J-E-T-S, Just End The Season! Well, New York Jets fans the positive is there are only five games left, however, the negative is, there are five games left. The 2023 Jets continue to find new ways each week to embarrass themselves and when the season is all said and done, the Jets will remain in football purgatory.
Today, after the Jets’ latest blunder against the Atlanta Falcons at home, let’s look at the team grades 12 games into the 2023 campaign.
Jets Team Grades Through 12 Games
What more needs to be said? The 2023 New York Jets are historically bad on offense and it’s unwatchable. The revolving door at quarterback continues, and Sunday was the latest chapter. Tim Boyle who started that game has now been cut, and Brett Rypien has been signed to fill out this abysmal QB room. To put it simply, the Jets went from Aaron Rodgers to Zach Wilson to Tim Boyle to Trevor Siemian and now back to Wilson for their week 14 matchup against the Houston Texans.
Watching the offense is bad, but seeing the statistics and where they rank is even worse. Over the last six games, the Jets have scored 13 points or less in each of those games. They have scored just 10 touchdowns in 12 games on offense which is dead last in the NFL. Finally, the Jets have the worst offensive DVOA in the NFL while their defense carries the team currently standing at third-best in the NFL in defensive DVOA.
The coaching down to the quarterback and everyone in between deserves blame for the offense. However, the biggest culprit is Joe Douglas, who didn’t go out and bring in a reliable QB behind Rodgers in the event he went down. Going into the bye week the Jets looked good, but winning the way they were was not sustainable. You can only wonder where the Jets would be right now with a quality backup. Another season was wasted.
Watching the Jets’ defense week in and week out dominate opposing offenses just for it to be wasted because of the offense might be the most frustrating part of the season. The latest of these performances came on Sunday, against the Falcons where the Jets held Atlanta to 13 points on just 194 total yards of offense. That was wasted as the offense couldn’t find the end zone yet again.
The defense has had many key contributors this year, many of whom will be on their way to Orlando, to participate in the 2024 Pro Bowl Games. Starting up front, the Jets continue to make opposing quarterbacks’ lives miserable. Jermaine Johnson, Quinnen Williams, Bryce Huff, Quinton Jefferson, John Franklin-Myers, and others have played big roles. Johnson has been everything the Jets could have asked for in year number two.
On Sunday, Johnson had six pressures, 1.5 sacks, three QB hits, and two tackles for loss. Along with this, his 6.5 sacks on the season lead the team. Last year was a developmental year for Johnson, but this year he is turning into a recking force up front. The Jets as a team have 31 sacks this season.
Along with this, the linebackers and defensive backs for the Jets have played a big role. This includes C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter. The Jets currently rank third in the NFL in pass defense. To add on, against Atlanta the Jets’ CB trio of Gardner, Reed, and Carter allowed just three catches for 17 yards on 12 targets.
The one knock on the 2023 Jets defense is its ability to stop the run. Currently, the Jets rank tied for 29th in the NFL allowing 136.1 rush yards per game. Even with this being a weakness, the Jets are still one of the top defenses in football and it is the last thing to blame for this terrible season.
Can Thomas Morstead play QB? Now that won’t happen but maybe it should. On a more serious note, Morstead has been great for the Jets this season, and in his 15th season, Morstead is proving his age of 37 is just a number.
Morstead has been one of the Jets’ most-used players, through 12 games, he has punted 71 times with ranks first in the AFC. He has punted for 3,499 yards which leads the NFL and is averaging 49.3 yards per punt which ranks fourth in the AFC. He has also downed 25 punts inside the 20-yard line, which is well on its way to his career-high if the Jets continue their inability to put together drives on offense.
Greg Zuerlein has also held up his end of the bargain, knocking in 96% of his field goals this season which currently stands as his career high. Sadly for the Jets offense, Zuerlein has been one of their biggest producers putting 79 points through the uprights.
Overall, Brant Boyer has done his job as another year goes by with him in charge of the special teams. They have still been successful despite suffering key injuries, including Justin Hardee who made his return on Sunday against the Falcons.
When you lose five straight games and things only seem to be getting worse, fans are going to point to the coaching staff. Sometimes it is warranted and sometimes it isn’t, but in the case of the Jets, blame deserves to go around, especially on the offensive side of the football.
Nathaniel Hackett is currently the orchestrator of one of the worst offenses in the history of the NFL. Ranking near the bottom of the NFL in various statistics, many fans feel it can’t get any worse but over the last few weeks, it has only gotten worse. Hackett moving to the booth hasn’t helped as his play calling has continued to stay vanilla and boring. The Jets struggle mightly in the red zone and on third down, and seeing it unfold live the majority of those missed opportunities have been the play calling.
On Sunday it seemed Hackett began to open up the playbook a little more but Boyle was missing receivers wide-open. Outside of that, it’s been a very ugly season for Hackett and the offense. The concerning question is what would Hackett be without Rodgers? Other than one season with Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, Hackett has struggled with quarterbacks not named Aaron Rodgers. The same story is being told again this season.
Jeff Ulbrich and Robert Saleh deserve enormous amounts of credit for turning this defense into a force over the last two seasons. However, for Saleh, the record continues to bite him. In his Jets career, he has a 15-31 record, which in New York simply isn’t going to cut it. Along with this, Jets fans are witnessing the same post-bye week struggles as last year. This season they are 1-5 up to this point since the bye week and last season they went 1-7 after their bye week which ended in missing the postseason.
It’s a result-driven business and down the stretch, Saleh cannot afford to finish the season losing 10 straight after they lost six straight to end last year. All of his slogans and team speeches are cool, but in New York, he has to start winning. The question remains, what really good attributes does Saleh have and what does he truly do well?
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