Broken Down by Topic...
Todd Bowles - I’ve long defended Bowles on JN, not really on his merits, but rather the fact that I think blaming everything on the coach is just 1) wishful thinking that things can be made better quickly with one administrate change and 2) hindsight analysis as it’s easy to call something a bad decision after you see the outcome. We’ve been down this road many times before and it never works and I don’t see a new coach winning with this roster either. He doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, but he's also not the reason we're losing. We simply aren't good. I've long believed that his strategy was, knowing that the team is below average, to try and keep games close and sneak them out in the end. We can debate the merits of that idea, but it's hardly the rudderless ship that some would have you believe. Further, not everything bad that happens is the HC's fault. He's not on the field. That said, and rightfully so, Bowles is almost certainly gone at the end of this year. The important thing is that Macc must go with him.
Mike Maccagnan - Our drafting is as close to Idzik level as you can get, especially when you consider Idzik only got two and Mac has now had four. Hopefully the release of Stewart will be a wake-up call that ensures he doesn’t get another draft to find an okay top pick and essentially nothing else. The talent level is abysmal on this team, and it's the reason we're neither good now, nor have much beyond the hope of the QB to get excited about. Look at the drafts, the misses are pervasive. The equally big issue is that the hits aren't making a difference. Williams and Adams are nice players, but largely one dimensional, and don't contribute to wins. There's a reason they were both "best player in the draft" and available at 6. It's not that you don't want these guys on your team, it's just that, as you can see, they're not moving the needle towards being a contender. Lee has stepped up a bit too this year, but he's still got a long way to go, and there is not a single Mac 2nd round pick that's contributing to this team today. Ultimately, even if you like Macc for the Darnold acquisition or whatever else, how do you fire Bowles and let Macc pick a coach? That means, you're signing on for 3 more years of Macc. You can't fire him and then fire the coach after one, and you can't force the next GM to keep the coach, we saw that with Idzik/Rex, no? Macc hasn't earned multiple years, so it's time for him to go.
Sam Darnold - Darnold looks shaky at best. There are reasons to be optimistic and there are reasons for concern that you can't really just ignore as "21-year-old rookie." He looks as if he may be good one day, but that it may take a while to get there. The INT he threw at the end of the game (2nd to last one) was a complete disaster. Yes, the offensive line failed on the play, but it’s 1st down and you take the sack. You don’t throw blindly over the middle while falling down. Dreadful situational awareness. He's making those mistakes in bunches, and is lucky he didn't get picked off a couple of times before the end of the game. He gets about as little help as possible, but I also worry about his arm. Mayfield was rocketing the ball around and Darnold can’t do it. Last night, I found myself remembering the combine with Mayfield, Rosen, and even Allen launching the ball and Darnold just standing their not throwing. In that moment, I was glad he'd be gone when we were picking. Though, I was happy when we got him. Ultimately, I think Darnold will be at worst, solid, but will he be very good? I’m not sure.
The Offense - What’s there to say? We have no weapons and we can’t protect the QB. We are going to struggle to move the football and it’s unclear, as there’s not a lot of young talent that’s developing, how and how long it will take to fix it. You need a fully new Oline, a legitimate WR, a RB, and we still don’t have a TE who can create problems. This is years of rebuilding... Robbie Anderson can’t be counted on for anything but go-routes, and we can’t protect the QB long enough to run them, and Darnold hasn’t looked great throwing them. The WR screens were overused last night, but I was pleasantly surprised to see them actually working. We usually run them right into a DB. Outside of my hope for Darnold, I like Enunwa and just about no-one else. Again, how do you fix this?
The Defense - There are some pieces in place, and there's a chance we can be a good defense at some point in the not too distant future. However, as currently constructed, the defense looks great until you actually need them. You can't expect miracles, because they are put in a terrible spot when the offense simply can't move the ball or get points. But, do they ever get pressure in a big spot? Do they ever generate turnovers when you really need them? Adams plays well at the LOS and was looking to have a career game, but once the Browns started airing it out, you forgot he was on the field. Lee is improved, but still a ways to go, and as mentioned before, Williams is "fine." Trumaine Johnson won't be worth his contract, and will be gone well before we're good, but the investment was fine because we had the money. My biggest concern is that the defense isn't there yet, and you still need a guy who can generate pass-rush on his own. This should be fixable, but any resources we invest on the defensive side of the ball is a resource we could have/should have invested in the anemic offense.
The Game - This morning, it feels a lot less heartbreaking than it did last night. Sure, we were up 14-0, but we had one real drive in 60 minutes. We blocked a punt and capitalized which is what you need to do, but if you’re counting on that for half your offense, you’re finished. The better team won last night, and it sucks that we got dunked on as both the Browns 1st win, and the beginning of the Bayer Mayfield Era, but this game was never as much in our control as the score indicated. Ultimately, the loss itself is a lot less impactful than a number of things it revealed/confirmed about this team. We couldn't get pressure when it mattered and we couldn't move the football at all. We just weren't good, and it didn't have the feel of an off night. The better team won.
The Penalties - Meh. Whatever. Bad teams take bad penalties.
Baker Mayfield - Much will be overhyped about tonight, and understandably so, but he looked the part of a #1 overall pick. He made some mistakes which will be downplayed, but the guy could be a player.
The Browns - This is a team on the rise. They’ve been way down, but for the last two years, we’ve been told, at least we’re not the Browns, but who wouldn’t trade their roster for ours today? They came to life with Mayfield and even if we’d held them off, Browns fans would have had more to be excited about than us. They hung tight with the Steelers and Saints, and while this probably isn't their year, you can see where there's an opportunity, if Mayfield is even solid, to take over the division.
Kahlil Mack - Last two weeks are why you don't trade for him. Imagine having lost all your resources to fix the mess that is this offense. We may have actually won the game were he on the roster, but compared to the bigger issues, that would have been largely meaningless.
Next Week - Anyone have a reason why we can keep this game close? Maybe Bortles has a Stafford-like meltdown?
JetNation - The game thread last night became a disaster. Guys, it's a game and it's a discussion forum. Getting angry at each other is one thing, but telling people to go **** themselves and to kill themselves and the other meltdowns - get some priorities. This is a hobby. It doesn't matter. I imagine most of us went to work today, and would have done the same had the Jets won. Perspective... Seriously.
Summation - My biggest concern, as alluded to above, is that I just don't know how you fix all of this. We'll look better than we did last night at times this season, and we already have, but the problems are pervasive, and if done perfectly, probably take 2-3 drafts to fix. I guess you start with the offensive line, probably in FA and the draft. That will hopefully stabilize a lot. The team feels far away from Monday night, and further away from being a contender. Jacksonville next week... Oh boy.
If your still reading this, thanks for wasting your time with my nonsense.