I woke up today not upset or surprised about what transpired on Thursday Night Football -- I think we all came to terms pretty quickly with the facts that the Ravens are awesome this year, the Jets are dreadful, and the Ravens would deliver the Jets yet another primetime spanking in their house. In fact, I thought the 53 players who dressed yesterday played very hard, which (very sadly), is the best we can hope for these days. I did wake up, however, enveloped by the sinking sense that despite the never ending free-fall of the past 10 years, we have not yet hit rock bottom. No, that will occur in the 2020's. Let me preface this by saying it is not a "SOJF" post, SAR, so you can carry on with selling your tickets for next week to Joe Bob from Western PA. Rather, there are a few very concrete reasons why the State of the Jets on December 13, 2019 is more hopeless than it was before the Jets drafted their beacon of hope on April 26, 2018.
Sam Darnold - Now 9-15 as a starting QB, Darnold has thrown 34 touchdowns vs. 27 INTs, and lost 4 more fumbles. Seemingly every week, he does something that makes your jaw drop in awe, and something else that makes you recoil in terror. I still believe in Darnold, who is only 23, has a tremendous arm, processes extremely quickly, and might have a more impressive temperament than anyone in the league. I still think he'll be good. I think the "excuses" many make for him regarding our bottom-5 offensive line and below average skill position crew are perfectly valid. I also think the cynics have every reason to question whether the kid who turned the ball over a lot at USC will ever grow out of being the guy who turns the ball over a lot in the NFL, whether his footwork can be salvaged from years of playing behind leaky offensive lines, or whether his decision making will ever improve when his boss's decision making is incomprehensible.
The Rest of the Roster - The biggest indictment on the Jets is that, aside from Darnold, they have made no significant upgrades or long-term investments at the most important positions on the roster. It's been discussed here and elsewhere ad nauseum. Offensive line, edge rusher, cornerback, WR1. Nothing. Nada. For YEARS. They have instead wasted their time and capital building their defense into a unit that could compete with the running attack of the Providence Steam Roller in the 1930's. Not very useful today, guys! The cupboard is so bare that I am rooting for the Jets to trade what are probably their two best players, Bell and Adams, to re-coup a few extra draft picks so that Joe Douglas -- himself an unknown quantity -- can have a legitimate chance at re-building this mess. (Speaking of Joe Douglas, we all better hope his first Free Agency goes a little bit better than Ryan Kalil) In a league where turnarounds are usually swift, the Jets' roster is probably 2 years away (which we seem to say every single December) from being remotely competitive. You know what else happens in 2 years? Sam Darnold will be an unrestricted free agent. Depressing.
Adam Gase - I am not a Hire Planes to Get People Fired guy. I think the NYSF guy is a complete clown. But the body of evidence against Adam Gase as a head coach in the NFL is staggering. He is now 28-35 as a Head Coach and his teams seem to lose by 2 touchdowns every single week. Everything we feared about Gase last January has been proven right. He's a megalomaniac who treats his injured players like sh*t. He can't figure out a way to properly utilize the best offensive weapon he's had since his time in Denver. His second half offensive gameplans get eviscerated every single week. It's almost as if we should not have already committed ANOTHER year of employ to this unimpressive white dude with the seemingly endless record of failing upward...
The Johnsons - ...which leads us to the Johnson boys. Lord only knows when Brother Woody will return from his eurotrip as Comrade President's ambassador to the UK. Do we even want him back? (Elections have consequences, folks!) When Woody was appointed ambassador, I was among the many of us ecstatic about the notion that maybe Brother Chris would run things differently. Aside from being a little less socially inept, Brother Chris does not run things differently. The Johnsons are the common thread presiding over the worst stretch in Jets history. Worse than the 70's. Worse than Kotite. Woody Johnson is not a smart dude. It took him 5 years to earn a history degree from Arizona State. He is a dumb guy who was born rich, and who bought the Jets to be his toy. The Jets are not a vocation to the Johnsons like the Steelers are to the Rooneys or the Giants to the Maras. The Jets are dumb Woody's money making toy. They are so profitable, and Woody has so little interest in what goes on on the field, that there is no real incentive to change anything (least of all, their dumbass reporting structure).
In summary, Darnold may be the answer at QB, and he may not. But given the state of the roster, the further teardown that is required to fix it, and the utter incompetence of the people tasked with putting it back together, we might never actually get to find out! That, my friends, is ******* depressing.