home we’re in trouble. It may be a closer game than in Denver (hopefully), but I’ll stick with my gut and say we lose this one and start 0-4.

That brings me to the first ‘W’ of the season, in London versus the Falcons. This team is really bad and yes, they have a veteran quarterback, but they also have an offense that the Jets defense can demolish. Matt Ryan is a pocket passer, the Jets get to the quarterback, Atlanta doesn’t have tremendous wide receivers or offensive line. Then on the defensive side, they’ve been a joke for years. This is the game Jets fans must circle. If we’re 0-5 heading into the bye, that’s when I panic that we’ve hired the wrong coach in Saleh.

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