7:17 PM ET
Rich CiminiESPN Staff Writer
- Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
- Syracuse University graduate
After yet another sorry performance, the kind of no-show effort that gets coaches fired, the New York Jets stand alone as the NFL’s only winless team. At 0-6, they’re the leader in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes — the only reason for hope.
On Sunday, the Jets were so lifeless and inept in a 24-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins that they appeared to be “Tanking for Trevor.” Tanking for coach Adam Gase probably was more like it.
Still reeling from the Le’Veon Bell ouster, the Jets’ offense stunk up in every way imaginable, failing to convert a single third down for the first 50 minutes. Bell wouldn’t have made a difference, but the decision to release him left a sour taste with some players. And they played like it, as if sending a message to ownership.
Gase’s firing is inevitable; it’s just a matter of when. At this point, with the season lost and the embarrassments mounting on a weekly basis, it wouldn’t be a shock if CEO Christopher Johnson pulls the plug now.
Not only are they bad, but they’re dysfunctional, with Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams apparently at odds over Williams’ cryptic comments about the offense from last Friday. The CBS cameras caught them exchanging words before the game, a bad look for the organization.
The Jets dropped to 7-15 under Gase, with seven of the losses by at least 20 points. This was their first shutout loss to the Dolphins since the 1982 AFC Championship Game, the Mud Bowl.
Week after week, the Jets showed up unprepared, mentally and physically. They’ve been outscored in the first half, 114-29 — utterly astounding.
Lawrence, the Clemson quarterback, is regarded as a once-in-a-generation prospect. He’d need to be an absolute savior to help this team, which is once-in-a-generation bad.
Somewhere in Kansas City, Bell is smiling — and still collecting his Jets’ paychecks.
QB breakdown: The Jets need Sam Darnold to get back in the lineup — quickly. Joe Flacco’s second start was worse than his first, as he threw an interception and presided over an offense that converted only two of 17 third-down attempts. Think about that for a second. The Jets had almost as many punts (10) as first downs (13), a special kind of awful. Flacco (21-for-44, 186 yards) missed open receivers, looked tentative and slow, like he didn’t want to be there. Who could blame him?
As for Darnold (sprained shoulder), the Jets are hopeful he can play next week, although that’s hardly a guarantee. He has started throwing, albeit with a wiffle football.
Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like he’s going to be sacked, but he avoids it by finding Adam Shaheen with his left hand.
Troubling trend: The defense actually played a decent game, recording two takeaways and two sacks. They played hard despite bad field position throughout the day. It wasn’t perfect — they got torched early in the game, as usual, and committed too many dumb penalties — but it was respectable. The problem was that Williams opened his mouth last week with divisive comments that could split the team. He wasn’t incorrect, suggesting the offensive isn’t pulling its weight, but it was the wrong thing to say at the wrong time. You have to wonder if the Gase-Williams partnership can continue.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Gase relied too much on running back Frank Gore. Why run a 37-year-old in a lost season? The plan was to use rookie La’Mical Perine, who was supposed to get the bulk of the carries. It didn’t work out like that, as Perine ran seven times to Gore’s 11. It made no sense. Ty Johnson made his Jets debut and broke a 34-yard gain, the longest by a Jets running back this season — a flickering bright spot.
Bold prediction: The Jets face the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots in the next three weeks. They will be 0-9. Forget about winning — will they score?