Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 12:59 PM
To say the New York Jets’ offense has been awful is an insult to awful offenses everywhere. This Jets’ offense is establishing an entirely new level of ineptitude. They’re averaging 15.8 points per game, the worst in the NFL and more than a touchdown below the league average. They’ve failed to score a touchdown in two different games, including Monday Night’s 28-3 loss in Arizona. This was a game me and my clients cashed in to the tune of 25 Units, as we took the Cardinals, gave the (-7) and watched the Jets founder all night long.
It’s one thing to know how bad this New York offense is though, and another to understand exactly why it is so putrid. Smart handicapping has to be alert to the fact that in a long season, what’s true in October may not be true in November and December. So let’s break down this offense piece-by-piece and see if there is any hope for a revival.
*The offensive line is like two completely two different units. The interior, the center and the guards are solid. Nick Mangold continues to be one of the best centers in football. Guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter are playing at career-high levels and this continues their arc of year-by-year improvement.
It’s on the edge where the Jets’ offensive front is an utter disaster. They acquired Ryan Clady from Denver for a late-round draft pick and the move hasn’t worked out. Clady, once one of the league’s best, clearly has not recovered from the ACL injury that cost him the entire 2015 season. Ben Ijalana on the right side had only started seven games in his career, from 2011-15, in part because of an ACL injury of his own. Ijalana somehow got the job this season and has shown himself incapable of functioning at a basic level of NFL competence.
The wide receivers were not the deepest in the league to begin with and an injury to Eric Decker has made it worse. Rookie Robby Anderson is clearly not ready to play at this level and opposing secondaries are free to focus all their attention on Brandon Marshall. Tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins isn’t awful, but he isn’t a difference-maker either.
And while it would be unfair to pin too much on Marshall or running back Bilial Powell, given the limitations within which they have to function, a careful study of the film shows that neither one is really playing their best football to begin with.
With all that, we come to the Ryan Fitzpatrick. And for all the problems elsewhere in the offense, they pale in comparison to the unmitigated disaster Fitzpatrick has been at quarterback. His 57% completion rate is poor. His 6.5 yards-per-attempt is uninspiring. But the interceptions are the killer—with 11 picks thrown already, Fitzpatrick is being intercepted on nearly 5 percent of his throws, easily the worst among NFL quarterbacks.
The word is out that head coach Todd Bowles has seen enough and is going to go with Geno Smith. That’s understandable, but given what Smith has done (or not done) in previous opportunities, there’s little reason to think he’ll turn the Jets’ season around.
If there’s a realistic scenario for a Jets’ offensive revival it’s this—Fitzpatrick regains his confidence and his job and begins to play to his career norms, which can be summed up as acceptable. Clady gets his feet under him again and secures the left tackle spot. Powell’s vision in the hole improves and the running game gets a boost. Marshall steps up his own game just a notch and perhaps one other receiver at least emerges as respectable. None of that is going to turn the Jets into the The Greatest Show On Turf, but it could make them at least watchable and give their defense a realistic chance.
The next game is a home date with slumping Baltimore and after that a road trip to winless Cleveland. If we don’t see at least some progress in this games, particularly the Browns’ game, it’s tough to see how the Jets ever recover.