The New York Jets blew a 16-0 lead to the Buffalo Bills to fall to 0-1 on the season. On a whole, I can list six players who can hold their heads up and be proud of themselves: CJ Mosley, Jamal Adams, Henry Anderson, Jamison Crowder, Neville Hewitt, and Le’Veon Bell. That’s it. When you have a 53 man roster and approximately 10% of them can hold their heads high, that’s embarrassing. I’m going to rip this team to shreds and it’s going to be therapeutic.
Every three or so years, something beautiful happens. The Jets bring in a new head coach, said coach has his opening presser, and in that presser mentions something along the lines of “establishing a winning culture” or “changing the culture”. Guess what? I’ve been alive for 25 going on 26 years, and the culture has not changed a single time in my lifetime. Maybe for 2 years of the Rex Ryan era, but even then the team was a joke and a constant punchline. So what would make Adam Gase, he of the losing career record and “quarterback guru” any different? I’ll tell you: this year they had new uniforms! Oooooh, look out for these guys. They looked sharp in them too! On their way to blowing a lead and generally doing awful things to their fan base, not a single person in the crowd said “damn at least the jerseys look fire!” Nope, as it turns out, the jerseys did not suddenly have a Like Mike effect on the team and turn them into world beaters. Stunning development.
I’m going to start with a handful of positives. First, they were incredible on defense when CJ Mosley was out on the field. He’s a genuinely incredible player and his impact goes far beyond the linebackers. What an incredible player. Jamal Adams made numerous “Jesus dude” plays, and that’s meant in a good way. As in, how did he possibly make that happen? He’s THE tone setter on this defense and his energy is infectious. Le’Veon had NO right to get as many rushing yards as he did. None. He was constantly hit in the backfield, and on 4th and 1 with the game on the line, he picked up 1 yard when it should have been a loss of 3. His two point conversion was unbelievable, the guy is such a baller. This is why you pay him the big bucks. Jamison Crowder caught a lot of passes and—to his credit—tried to do the most he could with them. It’s not his fault for designing plays where he’s in charge of picking up 8 YAC on every reception. He did what he could.
Where to begin? How about at the top? Mike Maccagnan did nothing well as a General Manager. Nothing. Pulled off some trades that I would deem range from “he did fine” to “I can’t believe this guy has control over the channels on his TV remote, let alone over a football team”. He let his Pro Bowl kicker go, and guess what happens week 1? The Jets kicker went 0/1 on extra points and 0/1 on field goals. People were asking, “How could you fire a GM after the draft and free agency?” This is how. Granted, this should have been done after the season, and quite frankly, immediately after he took Christian Hackenberg in the second round. Or after he traded a 5th round pick for Rashad Robinson, who suited up for one game in between suspensions and being cut. Or after he doubled down on a horrific corner situation and MADE DARRYL ROBERTS THE STARTING CORNERBACK. Not a single Jets fan who knows a damn about the team thought this was a good idea, let alone having him be the team’s FOURTH corner. Guess what happened. Darryl Roberts gave away the game winning touchdown. On a play where he was called for Pass Interference—normally a penalty you only take to prevent somebody from catching a pass—buddy, not Darryl! Don’t think it’s only his fault. Oh no. Trumaine Johnson is on year two of his “rob Christopher Johnson of all his money” plan and it’s going swimmingly. He was attacked the entire second half and gave up about 7 first downs while being allergic to tackling. He’s totally mailed it in. It’s pathetic, but par for the course for a lot of this team.
Let’s go farther down the ladder to the coaching staff. Poor Gregg Williams and Brant Boyer. Williams had to contend with the worst starting CBs in football, and masked them brilliantly against Buffalo’s horrible game plan. His defense gave up 17 straight points, but I refuse to blame him when 3 starters go down to injury. Brant Boyer turned Jason Myers into a Pro Bowl kicker, watched his GM let him walk, then was asked to be a miracle worker with a rotating kicking staff and—wow—it didn’t work! I want to talk about the offense. Adam Gase was known for running a slow, extremely vanilla offense in Miami. We were promised a different Gase. Woo boy were we wrong. The MetLife Stadium crowd gasped in shock any time a ball was thrown more than 3 yards down the field. He’s now proven in 3 games that he’s extremely good at limiting Sam Darnold (who was ineffective in both games vs. Miami last year). The guy hasn’t been a good coach in 5 years. Wow, Peyton Manning recommended him? Cool, what has he ever done to prove that he knows a damn about how to hire a good coach? This afternoon, Gase held several people accountable—not a single one being himself, of course. When pressed about the lack of use of Ty Montgomery, his answer was, “I can play who I want”.
By the way, he “played who he wanted” in the preseason, and it resulted in Avery Williamson playing with backups and tearing his ACL. The Jets could have used him yesterday when Mosley went down. It’s pathetic and I’m sick of him already, but the good news is he’s only *checks notes* one game into his tenure. Awesome.
Finally, I want to rip into the players. They are certainly not blameless. I can blame the kicker all I want and I have, but that’s not his fault that he was brought in 3 days ago. Sure, you should be able to make XP’s and 45 yard field goals if you’re an NFL kicker, but this falls on Maccagnan and new GM Joe Douglas, though it’s hard to blame a GM who was brought in just a couple of months ago. Sam Darnold looked nothing like the QB who lit up the league the last 4 weeks of the season last year. His regression—albeit over only one game—was alarming in that he only seemed to have two reads the entire game. He was constantly pressured, sure, and that falls on the scheming and on new center Ryan Kalil. But you have to adjust and he didn’t and he cannot be blameless as he starts year 2. Robby Anderson stopped running on a potential game winning touchdown route. Inexcusable. Marcus Maye lost focus on a duck from Josh Allen and dropped the ball, with Buffalo eventually getting an important 3 points at the end of that drive. Again, when you’ve won less than 10 games in 2 years, there’s no excuse for not doing simple things, and it shows up in the loss column more often than not. The entire team seemed ill-disciplined when it came to penalties.
This team should be humiliated, but when humiliation has become the standard, it’s hard. The bar is set so low on a constant basis, and somehow this loss hurt way more than any game in a 16 game season should because, once again, the promise of a culture change seems to have come up short. It’s pathetic, and utterly embarrassing, and at the same time, so New York Jets. You cannot ask fans for their patience and optimism (and money) every season and then churn out the same garbage year after year. It’s inexcusable and not a single thing about this franchise is endearing right now. I understand it’s one game, but what an awful tone they set. If this is what a culture change looks like, count me out because I’ve dealt with this same culture for my entire life, and most Jets fans for longer. It’s sad and pathetic even for a franchise that has spent 50 years being called sad and pathetic. But hey, at least they looked good in their new uniforms!