Chan Gailey has coached football since the Ford Administration, so he’s smart enough to know that there are no miracle cures to common problems. The boring answer is the only answer for a lifeless Jets offense languishing in the league cellar through six weeks.
Nobody wants to hear that the Jets’ need to execute better. That seems obvious, but what else can you say about a stagnant unit that suddenly lost its mojo after a Week 2 explosion that had some folks calling these guys the Greatest Show on FieldTurf? (Full disclosure: I’m “some folks”).
“It’s just not all fitting together,” Gailey said in the run-up to Sunday’s game against the Ravens. “We’ve got one little thing here, one little thing there, but those little things tend to add up. It’s just not clicking yet and we just got to keep getting everybody on the same page. That goes back to me making sure everybody gets on the same page.”
There’s only so much that the 64-year-old play caller can do to help mend these fractures. The quarterback change from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Geno grabbed the headlines this week, but it’s hardly a panacea. There’s a litany of issues for an offense that set franchise records last season.
It’s not just Geno Smith’s inconsistency that should worry Jets fans now that he’s starting again, it is that Gang Green offense, as OC Chan Gailey (below) admits, is missing mark in many areas.
Gailey has seen it all in his five decades in the game. He fully realizes that swapping out signal callers doesn’t guarantee anything.
“We’ve got to do better in run blocking and running and pass protection and catching and throwing,” Gailey said.
So, basically everything.
“If it was one area, you could fix one area, but unfortunately, we’ve got too many areas that are not executing in the way that I think (we are) capable,” Gailey said. “It’s my responsibility to get (them) to go out there and execute better. That’s where we are right now. It’s not one thing. We’re not doing the things that we need to do that we did last year that we’re capable of in my opinion.”
Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey
Eric Decker’s season-ending shoulder/hip injuries were a backbreaker for a team that rode the 1-2 pass-catching duo of Brandon Marshall and Decker to 10 wins last season. Smith’s strong arm theoretically should open up the offense and stretch the field to make a player such as rookie Robby Anderson more useful.
Smith, however, was one of the league’s worst down-field passers when last we saw him with the starting gig in 2014. He mitigated his arm strength with poor decision-making time and time again. In pick-up hoops parlance, Smith was a self-check. He was a defensive coordinator’s best friend.
Has the past year and half made him a better or worse version of his previously erratic self?
“I think he’s learned a lot more football,” Gailey said. “I think he understands a lot more of what’s happening in the game in general… what defenses are trying to do, how we need to try and beat them, (and) what we’re thinking. I do think he’s come a long way in that respect. I think he’s a lot better.”
“There’s no substitute for playing,” Gailey added. “At the same time, I think he’s gained a great measure in the last couple of years evaluating every day, rather than go do it.”
Smith will have to produce to not only help his current team break out of its month-long funk, but also attract interest from other teams in free agency after the season. He has no future with this organization that views him as nothing more than a solid backup. He’ll return to the bench at some point to give way to Bryce Petty, who’ll be evaluated before the Jets chart an off-season course of action at quarterback.
Gailey obviously couldn’t care less about any of that. He’s just trying to win more games. His unit has been a statistical mess, ranking 21st in pass and run offense, 26th in total yards and dead last in scoring (15.8 ppg).
The Jets have scored just two touchdowns (one was a fluke) in the past four games, including none in their last 16 drives. They’ve converted on only 2 of their last 10 trips to the red-zone. They’ve been outscored 51-7 in the second half during their four-game losing streak. They have converted an unfathomable four of their last 24 third downs in the past two weeks.
They have scored just 36 points in the four games since their 37-point eruption against the Bills.
Can Smith, a turnover machine in his two years as a starter, actually be a part of the solution?
“I’m not concerned about anything because he doesn’t have that history with me,” Gailey said. “He doesn’t have that history. I don’t worry about history. I worry about what’s going to happen Sunday afternoon.”
He’s not alone.
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JETS VS. RAVENS, METLIFE STADIUM, 1 PM
LINE: JETS BY 2; O/U: 40 1/2
TV: Ch. 2 (Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon)
RADIO: ESPN 98.7 FM (Bob Wischusen and Marty Lyons); in Spanish on WEPN 1050 AM (Clemson Smith-Muniz, Oscar Benitez)
FORECAST: Sunny and breezy. High 62°, Low 47°; Winds from West from 14-22 mph.
JETS HOT READ: DL Steve McLendon
No one in the Jets’ locker room was happy after the loss to the Cardinals on Monday night. But defensive lineman Steve McLendon was particularly upset with the way the Gang Green front defended the run.
To that point in the season, the Jets’ rushing defense had been just about the only consistently good thing for the team. In Arizona, the Jets surrendered 171 yards, 111 of which came from standout running back David Johnson. McLendon called the performance “just straight embarrassing.”
It dropped the Jets from the No. 1 to No. 6 in rushing yards allowed per game. So expect McLendon to have a bounce-back game in the middle of the Jets’ defensive line against a Ravens rushing attack that’s been middle-of-the-pack this season.
But it won’t be an easy task. Baltimore starter Terrance West has over 300 yards from scrimmage and three rushing touchdowns in his past three games.
TRAINING ROOM: LB Darron Lee (ankle), OL Brent Qvale (neck), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) and TE Braedon Bowman (knee) are OUT. LT Ryan Clady (shoulder), C Nick Mangold (knee) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) are QUESTIONABLE.
RAVENS HOT READ: QB Ryan Mallett
All signs point to Joe Flacco playing Sunday despite a right shoulder injury he suffered in last weekend’s loss to the Giants. Flacco didn’t notify the team about the ailment until Monday, after which he underwent an MRI. Flacco sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but he returned Friday and participated fully in the walkthrough-tempo session. In the unlikely case Flacco can’t go, the Jets will be facing backup Ryan Mallett. And considering Gang Green’s struggles in the secondary, that would be a bonus. The Jets are allowing a 114.7 rating to opposing QBs through six weeks, which is the second highest in the league. Mallet has started eight games in his NFL career. He’s completed 55% of his passes, compiled 1,753 yards and thrown seven touchdowns to nine interceptions. In search of a win to end a four-game losing streak, Todd Bowles and the Jets’ staff will be hoping for Mallett on Sunday in East Rutherford.
TRAINING ROOM: LB Elvis Dumervil (foot) and LB C.J. Mosley (thigh) are OUT. S Kendrick Lewis (thigh), WR Steve Smith (ankle), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), CB Shareece Wright (thigh) and OG Marshal Yanda (shoulder) are DOUBTFUL. WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), QB Joe Flacco (right shoulder), WR Devin Hester (thigh), CB Jarraud Powers (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (concussion) and OT Ronnie Staley (foot) are QUESTIONABLE.
With Daniel Popper
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News