The New York Jets ended their season on Sunday, as they defeated the Buffalo Bills, 13-6. Even though the Bills fielded mostly backups, Adam Gase’s offense struggled tremendously, gaining just 271 yards of total offense and converting 5 of 14 third downs. But a win is a win and Adam Gase’s Jets are 7-9, winning six of their last eight games.
Adam Gase is, however, the first Jets head coach since Rich Kotite to start his tenure with a losing season. He’s also the first head coach in the NFL history to lose to two 0-7 or worse teams in the same season. Don’t let the 7-9 record fool you – these Jets are much worse than what their final record looks like.
The Jets finished dead last in total offense, averaging just 273 yards per game. Despite the acquisition of RB Le’Veon Bell in the offseason, the running game averaged just 78.6 yards per game (31st in the league). It was pretty clear that Gase didn’t know how to utilize Bell’s strength or he just wanted us all to see that he didn’t really need Bell to begin with.
Despite missing a few games due to mononucleosis, QB Sam Darnold still managed to have a slightly better season than his rookie campaign. He crossed the 3,000 passing yard mark, his completion percentage went over sixty, and interception percentage went down to 2.9 (3.6% in his rookie season). The jury is still out though whether Darnold is the franchise quarterback that the Jets have been looking for since forever. Darnold had two fourth quarter comebacks this season, bringing his career total up to three. Three career fourth quarter comebacks already put him in the top 10 in the New York Jets history. That’s just how bad the quarterback position has been over the years.
We won’t know the answer to the Darnold question till GM Joe Douglas goes out and plugs the biggest hole on offense – the offensive line. The current unit allowed 52 sacks (4th worst in the league) and 106 quarterback hits this season. The running attack averages just 3.3 yards per carry behind this line, which is the worst in the NFL.
The defense, despite numerous injury setbacks, is what carried the Jets throughout the season. When they stepped up and made plays, the Gang Green had a chance. When they forgot to show up, the team looked like the Jets from the Kotite era. S Jamal Adams led this unit with 6.5 sacks, 13 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles and 2 defensive touchdowns (interception and fumble recovery). LB Jordan Jenkins also had a good year, finishing with the team high 8 sacks.
DE Henry Anderson, who led the team with 7 sacks last year and earned a contract extension, was largely a disappointment He recorded only one sack this season and was a non-factor despite starting in 13 games. Rookie DT Quinnen Williams did not impress either. Someone who was seen as the next Warren Sapp finished his rookie campaign with only 2.5 sacks and 28 tackles. Then, there’s of course CB Trumaine Johnson who missed most of the season due to an injury. It’s certain that we’ve seen the last of him in a Jets uniform and the team will have to eat $12M of dead money when they cut him next year.
The Jets and GM Joe Douglas are facing a long road on the way to recovery. The offensive line must come first, followed by the cornerback position. The Jets are set at safety, although Jamal Adams could be on the way out, as the Jets will either have to give him a contract extension or trade him in the offseason. Le’Veon Bell might be on the way out as well. Then, there’s WR Robby Anderson. He was second best on the team with 779 receiving yards and 5 TDs. Anderson is going to be a free agent and will most likely demand a lot of money that the Jets might not want to pay. In any case, this offseason is promising to be one of the most interesting in the recent years.