New York Jets Decision: Zach Wilson BenchedNovember 21, 2023
Jets End Season with a WhimperDecember 18, 2023
Well Jets fans, welcome back to another season of irrelevance! It’s the Holiday season, and the Jets are out of playoff contention barring a miracle stretch of games to end the season. To continue the season of celebration, Aaron Rodgers will be celebrating his 40th birthday this weekend. Do you think the Jets can gift him a win against Atlanta? Who would’ve thought 6 months ago the Jets would be heading into a matchup against the Falcons where the jets are fully irrelevant at this point in time, and the Falcons are somehow in the playoffs leading the AFC south with a 5-6 record. I mean seriously, what a world we Jets fans live in. After this appalling stretch of games from the jets, I fully expect the Falcons leave MetLife with a 6-6 record.
The Falcons are a mediocre team with a league average defense, but a very good rushing offense. Arthur Smith has played some musical chairs at QB this season, initially naming second year Desmond Ridder as starter to begin the season, but eventually making the mid-season change to Taylor Heinicke. Following their bye week, Smith again named Ridder as the starting QB. Ridder has shown flashes of positivity this season and has a couple of 300+ yard games under his belt. Through his ten games played, he has 7 passing TDs and 4 rushing, but has thrown 8 interceptions. When you watch Ridder, he honestly has flashes of great play. But all of the sudden he will do the unthinkable and give the ball away in terrible field position, or during crunch time with the game on the line. On paper, Ridder has a great group of skill position players to support him including the highly touted rookie Bijan Robinson, and 2nd/3rd year players in Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Anyone who plays fantasy football knows the frustration caused by Arthur Smith and his usage of key offensive players. These players have really underperformed under Arthur Smith the past two years, but are still very talented players that cause problems for any defensive scheme.
Based on what we know about Desmond Ridder, we would expect the Jets defense to eat him alive. He’s a turnover prone QB with bad rookie tendencies. In recent weeks we’ve seen a newer undisciplined side of the Jets defense which really worries me going into this game. With how bad our offense is, its really beginning to take a toll on our defensive players. I am very very concerned about the defense against Atlanta. Arthur Smith loves to play old fashioned football and he has no problem running the ball down an oppositions throat. We have really struggled against the run recently and the falcons can absolutely take advantage of that against us. If they are able to sustain drives led by their rushing attack, we are really going to struggle in this game.
Our offense is absolutely putrid. There is not one positive takeaway from the offense in its current state. We allowed the Dolphins to run a hail-mary back for 99 yard to end the half last week. The weapons Joe Douglas brought in to support Aaron Rodgers are adding nothing to the offense, and Allen Lazard is being paid 44 million dollars to be a healthy scratch based on his horrific run of play this season. It seems as though Hackett has no answers, and regardless of who’s behind center the offensive production is just not there. This week, we saw Robert Saleh publicly criticize Breece Hall. I’m not going to spend time talking about whether this is justified or not, but it is safe to say that Breece is leaving something to be desired out there. If he’s not hitting a home run, he struggles to get those gritty/tough yards expected from your lead back. Part of this is definitely due to our carousel of offensive lineman, but another big aspect of this could be the fact that he’s still a year out from his ACL recovery. Zack Rosenblatt on his podcast recently talked about watching Saquon recover from his ACL, and he believes we’re seeing a very similar trajectory for Breece.
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We’re beginning to see the coaching staff hold players accountable. We’ve seen Michael Carter cut, Breece publicly criticized, and Lazard benched. When are we going to see the coaching staff held accountable, specifically Nate Hackett? This type of leeway is truly unprecedented. I cannot think of a time that we saw a team tolerate this level of incompetence (outside of a team blatantly tanking). I understand how much power Aaron Rodgers carries inside the ranks of the coaching staff and front office, but he cannot be the sole dictator of every decision made. Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have to put their foot down. If a change is not made, mark my words Nate Hackett may be the sword that they both end up dying on. The Falcons defense is not a good defense. With the weapons on our offense, there is no excuse for not putting up 21+ points against them. We have seen countless backup quarterbacks do it this season against better defenses. It’s beginning to become clear that quarterback might not matter as much as the offense system in place. If we don’t see dramatic change in the offensive output this week, I am seriously questioning whether Robert Saleh will be the Jets head coach in 2024.
I feel like a broken record with the keys to the game every week but the recipe is really simple with this team. Let our defense dominate a bad offense. As long as the offense can put more than 10 points on the board we can win this game! Unfortunately, 10 points has been a major hurdle for this team this season. The hardest part of this game for the defense is going to be slowing down the relentless running from the Falcons. The way to shut this down is to have an offense sustain drives and put points on the board to prevent the Falcons from dominating the clock and game with runs. We need Tim Boyle to show that he truly knows the system this week and score at least 2-3 touchdowns through the air to show the potential of this offense. If he fails to do so, I do not see us winning this game and we’re pushed even further into irrelevancy.