NY Sports Day
Anthony Rushing

Rushing: Offensive, Coaching Woes Sinking Jets’ Season

Dave Pokress/NYSD

The Jets are back to their losing ways.

Any talk of the Jets competing for a playoff spot this season can now end.

Playoffs? Playoffs?? Where’s Jim Mora when we need him?

If Jets head coach Todd Bowles isn’t careful, he’s going to end up where Mora eventually found himself; unemployed.

Brutal doesn’t begin to describe how the Jets looked in their 13-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins. They dropped to 3-6 on the season, have now lost three straight games, and wasted a big-time effort from their defense.

For all the talk of how bad the field conditions were at Hard Rock Stadium, it held up better than Gang Green’s offense. At least the stadium’s ground crew showed up ready to work.

Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold threw a season-high four interceptions, including a pick-six. There were also a handful of other throws which should’ve been picked off by Miami. Darnold’s been shaky over the last three weeks, there’s plenty of room for him to play better. But he’s still not getting enough help from the rest of the offense, therefore he continues to be graded on a curve.

Darnold’s not getting enough help from his coaches either. Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates did him no favors against the Dolphins, specifically with the handling of Spencer Long.

Long aggravated a hand injury, an obvious issue to a player responsible for snapping the football to the quarterback. But Bowles and Bates kept calling for Darnold to line up in the shotgun formation, the results were atrocious. Long’s snaps were consistently bad and arguably contributed to many of Darnold’s poor throws.

The decision to leave Long in the game ultimately burned the Jets in the second half. Darnold threw a couple of ugly interceptions and took a few drive-killing sacks.

After the game, Bowles said he thought the Jets were “fine” with Long in there.

 Really?

Then why did the Jets ultimately bench Long in the fourth quarter for Jonotthan Harrison? Maybe someone finally tapped the head coach on the shoulder and told him it might be a good idea to sit the man down.

There was no run game, again. Running back Isaiah Crowell ran for only 49 yards on 13 carries. If there’s no run game, opposing defenses will focus on the pass. We’ve seen Darnold struggle this season whenever the Jets have had to rely solely on their passing attack.

But if Bates is going to repeatedly dial up the shotgun formation, it would be logical to make sure the center is healthy enough to snap Darnold the football. If he’s not then the coaches should have either sat him down or stopped using the shotgun. Bowles and Bates dropped the ball on this, pun intended.

The decision to leave Long in compromised any momentum the Jets could have hoped to build on offense. This was a winnable ballgame thanks to Miami’s inability to score points, they have offensive problems of their own. There’s no other way to put it, this was bad coaching by Bowles and his staff.

Darnold was sacked four times to go with his four interceptions. When he wasn’t struggling to field bad snaps, he was getting knocked around by Miami’s defense.

Poor line play, a struggling run game, and head-scratching moves by the coaches have contributed to stunting Darnold’s development. If the emphasis for the remainder of this season is to develop Darnold, it would help to stop putting him in so many difficult scenarios to overcome.

The Jets have invested their present and future into Sam Darnold. He’s made mistakes on the field which deserve to be criticized. But it’s also up to Bowles to make sure Darnold is surrounded with the necessary tools to win. This week, his head coach failed him.

 

 

 

 


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