The New York Jets suffered their first defeat in 2017 when they fell to the Bills 21-12 on Sunday. The results of the defeat have been felt around Florham Park.
One of the issues the New York Jets faced on Sunday was their offense. Going into Week 1 many expected the New York Jets to do exactly what they did – nothing. However, for a team that is preaching the magnificence of their new offensive coordinator John Morton, the predictability of their game was expected to be different.
Watching the offense perform against Buffalo was like watching them attack a preseason defense with Christian Hackenberg. Every play was predictable. The wide receivers routes were short and non threatening to the defensive backs and linebackers that covered them.
It’s understandable that under Hackenberg the New York Jets offense would be adjusted to help in his comfort level. However, even that can be argued against since we are talking about a second round draft pick that shouldn’t need simpler reads to play in the NFL in his second season.
When an offense is as predictable as the New York Jets was on Sunday and when their receivers are running very short routes, it opens up the defense to attack without any fear of consequence. The receivers become targets and become susceptible to injury.
Their running game was totally non-existent. Most would point to Matt Forte and Bilal Powell as the strengths of the Jets offense. However, when the defense has very little to fear as far as stretching the field, even the 1992 Dallas Cowboys offense line couldn’t open up lanes to run through.
After the Bills stretched their lead to 14-6, Morton opened up the play calling and McCown responded. Prior to that drive, McCown averaged just 4.9 yards per attempt.
Taking over at their 25-yard line, McCown connected on five passes to move the Jets inside the Bills 10-yard line. The Bills defenders were unable to adjust to more aggressive routes that saw McCown average 11.6 yards per attempt. After moving the ball to the 1-yard line, Todd Bowles gambled on fourth down and was rewarded when McCown pushed his way into the end zone to cut the Bills lead to 14-12. However, that was the only drive we saw the new, exciting, unpredictable offense that was promised Morton replaced former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.
When you have an offense that doesn’t stretch the field, the opponents defense loads up the box with eight players. That immediately takes away an offenses ability to run the ball. It also creates difficulty for receivers to work in space, thus making them easy targets.
If the Jets are going to be a lifeless, boring, predictable offense with their play calling, then they might as well just play Hackenberg, because doing so with an established veteran makes little sense. Is the idea that the Jets are just hoping to avoid mistakes and rely on their defense? If that’s the case then they need to adjust things with the way their defense was pushed around against Buffalo.
Most understand that the idea of this season doesn’t exactly depend on wins and losses. However, it does depend on pushing their rookies and players they intend to build around to perform. If they can’t make plays, then they know they need to be replaced. The development of draft picks is essential if this team wants to build a winner the “right” way.
On Sunday the Jets travel to Oakland and take on a very explosive Raiders offense led by MVP candidate Derek Carr. If they don’t open up their passing game and take a few risks, it’s going to be another long day.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.