This wasn’t how it was supposed to go for the New York Jets. Another embarrassing performance, this time a 34-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins Saturday night at MetLife Stadium, added to the misery which has been this team’s season.
The Jets, and their 4-10 record, find themselves in familiar territory looking up in the standings at everyone else.
There’s plenty of blame to go around the Jets locker room for their dreadful year, from the head coach to the players. A season which started out with so much potential has once again been downgraded to talk of next year.
There will be changes on this Jets team, that much is for sure. Players will be evaluated, coaches too, and some will stay while others will depart. There’s a reason why the NFL has always stood for “Not For Long”, it’s the nature of the business.
The remainder of this Jets’ season is all about evaluation. They must find out who really wants to be part of the solution as much as who to remove from the problem.
One player the Jets must keep in mind during their offseason planning is running back Bilal Powell. On a team which has been absent of leadership and lacking in effort, Powell has been the one exception.
All Powell does when his number’s called is go out on the field and play hard. It’s all he’s ever really done since the Jets used their 2011 fourth-round pick to get him out of Louisville.
There isn’t a play Powell appears to takes off, if there is one I’d love to see the game tape. He runs hard at all times and leaves it all on the field.
In the loss to Miami Saturday night, before the wheels fell off completely, Powell kept the Jets in the game with his play. He finished the game with 84 rushing yards on 16 carries and 11 receptions for 76 yards.
On the ground or through the air, Powell has been the one constant for the Jets.
“Whenever my number is called, I just try to take full advantage of my opportunity,” Powell said after the game.
The problem was Powell didn’t get his number called nearly enough. The Jets, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, intended to have Powell share the workload with free agent pickup Matt Forte.
It took for Forte, a career workhorse, to hurt his knee late in the season before Powell saw more playing time.
It shouldn’t have taken that long for Gailey, known for his innovative play calling, at least before this season, to find more reps for Powell.
The proof is on the field whenever Powell is out there, he produces when he plays.
Gailey may or may not be in the next season’s plans for the Jets, but Powell should be near or at the top of the discussion.
Fixing what’s wrong with this team won’t take one or two quick fixes, it’s going to take an overhaul with an emphasis on keeping players who want to play.
The Jets must not overlook Bilal Powell, a player who plays hard all the time. Doing so would be another mistake.