New York Jets Report: Week 3.5


Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets (1-2) have done two things consistently so far in 2014: stop the run and shoot themselves in the foot. They’re very good at both; it’s too bad that second one doesn’t lead to wins. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Gang green didn’t blow an 18-point lead in Week 3 to the Bears, but they did put themselves in a 14-0 hole with turnovers. Playing catch up the entire game, offensive inefficiency and the inability to stop Chicago at third-down junctures led to the Jet’s demise and a second straight loss. Monday night at MetLife Stadium ended 27-19 Bears and there’s a third consecutive NFC North opponent coming to visit in Week 4.

Enter Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson, Matthew Stafford and a dangerous Detroit team on both sides of the ball. Before we get to the Lions, let’s look at what’s going on with the Jets.


  • Chris Ivory looks menacing running the football and was even involved in the passing game on Monday night with four receptions. On the season, Ivory has 189 yards on 33 carries (5.7 avg) and a couple of scores. Versus the Bears, he only got ten carries and probably should’ve been used more. Like having him run the ball on third down inside the five yard line instead of a quarterback draw? Yeah, kind of like that. He should be a staple for Marty Mornhinweg versus Detroit.
  •  The Sons of Anarchy on the Jets defensive line are at it again. Mo, Snacks and Sheldon stuffed Matt Forte in Week 3 for 33 yards on 13 attempts—a microcosm of what they’ve done so far in 2014. The Jets’ run defense is tops in the NFL, allowing 55 yards per game on the ground and just 165 through three weeks. Rex Ryan will continue to lean on this group for not only stopping the run, but putting pressure on the quarterback to help the weak secondary. So far so good—the Jets are tied for first in the NFL with 10.0 sacks. This remains immeasurably important in Week 4—just how long can we expect the New York secondary to stay with Megatron?
  • Nick Folk is the Jets’ MVP once again in 2014 to this point. He’s a perfect 7-for-7 kicking field goals, including the four he made on Monday Night Football. One thing is for certain: if the Jets are in field goal range and can’t punch it in, they’re going to get three points. He is the Folk hero indeed and helped give the Jets a puncher’s chance in Week 3. Nothing like a kicker being Mr. Reliable.

NEGATIVES (Almost too many to count)

  •  When it comes to the red zone, the Jets are truly maddening. They were “completely awful” against Chicago as Geno correctly put it. The one touchdown in six trips into the red area cemented the Jets as one of the worst teams deep in opponents’ territory so far in 2014. They’re scoring touchdowns on just 33.3% (one-third? What?) of their trips inside the 20. It isn’t all that easy for Geno & Co. to get inside the 20 to begin with so when you get there—punch it in. Much of the blame for not getting seven points in the red zone falls on Smith’s shoulders but don’t be afraid to toss some blame over to Mornhinweg. His play calling in such situations has been suspect at best.
  • The clamoring for Michael Vick has begun amongst the more impatient faction of Jet nation. Why, you ask? Well Geno Smith threw two inexcusable interceptions: one for a pick-six that put the Jets in an early hole and one in the red zone at a crucial point in the game. I don’t think he should be in danger of losing his job just yet but Geno hasn’t looked very polished at all the last six quarters and it’s beginning to cost the Jets gravely. One of the biggest adjustments the Jets need as a team is for him to take care of the football better. I remain impressed his improvement in a variety of areas—people need to be a bit more patient. It’s been three games. Are we really about to turn over the team to Michael Vick, an extremely turnover-prone QB himself? At least Geno is still a young’ in.
  • The defensive backfield knocked a few balls down versus the Bears but this group remains the largest weakness on the team. Brandon Marshall was injured and not a factor but Jeffrey and Martellus Bennett had their way. They combined for 13 catches, 159 yards and two scores. Cutler and the Bears were able to make converting critical third downs easy and did so five times on a single drive to begin the second half on their way to a gut-punching touchdown. Antonio Allen and Darrin Walls weren’t awful but they weren’t good either; even if Dee Milliner returns there are question marks littering the secondary. Ryan’s scheme to attempt containment of Johnson and Golden Tate is something interesting to look for against Detroit. And if Allen gets another sure interception let’s hope he doesn’t drop the ball.
  • Although this is in no way an excuse for losing, the Jets were also hosed a bit. The officials first called a phantom pass interference penalty on Walls to set up the second Bears touchdown that was totally egregious; if anything, Alshon Jeffrey was the guilty party on offense. Then Jay Cutler fumbled a ball the Jets would have returned for a touchdown had the referees not incorrectly blown the play dead. What could have been a turning point in the game needed up being a footnote and another reason to change the rules about blowing a play dead when you’re not sure of a fumble. It can always be called back and in this case it changed the complexion of the game

With Jim Caldwell’s Lions (2-1) coming in on Sunday, the pregame narrative doesn’t change all that much from the previous couple of games. It’s another dangerous offense that can hang points on New York in a hurry. The Jets are looking to get pressure on Stafford before he uses targets like Johnson, Tate and Reggie Bush to cut the defense to pieces. The concern for the secondary in this one is real—things could get ugly if Detroit has their way.

On offense, the Jets must score. Simple enough, right? More specifically, they need to score touchdowns. Settling for three time and time again will not suffice against this offense; in that case New York will be playing from behind just like in Week 3. The Jets’ firepower can’t keep up but they’re ability to run the ball while eating up clock and field will need to make up the difference. This Detroit defense is top five against both the pass and run so far but the Jets’ offense begins with plugging away on the ground, beginning with Ivory. From there, it’s a matter of Geno taking care of the ball and developing a rapport with some receivers other than Eric Decker, who is again iffy to play with a barking hamstring.

The Jets are 0-2 on their six-game gauntlet that runs through Week 7 and they need to grab a couple of these games in order to stay afloat. A loss on Sunday puts the Jets in a hole much deeper than they would like after just four games (1-3) with the schedule only getting harder. Weeks 5 through 7 feature matchups at San Diego, vs. Denver and at New England.

New York needs to regain some confidence and in turn give its fans a reason to believe they are better than your average football team. Detroit poses a serious threat and is slightly favored but these are the kind of games, especially at home, that you need to find a way to win if you’re destined for a successful season. The Jets have a long way to go and so much to prove—a win in Week 4 is a large step in the right direction. It’s about time for gang green to play a complete 60 minutes for once and send one of these NFC North teams away with a loss.