The New York Jets’ season is just past its third-quarter point and Gang Green still stands winless. Needless to say, the Jets’ three-quarter report being underwhelming would be an understatement.
The team’s narrow loss to the Raiders two weeks ago showed positives that New York could have built upon in their last four games. However, this was impossible against an NFC contender like the Seahawks. In a 40-3 loss at Seattle, all the success the Jets had on the ground and defensively seemed like it never established a foundation.
The criticism of the 2020 Jets, touted as one of the worst teams in the history of the league, almost seems repetitive at this point of the campaign. However, more often than not, this criticism turns out to be fairly realistic. The Jets are amongst the worst teams in the league in many crucial components, such as the passing game and the passing defense. Moreover, the groups that have potential are derailed by disbalance and inconsistency. Coaching, as pointed out more than once, hasn’t been on the rise for New York in 2020 either.
The 2020 campaign is a season so brutal that it will send the Jets to a complete and deep rebuild. This is whether they actually lack the resources to avoid it or not. Here is a detailed breakdown of how the team has developed since September 14th, plus what to expect going forward.
Jets’ Season at the three-quarter mark: Weak Links
Some units in the Jets offense and defense are so bad that they barely have anything to show off. The air raid, for example, includes just one reliable pass-catcher, Jamison Crowser. However, even he has been awfully quiet in the past few games.
The term “weak links” perhaps applies more to players on the secondary than on the offense. After all, both groups rank amongst the bottom four in their respective field. While the passing defense has enjoyed success from players such as Blessuan Austin and Marcus Maye, the same cannot be said about anybody on the receiving corps. Therefore, this unit also contains players that deserve a bigger share of the blame.
Three starting-level players in the secondary have disappointed in 2020. This has been enough to deprive the Jets of any stability through the air.
The first of them is incoming safety, Bradley McDougald. McDougald was brought in as a part of the Jamal Adams-to-Seattle trade. Adams has definitely had a down year in the Northwest. However, so has McDougald, leaving the Jets vulnerable in the long passing game. He only played seven games before landing on the Injured Reserve, currently having no timeline for return. The Jets faced some dangerous passing units and none have been kind to the former Seahawk. McDougald has posted an allowed passer rating of 102.3 in 18 targets, accompanied by three passes defended.
Furthermore, Lamar Jackson and Bryce Hall were incorporated into the secondary due to a shortage of depth…in an unsuccessful way. Firstly, Jackson has the third-most targets in the NY secondary with 41, conceding a 136.7 rating. This is the second-worst within the unit. Secondly, Hall, a 2020 draft pick out of Virginia, has allowed a rating over 110.0 in just four targets less than Jackson.
Finally, remember when Henry Anderson stood out in 2018 with seven sacks in 16 games and just three starts? Well, he has only posted 1.5 sacks in two campaigns since. Anderson wasn’t able to maintain his performance a year later, recording just a single sack in 13 starts. Also, he hasn’t bounced back this year, only having half a sack in the game against the Chargers.
Those players hold a significant amount of the blame for the Jets defense. Some of them are unlikely to remain with the team beyond the season. Meanwhile, their positions will be key needs in the offseason.
Jets’ Season at the Three-Quarter Mark: Adam Gase’s Failure
The struggles of the Jets’ coaching staff, including Adam Case and recently-fired Gregg Williams, have been one of the main topics throughout the 2020 season.
While Gregg Williams did little to improve his underperforming group, he often suffered from lack of depth. He was rightfully sacked but Gase has only failed more badly. In addition to his bad playcalling, he mismanaged the play selection of New York’s offense.
The running unit, which averaged 4.3 yards per rush and ranks near the middle of the pack, could have taken some of the pressure off the league-worst passing offense, which averages the fewest yards per passing attempt.
However, Gase and his offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains stuck with a 56:44 pass-run ratio. Thus, the Jets offense has been the worst through 14 weeks of NFL football. Read more about the problem of the play selection and why the run would have fixed it in this article.
Jets’ Season at the Three-Quarter Mark: The State of a Healthy Receiving Core
Sam Darnold didn’t have all his targets due to numerous injuries for the majority of the Jets’ season. Yet, Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims, and Jamison Crowder have all been healthy for the past five weeks. The only exception is Mims, who missed the latest loss to Seattle. This provides the chance for a conscious breakdown of what Darnold, or the next Jets QB, has available.
From Exhibit A, it becomes clear that even with all three healthy for most of the time, all have been very inconsistent. This is a huge drop in quality, for Crowder in particular, who made 83 receptions with a catch percentage of 63.9 a year ago with the same quarterback. He has experienced a drop in workload, getting the fewest targets out of the three with 23 in that span.
Overall, none of the three managed a catch percentage of over 60.0%. Even for a downfield threat like Mims, 50.0 percent is not efficient enough. Moreover, Perriman has been trusted on the biggest amount of throws and a much more intermediate-game role, only to catch just 52 percent. This is bad enough for a run-first offense to struggle, let alone a unit with a 56:44 play selection split in favor of the pass.
Jets’ Three-Quarter Report: Offseason Salary Cap Focus
The Jets will have $76 million to spend under the projected $176-million salary cap threshold. Needless to say, they will have a lot of work to do in both new and old components of need. Only the aforementioned Maye, Brian Poole, and Breshad Perriman are set to return. Therefore, NY will have a wide-open door for major improvements.
The team will focus heavily on the receiving corps for a second straight year after lacking depth in 2020. Furthermore, despite the limited success during this terrible Jets’ season, the team will need to find new faces in their running game. As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, the pass-rush and the secondary also require more depth and quality. In short, the same ol’ needs, this time we’re all begging for better execution.
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