The Jets must own up to a failed process

Vincent avis | 11/5/2020, midnight
With eight losses behind them, it’s evident the 0-8 New York Jets team just are not a competitive team.
Sam Darnold Bill Moore photo

With eight losses behind them, it’s evident the 0-8 New York Jets team just are not a competitive team. What’s more problematic, they don’t seem to have a feasible strategy or process, a phrase (The Process) that the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers have made a common term in sports to refer to a rebuilding plan.

There have been brief moments of positive play for the Jets, but not enough to win a game. Whether they’ve faced some of the NFL’s best teams or rising programs, the outcomes have been the same. Last Sunday’s matchup against the 7-1 Kansas City Chiefs, leaders of the AFC West division, was more like a scrimmage than an actual game for the reigning Super Bowl champion.

The 35-9 loss wasn’t the Jets’ worse this season, but it was their fifth defeat scoring 10 points or less, and their fifth game allowing their opponents 30 points or more.

“I’m doing this job to win, not to go out there and get my face stomped in,” said the embattled Jets head coach Adam Gase. But figuratively, that’s exactly what’s been happening to Gase and his team.

With the floundering 2-5 New England Patriots coming to MetLife Stadium on Monday night, the Jets may have their most favorable opportunity to get a win for the rest of this season.

Myriad issues, including multiple positive tests and playing without Tom Brady as their starting quarterback since 2001, have been causes of the Patriots laboring. They are on a four-game losing streak, the franchise’s longest in 18 years.

Last week, their longtime head coach, Bill Belichick, said the organization “sold out” in awarding large contracts to key players over the past several seasons. “That’s what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC championship game,” said Belichick in an interview with WEEI radio station in Boston.

“This year we have less to work with. It’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact.” The AFC East division is now led by the Buffalo Bills at 6-and-2 with the 4-3 Miami Dolphins in second place. Three of the Jets’ losses have come against division opponents, two to the Bills.

A major factor in the Bills returning to the playoffs last season and being the division front runner this season is their third-year QB Josh Allen. He was drafted by the Bills with the seventh pick in the first round in 2018, four picks after the Jets drafted their starting quarterback Sam Darnold.

It hasn’t worked out for the Jets the way it has for the Bills. Allen is on come up while Darnold is unlikely to be with the team beyond this season. The Jets are eyeing Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the consensus top college prospect, with the potential first overall pick in the next draft.

The pressing question that the Jets and their general manager, Joe Douglass, must answer is, what’s needed for them to contend? Do they believe that an upgrade at quarterback is a must? Or would they consider trading the first pick and turning it into more picks given the many holes they have to fill on both sides of the ball.

The Jets are well on their way to getting the top pick as they are currently the only winless team in the league. It is a near certainty they would grab up the 6-6, 220 pound, 21-year-old junior. Lawrence, a leading candidate to win the Heisman Trophy, is currently sidelined due to testing positive for COVID.

He won’t play this Saturday when Clemson, ranked No. 1 in college football, takes on No. 4 Notre Dame on the road. “He’s doing great. He’s in the meetings [via Zoom] and all that stuff. He’s just anxious to get out.” And the Jets are anxious to start all over with him as their franchise QB.