The Jets lost 24-17 to the Dolphins on Sunday to drop to 2-8 this season. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:
1. When the Jets traded Jamal Adams to the Seahawks, one storyline was that Seattle did not value the draft picks because they knew they would be late first-rounders. It showed some arrogance on Seattle’s part that they expected to be that good and did not need the picks. Now, it looks like the Jets could end up with a very good pick from Seattle in 2022.
As of Monday morning, the Jets would have the No. 2 pick and No. 5 pick (from Seattle) in the draft. No one expects that Seahawks pick to actually end up in the top 5, but it’s not crazy to think it could be top 10 and feels almost certain to be top 15.
That will be a huge boost for Jets GM Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh as they try to accelerate their rebuild of the roster. The Jets also have two second-round picks — their own and Carolina’s from the Sam Darnold trade. Douglas has a chance to land four impact starters for Saleh.
I can hear the cynical Jets fans saying, “Great, they’ll blow those picks.” I get it. You’re beaten down by years of poor drafting, but right now is not the time to view it that way. The 2021 draft class is the only bright spot on this team right now. Elijah Moore had a monster game Sunday with eight catches for 141 yards and a 62-yard touchdown. Michael Carter was averaging 7 yards a carry before his ankle injury. Alijah Vera-Tucker threw a key block on Carter’s 39-yard run and has played well after some early struggles. Cornerback Michael Carter II has shown he is a capable starter and they have gotten contributions from linebacker Jamien Sherwood and corner Brandin Echols this year.
The key to the whole draft class is Zach Wilson, of course, but right now Douglas gets the benefit of the doubt. It looks like he drafted several keepers this year and he is armed with the draft picks to land more keepers in 2022. If the Jets are ever going to dig out of this hole, stacking draft classes is how they will do it.
2. The expectation is that Wilson will return from his knee injury this week and start against the Texans. The storyline is going to be that the season is now all about Wilson’s development — and rightfully so. But here is a fascinating side story that I’ll be watching. Moore and Carter have really emerged with Wilson on the bench. They have had their best games playing with Mike White and Joe Flacco. Is it just a coincidence and they just needed about half the season to shake off the rookie growing pains? Or is it because White and Flacco have done a better job running the offense and getting them opportunities — particularly Moore?
If Moore’s production plummets with Wilson at quarterback, that will be a big story. Yes, Wilson’s development is paramount, but the Jets also need their other rookies to keep growing and not get slowed if Wilson is struggling. It will be an interesting side story to watch.
3. Give Saleh credit. He did not just keep rolling out the same players expecting a different result on defense. Saleh made some moves: starting Elijah Riley at safety over Jarrod Wilson, Quincy Williams over Jarrad Davis at linebacker and going with Isaiah Dunn at cornerback to replace an injured Echols instead of Javelin Guidry.
The moves did not all work. Riley and Dunn were involved in the coverage blunder on Miami’s 65-yard touchdown. But that is not the point. Saleh at least decided to shake things up. There are not a lot of answers on the roster for Saleh. The Jets don’t have the kind of depth where he can keep rolling through players, but he is trying.
I give him the most credit for the move at linebacker. The Jets signed Davis to a one-year, $5.5 million contract in free agency to play alongside C.J. Mosley. Davis injured his ankle in training camp and did not return until Oct. 31 against the Bengals. He has not played well and Saleh said Sunday the Jets do not think he is 100 percent back from the injury. Williams had played well in place of Davis, and then was benched when he returned. It was a good move to go back to him Sunday. Williams brings energy and is a physical player who can inspire teammates. He makes his share of mistakes but they come from an aggressive mentality and the Jets can live with that.
4. If the Jets lose another game (who thinks they’re running the table?), it will lock up another losing season. That will be six losing seasons in a row, dating back to 2016. It is an incredible run of bad football. The Jets never had five losing seasons in a row before this stretch, and Jets history is marked with long runs of futility. But this is clearly now the worst stretch of football in franchise history. The Jets still feel several years away from contending and it is clear that the Patriots, Bills and Dolphins are all ahead of them to varying degrees. I feel for Jets fans. This could take a while to turn around and you’ve already been waiting long enough.
John Franklin-Myers’ roughing the passer penalty Sunday was the sixth penalty of that kind this season for the Jets, the most in the NFL. It is the second year in a row they have led the league in roughing the passer penalties. They had 14 in 2020.
Surprising snap count
Jarrad Davis only played nine snaps after starting the last three games. Saleh made the move to start Quincy Williams but he also completely cut down Davis’ snaps.
Moore gave Jets fans some hope in a loss. His eight catches for 141 yards and the long touchdown showed that he can be a very good receiver. After a slow start, Moore has got it going and provided hope for the future.
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources]