Rinse, wash, repeat. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Like Tupac Shakur’s introduction to the world, it’s the “Same Song.” Incompetence reigns supreme once again with the New York Jets and another quality defensive performance is wasted by an offense that can’t get out of it’s own way.
Life in the NFL is hard enough for a 21-year-old rookie quarterback, but when said quarterback is constantly under pressure, has no running game to rely on, has no receivers that can get open and has a center that can’t snap the ball quarterbacking becomes impossible. Sam Darnold did not play well yesterday, he made some terrible decisions (rushed/forced or not, the decisions were not good) and some bad throws, but when judging a rookie quarterback you expect mistakes. Mistakes come with the territory, but you have to look at the how and the why.
On Darnold’s first interception he simply made a terrible read. Darnold simply didn’t see Kiko Alonso, but Alonso saw Darnold’s eyes the entire way. The second interception came after a terrible snap, more on that later, Darnold had to reach out and snag the snap with one hand and by the time he secures the ball it’s too late. Darnold, already under pressure, tries to find Eric Tomlinson but never had a chance to scan the field and notice Jerome Baker with the coverage underneath. Baker then returned it for a touchdown. The final two picks both came on fourth downs as Darnold had to try something, anything and yeah they were bad throws and decisions but he had nowhere to go and had to try something.
This isn’t to absolve Darnold of blame, but to bring you back to reality. Many reporters tried to warn you that as good as darn old looked at times in training camp and the preseason he’s still a rookie quarterback in the NFL and rookies tend to struggle. He was always going to hit bumps in the road, he was always going to have some good games and great moments and bad games with horrific moments. That’s typically how that goes and that was before we realized the problems with the rest of the roster would be as bad as they are. Once again the Jets had to waste two timeouts to prevent a delay of game, on one of them Darnold was screaming for Spencer Long to snap it, they had multiple penalties that pushed the offense back, and had running plays stuffed on second and medium that turned into third and long.
Life is hard enough for a rookie quarterback, yet the Jets continue to insist on making it harder. The Dolphins were able to get pressure by rushing four defenders and dropping everyone else in coverage, that’s the recipe for beating Tom Brady so yeah you should expect a rookie to struggle against that.
The Jets defense played great, they bottled up the run game, pressured Brock Osweiler and held the Dolphins to six measly points. The problem was the Jets offense only scored six points themselves and they gave the Dolphins defense a pick-six which was the difference in the game. It’s unfair to ask more of the defense than what they got yesterday, but that’s how it goes when the offense is completely incompetent.
Speaking of incompetent, let’s talk about Todd Bowles waiting until the second to last drive to bench center Spencer Long. Long had 15 bad snaps yesterday, 15! The first one came with 30 seconds left in the first half (the Jets ran far more plays from under center in the first half and increased their shotgun plays as Long started to have more issues snapping the ball), Darnold actually salvaged that first snap and made a great play to pick up eight yards on a throw to Quincy Enunwa to set up the field goal. In the second half everything unraveled for Long.
Some of the snaps were just a little off, but they were mixed in between some wildly off target snaps and imagine being a quarterback, facing constant pressure all day and not having any idea where the snap will end up. At that point the quarterback has to keep his eyes on the ball, which of course takes his eyes off of the defense until he can secure the ball and by that time it’s often too late and pressure is already in his face. Often the goal is for the quarterback to get the ball out in under three seconds, a quarter of a second to half a second can make all the difference in the world in that short of a time span. One of the 15 bad snaps didn’t count as an official play because of a face mask penalty on the Dolphins, but it should still count here because Darnold almost got his head ripped off because by the time he corralled the snap their were four Dolphins defenders directly in his face.
Long was already dealing with a dislocated finger going into the game and snaps have been a problem for him since training camp and yet Bowles stubbornly refused to bench Long after it was clear he re-injured the finger until it was too late. All around the NFL, same song.
Bowles stubborn refusal to make changes, whether it’s to bench players for constantly making the same mistakes or running the same outdated offense preaching ball control, continues to hold this team back. Jeremy Bates play-calling was just as bland and stubborn and the defense has ever right to be pissed off and feed up. So do you fans and so do the Johnson’s. If yesterday wasn’t enough to show the brothers Johnson that Bowles is not the coach you want in charge of this team, what will be enough?