At its lowest, the New York Jets sparked hope with a simple credo: “Go to mom” – New York Jets Blog
FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The low point was Oct. 24 at Gillette Stadium, where the New York Jets were pushed around and mocked by the New England Patriots. The game was so one-sided that Patriots legend Richard Seymour, honored at halftime, challenged Bill Belichick’s code: he insulted the opponent. Speaking to fans, he called the Jets their comeback game. The crowd roars.
Final score: 54-13.
The Jets were in a dark place, suffering two more blowout losses in the weeks that followed. They weren’t just a bad football team, they were historically wrong. They looked like the same sorry outfit from 2020, except with a more charismatic trainer.
They stabilized the ship, albeit in a loss, starting veteran quarterback Joe Flacco against Mike White in Week 12 – a controversial decision at the time – and the Jets have been a competitive team ever since.
Not a dynamic team, mind you. Not even a good team in terms of record. But a competitive team. They’ve been involved in one-possession games in five of the past six quarters. All in all, this is progress, especially for such a young team.
They’re heading into the season finale against the Buffalo Bills with a 4-12 record, which is certainly not worthy of a marketing campaign, but they’ve created an offensive identity while having knocked out games. nightmares in defense.
“We have a saying,” said linebacker CJ Mosley, speaking on behalf of the defense. “When things start to get a little crazy or you start to go off the rails in a game or in practice, you just say, ‘Go see mom.’ We went home, we came back to our fundamentals, we came back to our fundamentals.
“Obviously the season hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to but from that point until now we’re definitely a different team.”
Specifically, the Jets have improved in two key areas – racing play and revenue margin. They average 125.3 rushing yards with a minus-1 turnover differential over the last eight games, compared to 77.1 and minus-12 in the first eight.
Credit to the offensive line, which really struggled in the new out-of-zone pattern at the start of the season. With time devoted to the task, the line corrected its communication problems and built up cohesion, which was only disrupted last week by injuries. The 273-yard performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars remains the league’s best ground running day this season.
Credit offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, whose creativity and use of the pre-engagement movement turned the Jets into the San Francisco East 49ers. That was the plan from the start – the system is based on the game at hand – but it was terrible at first. LaFleur picked rookie Michael Carter as RB1 and found ways to incorporate wide receivers Braxton Berrios and Elijah Moore into the rushed attack.
Also credit quarterback Zach Wilson, who has played four straight games without an interception after throwing 11 in his first eight starts. The hasty productive attack reduced the pressure on the rookie, who moved on to a game manager role. It may have a negative connotation for quarterbacks – rightly so, in some cases – but it shouldn’t be the perception. of Wilson, who was extremely crude when he first joined the Jets. These are small steps, and he takes them.
“Obviously the quarterback has made a significant leap in attack control and command,” said coach Robert Saleh.
They finally have the right formula on offense, one that was elusive for a myriad of reasons in September and October. Remember the horrible beginnings? It took them seven – Seven! – games before scoring a point in the first quarter. They fixed it. They have six touchdowns in the first quarter in the last eight games, tied for third in the league.
Let’s stick to the superlatives, however. The Jets are averaging just 17.8 points and 190.3 passing yards over the same span, producing the bottom third. Part of that can be attributed to the wide receiver’s revolving door, as Moore, Jamison Crowder and Corey Davis missed 12 combined games in the second half. Wilson has been running backups for much of the past few weeks, but has been able to eliminate the game-changing errors.
Meanwhile, the defense made small gains in points allowed (31.4 to 28.3) and yards allowed (408.1 to 383.9). This is the same unit that allowed 175 points in four games in October / November, arguably the worst defensive stretch in franchise history.
Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich adjusted his tactics, taking a more conservative approach in an attempt to limit explosive play. He’s reduced the blitz and is playing more area coverage than at the start of the season – 59% percent of transmissions, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In the first eight games, it was 42%. They remain a heavy defense on the third try.
There were slippages against the run and on the third down which is supposed to be the hallmark of the Saleh / Ulbrich defense. He’s still ranked 32nd in yards allowed, and that’s especially troubling considering he faced the opponent’s third lowest average offensive rating, according to the Football Power Index of ESPN.
“When things start to get a little crazy or you start to go off the rails in a game or in practice, you just say, ‘Go see mom.’ We went back home. We returned to our bases.
Jets linebacker CJ Mosley
The Jets have the youngest defense in the league, so growing pains were expected. There’s still a long way to go, but at least it’s a functional defense, which has started playing on the ball (nine takeaways in the last eight games). There is nothing wrong with the scheme; he just needs more talent.
Be careful though: the improvement at the end of the season can be misleading. You saw it in 2019, when the Jets won six of their last eight games under Adam Gase. Some conveniently overlooked the easy schedule, which was a big factor. Crazy Gold is all over the NFL.
This season they’re ranked 11th overall, but their last two wins have come against bad teams – the Houston Jaguars and Texans. That said, they held their own with the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints and pushed the Dolphins (both games) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the brink. If it weren’t for the hapless quarterback against the Bucs, they likely would have upset the defending Super Bowl champions.
“The most important thing is to lay the foundation for what we are trying to build on,” Saleh said. “The foundation is everything. It’s been a tough time for this organization, one that you can’t really sympathize with until you’re actually there to understand how far it goes from the fan base to the organization. , to everyone It’s year 1 for me, I had no idea. But I promise you I’m doing it now. And I think our staff are doing it, and I think our players are doing it and we embrace it all. “