2nd Half Meltdown
Jets wilt in the Miami sun as Dolphins complete the sweep as the Jets fall to 3-11
Good morning Jets fans and welcome to Monday’s edition of TJW at a slightly revised new time no less. Yesterday was a strange game, for one quarter we put together a performance on both sides of the ball, it could be argued we put together one of our best halves of the season. Unfortunately, as has happened so often this year, we were unable to maintain that standard of football for 60 minutes.
First Half Vibes 🥳
Considering the number of injuries we’re currently dealing with, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the Jets come out with such fire. Mike LaFleur was able to dig deep into the playbook to get the offense moving, he schemed open throws for Zach and the Jets were able to get a real push in the run game.
The defense forced a turnover and played a fast and physical brand of football that we hope will be a regular feature over the coming years. For the first time this year, the Jets went into the half with a lead. Just think about that, we’re in week 15 of the season, and yesterday was the first time we’d had a lead at the half. That shows just how bad things are at the moment.
You give Zach credit for coming out and completing the passes in that first half, although I’d say more credit needs to be passed to the offensive coordinator who found ways to get players wide open. Throughout the season you want to see progress and I thought we did see a little progress from Zach yesterday, but we’ve seen a huge amount of progress from Mike LaFleur as the season progressed.
I mean when is the last time you saw a play that was as inventive (or as fun) as this:
2nd Half Meltdown 🥶
For as good as that first half was, the 2nd was the complete opposite. The defense forgot how to tackle and play the run. The offensive line forgot how to block, the receivers forgot how to run routes and Zach forgot how to make a decision. It was a complete breakdown by the whole team and the blame has to be distributed evenly.
I know some won’t like it, but Zach had a poor 2nd half. Yes, the blocking was bad, the receivers didn’t get a huge amount of separation, but there were opportunities there to move the ball with a quicker decision. Coach Saleh said the same in his post-game press conference. It’s still an issue with Zach not trusting what he sees and while you can say nobody got open, they got NFL open. By that I mean they got a half yard and if the balls are on time they’ve got a chance.
Miami came out in the 2nd half and adjusted their game plan, they took the first read away and played a lot more disciplined. What resulted was an offensive unit weakened by injury and led by a rookie crumbled. It was hard to watch.
Defensive the 2nd half showed me why the Jets need so much talent infusion on that side of the ball. We do have injuries, but Carl Lawson is the only premier player due back next year. Marcus Maye was playing at an average level before he went down, Joyner is 32 and coming off a major injury. If you don’t think we need defensive help after conceding 30+ points again…I don’t know what to tell you.
There were two positive plays that really stuck in my mind in the 2nd half. The first was the pick-six by Brandin Echols. This is just perfect anticipation and break. He has his eyes on Tua and sees this ball all the way. According to Echols, this was a tip by Michael Carter II, so spread that love around the rookies.
The other play was a simple pass-breakup by Bryce Hall. Hall was beaten by Parker on a slant for a TD, it was a tough play for a 2nd-year player and you see a lot of players in the NFL get beat on it. With the chance to ice the game on a 3rd down, the Dolphins went back to that exact same play and Hall played it with inside leverage and got his hand in there to break-up the ball. That’s exactly what you want to see from a young player making his way in the league. He saw something that beat him and instantly made a note of it and improved. If all the young players do that, then we’ll be in a very good place next year. He’s also improved his tackling, as can be seen from this:
That was in the first half, but it’s hard to find positive plays in the 2nd half.
Defensive Struggles Continue 🤯
I alluded to it above, but this team needs an extensive makeover on defense. We can’t rely on the likes of Joyner (1-year contract, and 32) and Vinny Curry (1-year contract, and will be 34 next season). Marcus Maye will be coming off a serious injury and he’s not signed for next season either. Right now you can add some unproven guys off the reserve list into the equation next year in Hamsah Nasrilideen and Jamien Sherwood but that’s about it. Carl Lawson was never the end of the defensive makeover, he was the start.
There are a lot of premier free agents available on the defensive side of the ball. While the accepted narrative is that the Jets won’t invest heavily in cornerbacks, if you can get a J C Jackson, then you better to your absolute best to bring him over. Stephon Gilmour is also a free agent, Marcus Williams is a free agent at safety and so is Jessie Bates III.
The Jets are still the only team in the NFL averaging over 30 points conceded on defense this year. It doesn’t matter what you do on offense if they constantly have to score over 30 points to win a football game.
I’ve said this all season and will continue to say it until I’m blue in the face, just because you say we should improve the defense as a priority doesn’t mean I’m saying we should completely ignore the offensive side of the ball. I just think the weighting of the additions needs to be more heavily favored to the defensive side of the ball.
Stars of the Game 🌟
Tevin Coleman 🌟
There really wasn’t a lot to work with in the run game outside of a couple of nice plays in the first half, yet Coleman still managed to rush for 6.2 yards a carry. We were all excited to see Michael Carter return, but the UNC product ran for just 2.2 yards per carry on 8 carries.
Braxton Berrios 🌟🌟
I’m not sure why Berrios wasn’t used more than he was, he basically made an impact every time he touched the ball, including on a 10 yard rushing TD. He did get open a couple of times but the ball didn’t arrive. Braxton is a free agent this off-season but the hope is the Jets can bring him back.
Brandin Echols 🌟🌟🌟
Echols got beat a couple of times yesterday, but playing corner is one of the hardest jobs in football, especially for a late-round rookie. He made an excellent read on the ball that he intercepted and he made a couple of other plays on the ball over the course of the game. All these reps are valuable experiences.
That’s it for today. It’s a little shorter than usual, but that’s because I’m currently busy working on tomorrow’s newsletter which will be a mock Jets off-season. Cuts, signings, and a draft class. I often say you can’t judge a draft class until you know the free agency class, so why not put both together at the same time.