New York Jets: A Look Inside the Team Mid-Season

The 2018 season for the New York Jets has been one mixed with some highs and lows. In a year where the Jets have a rookie as their starting quarterback, the most important thing is growth. Through the first nine weeks down, here is a breakdown of New York’s season so far.

The Jets had arguably the most interesting week 1 in NFL history. In Sam Darnold’s first career start against the Detroit Lions, he throws an interception on the very first play of the game. The interception was run back for a touchdown and you could literally feel Jets fans’ souls leave their body. However, Darnold and the team responded and they ended up blowing out Detroit 48-17. This had all of Jets nation on cloud nine. But the Jets and their fans were brought back down to earth as they went on a 3 game losing streak. This included a crushing loss in week 3 on Thursday Night Football. A game in which the Jets blew a 14 point lead and let Baker Mayfield lead the Browns to their first win almost 2 years.

After week 4 the Jets did seem to figure it out just a bit. It started with a convincing win at home against the Denver Broncos. A game which saw the Jets rush for 323 yards. Isaiah Crowell accounted for 219 of them. The next week the Jets won a barn burner against the Indianapolis Colts 42-34 to get back to .500. However, after that game, the Jets lost their next 3 games to the Vikings, Bears, and Dolphins. The one glaring thing in the Jets recent string of losses has been the offense or lack thereof. The team hasn’t scored more than 17 points in a game the last 3 weeks. In their last game against the Dolphins, the offense could only muster up a measly 6 points.

Offense

The biggest thing the Jets and their fans want to get out of this season is reassurance that Darnold is their quarterback for the future. So far through 9 weeks, Sam has met if not exceeded expectations. He has hit a sort of rookie wall though, as he has struggled as of late. On the year he has thrown for 1,705 yards and 11 touchdowns.

However, he has thrown 14 interceptions. This past game against Miami Darnold had his worst game on the season. A game in which he threw 4 interceptions, including a pick 6 which was the difference in the game. The interceptions, although a concern is something that was known about him when he was drafted. This is something that, with more experience will go down over time. His ability to move outside of the pocket and throw on the run has been a strength for him this season.

Photo Credit: NY Post (Anthony J. Causi)

Though the Jets aren’t specifically a “ground and pound” style team, they do have more success on offense when the running game is on. All the Jets victories on the year have come when Darnold threw 30 or fewer passes. It’s not even that the Jets have a feature back as they basically have gone by committee between Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell just about all season. Although Powell was just added to the injured reserve, Elijah McGuire, who just came off IR will take over Powell’s workload. New York does have the 13th best rushing attack in the league but it has been absent as of late. It’s no surprise that in the last 3 Jets losses the team has rushed for less than 100 yards as a team.

Defense

One area of concern for the Jets this season has been on the defensive side of the ball. The Jets have a very anemic pass rush. All-pro defensive end Leonard Williams has basically been a no-show when it comes to getting to the quarterback. Whether it’s the schemes or just a lack of talent around Williams on that D-line, this will be something the Jets should look at this offseason.

The biggest problem facing the Jets defense, however, is penalties. Time and time again this season the Jets have shot themselves in the foot with boneheaded penalties on 3rd down. Whether it be a defensive holding or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty they are momentum killers. Not to mention it just shows a lack of maturity. The lone bright spot, if you will, on the defense has been 2nd-year safety, Jamal Adams. He is the vocal leader on that defense and has a hand in just about every play.

To be fair to the Jets they haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to the injury bug. They’ve had injuries to key starters on both sides of the ball including cornerback Trumaine Johnson and key receivers like Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson. The Jets play the struggling Buffalo Bills before their bye week in week 11. That game may just be what Gang Green needs to boost team morale and confidence.

The last 7 weeks of the season are going to be very important to the future of this organization. Whether it be coaching changes or how aggressive the team goes in free agency. For Darnold, he’s going to have to show he can bounce back from a few poor starts and truly lead an offense. Some feel he has even regressed since the first few weeks of the season. For the defense, it’s about staying composed and maintaining the level of play they’ve shown in recent weeks. For Jets fans, they just want to know that the team is heading in the right direction for 2019.

How do you feel about the New York Jets halfway through the season? Leave a comment below.

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