Florham Park, NJ – Sunday was a tough day for the Jets as they fell to the Miami Dolphins for their third straight loss. The defense kept the Jets in the game limiting the Dolphins to 168 yards and two field goals. However, the offense endured a world of hurt and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold suffered his worst performance of the season, throwing four interceptions. One of those resulted in a pick six that would eventually win the game for Miami. It didn’t help that he was pressured every time he went back to pass and was sacked four times in the game. Nothing would spark the Jets offense and they would lose the game by one score. Jamal Adams summed up everyone’s feeling of frustration by saying “I’m sick of losing. Enough is enough. I’m fed up with losing.”
The 2018 season has basically slipped away for the Jets with a record of 3-6 and it’s highly unlikely the team will qualify for the playoffs. It’s time for the Jets to make some changes.
The Center Position
Center Spencer Long was a complete and utter nightmare against Miami. He was snapping balls in every direction but Darnold’s hands, with snaps over Darnold’s head, to his left, to his right and even at his feet. Those snaps threw the rookie quarterback off his game by compromising his timing. When the QB is more worried about where the snap ends up, he is not exactly looking over the coverage down field. In fairness to Long, he played the game with a dislocated finger but going forward, he shouldn’t be listening to future snap counts until that finger has healed. Jonotthan Harrison is a capable veteran backup who is in his fifth year in the NFL. Hopefully, the Jets go with the healthy center on Sunday.
The return of Elijah McGuire was one of the positives from week nine as the second-year running back rushed for 30 yards on seven carries. He had limited time but showed he is without a doubt the fastest and evasive running back the Jets have. McGuire has a great IQ for finding the open holes once the ball is in his hands. The Jets should consider starting him against the Buffalo Bills this week. Isaiah Crowell has not rushed for over 50 yards in his last four games and Trenton Cannon has struggled to even cross the line of scrimmage. The loss of Bilal Powell for the season and possibly forever needs to be addressed so hopefully Bowles gives the kid a shot. McGuire could prove to be the boost this team needs to help balance the Jets offense so the team doesn’t rely solely on the passing game.
After his week six victory over the Indianapolis Colts, it looked as if the Jet’s franchise quarterback had taken a quantum leap in establishing himself in the NFL. Darnold looked to be the leader this offense needed. Since then he has regressed, throwing seven interceptions in the last three weeks and failing to complete over 55% of his passes. It has been a common occurrence for the rookie to over throw passes or make rushed passes due to the shortcomings of the offensive line to contain pressure. Frustration is evident, especially in games where the Jets defense is able to keep the score close.
Former Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason said that Darnold looks “exhausted mentally and spooked physically, which is ok. It happens to rookie quarterbacks.” In Miami, Darnold picked his target before the ball was snapped and kept his eye on that receiver regardless of the coverage situation. That tipped the defense off to the direction of the throw. Darnold even said that he played “stupid football” against the Dolphins. It’s hard watching Darnold go down in flames in frustration with himself on the field and taking the full blame for these Jets losses. Todd Bowles has a tough choice to make here. He can let Darnold keep playing through the mishaps and hope he can right the ship, or he sit him and let him learn from Josh McCown. If the Jets want to try and save their season, the latter will be the better choice.
The Jets still need to face the New England Patriots twice, the Green Bay Packers, and the Houston Texans which could leave Darnold with a broken spirit. Veteran Josh McCown had a solid season last year so he could swing things around for the Jets. But McCown may not be the answer to all the Jets problems. Don’t forget, he hasn’t played a game in the Jeremy Bates offense so he might struggle too. This move would all be about getting Darnold back into the right mindset while hoping it doesn’t hinder his confidence as a quarterback.
Coach Bowles has accumulated a record of 23-34 with the Jets. After what started off as a turn of events for the Jets in the 2015 season and a 10-6 record, the Jets have gone downhill since. With two 5-11 seasons behind his belt, he is currently on pace for the third consecutive 5-11 season. Guess what Jet fans? Bowles is on the hot seat. If the Jets don’t win on Sunday against the lowly Bills, Bowles’ tenure with the team will be finished. Last week, the Cleveland Browns fired Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was in his first season with the Browns. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Jets first-year offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates out the door with Bowles as well.