The Jets opened the season with a bang on Sunday, falling 24-9 to the Ravens to start the year 0-1 for the fourth straight season. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:
1. It’s gotten so tiring listening to Jets teams after losses like this explain things. If this happened… it would be better. If we have not given up long steps, the game is close. If we didn’t turn the ball over, things would be different. These things are true, but guess what? You did make those mistakes. There will be 16 teams this week (maybe 17 with the tie between the Colts and Texans) that will explain away why they didn’t win. Every team that loses in the NFL can point to two or three things that didn’t go well and that’s why they lost.
It’s year after year when the Jets talk about “self-inflicted injuries” or “we shot ourselves in the foot.” The day I stop hearing those phrases in their postgame locker room is the day I know this team has actually turned the corner.
Sunday’s game had the familiar feel of recent years. They hung tough for a while but never felt like they were going to win the game and then the better team took over.
The other thing I’m tired of hearing from the Jets is how this isn’t the same team it used to be. Prove it. Stop talking about how good you can be and … be good. You can go through the revolving cast of characters who have been with the Jets in the last seven years, who have told everyone that this team is better than their performance. Enough. It’s time to prove it.
And when I say prove it, I don’t mean they have to win every game. But they have to be competitive. The offense must have a pulse. There have been too many games like Sunday’s here. No one expects the 2022 Jets to go to the Super Bowl and they shouldn’t expect to go to the playoffs. But they should be able to be in the game in the fourth quarter and not down 21 points.
No more excuses.
2. Now that I have that off my chest, I’ll give the Jets the benefit of some perspective that we don’t have yet. The hard part about rating Week 1 games is that we don’t know how good anyone is. Are the Ravens a 12-win team, a nine-win team, a seven-win team? We do not know and therefore do not have a total perspective on Sunday’s game.
I didn’t think the Ravens played particularly well but they have a very good quarterback, who made great plays when the team needed him to come through.
Last year, the Jets lost to the Panthers in Week 1 and Carolina started 3-0. People thought the Panthers could be a good team and the Week 1 loss to the Jets didn’t look too bad. Then, the wheels fell off in Carolina and that loss didn’t look so good.
We’ll see what happens with Baltimore, but we could look back at Sunday’s game and say of course the Jets were dominated by the Ravens because they’re one of the best teams in the league and the Jets played with their backup quarterback.
3. The usage of rookie receiver Garrett Wilson was interesting to me. It took a while for the Jets to put Wilson in the game and then a few plays after he entered the game he had an impact play where he caught a short pass down the sideline, made several Ravens miss and almost picked up a first down. Then, he disappeared.
Why take him out of the game when it’s clear he can play? That tells me the Jets coaches still don’t trust him. Wilson only played six snaps in the first half. He ended up playing 41, but that was because the Jets mostly went to four wide receivers in the second half when they trailed.
Here’s the thing: Wilson probably needs more time to learn the offense and the details of being a pro receiver, but he can do things with the ball in his hands and the Jets don’t have enough of those guys.
I think if you are the Jets coaches you have to play Wilson and live with the growing pains. If he makes a few mistakes, but then breaks one for a long game, you can live with that. He is a playmaker. Play him.
4. The offensive line has been a concern over the last month and those fears looked valid on Sunday. This group just didn’t have enough time to work together. Left tackle George Fant was bounced back and forth from left to right and back to left. Left guard Laken Tomlinson just came to the Jets in March as a free agent. Right guard Alijah Vera-Tucker moved from left guard to right guard. Right tackle Max Mitchell is a rookie fourth-round pick the Jets never thought should play, never mind to start this season. Mitchell is essentially their third-string tackle with the Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown injuries forcing him into the lineup.
The line should improve, but they need time together and they need receivers to get open so Flacco or whoever is playing quarterback can get the ball out quickly.
QB Joe Flacco had 59 passing attempts. That’s not a winning formula for the Jets. He is the eighth player in Jets history to attempt at least 59 passes.
Here is the list:
|1 Vinny Testaverde||69||December 24, 2000||at Ravens, L 34-20|
|2 Vinny Testaverde||63||December 6, 1998||Seahawks, W 32-31|
|3. Joe Namath||62||October 18, 1970||Colts, L 29-22|
|T4. Joe Namath||60||December 3, 1967||Broncos, L 33-24|
|T4. Richard Todd||60||September 21, 1980||49ers, L 37-27|
|T6. Vinny Testaverde||59||October 23, 2000||Dolphins, W 40-37 (OT)|
|T6. Mark Sanchez||59||December 24, 2011||Giants, L 29-14|
|T6. Joe Flacco||59||September 11, 2022||Ravens, L 24-9|
Surprising click count
TE CJ Uzomah only played 23 out 84 snaps (27 percent) while fellow TE Tyler Conklin played 77 snaps. Uzomah was a big free agent pickup from the Jets. Why use him so little?
CB DJ Reed played a nice game. He did not give up any receptions and had an interception. He revealed to CBS after the game that he ran to midfield after the pick to pay tribute to his late father.