For the New York Jets 2020 has been an awful season with an 0-7 record but Head Coach Adam Gase has some interesting pieces and he must use the second half of his season to carve out a game plan with some players that I honestly believe can be a big part of the future of this team. It is bad enough that the Jets are still the only winless team in the NFL but to not carve out a long term offensive plan could make this season even worse.
First let me start out with Sam Darnold. I see both quarterback and leadership skills in him but this coach was supposed to be a quarterback guru and I just do not see that. Darnold has some mobility and it must be used better because with this offensive line in a putrid state it is a way of providing options to give him more time to throw. It is so hard to evaluate him because he has not been armed with a good cast of players but yesterday I saw in person there is some help on the horizon.
La’Michal Perine has some real skills at the running back position and we saw some of that yesterday. He follows his blockers well and has the ability to change the course of his running based on the holes he sees as he approaches the line of scrimmage. He also has some real outside speed as we saw in his touchdown run. Whether he could be a primary running back remains to be seen but he can at the very least be a great back in tandem with a premier running partner. I’d like to see his pass catching ability a bit more but so far I really like what I see.
At wide receiver I am very impressed with Denzel Mims who runs great routes and has the size to beat smaller defensive backs to the ball. He is not afraid to go over the middle and knows how to use the sideline when needed. I watched him in tons of games in college and he made Baylor’s offense a juggernaut not only catching passes in traffic but getting a plethora of yardage after initial contact. Catching 4 passes for 42 yards in his debut is nothing to go crazy about but his body language on the field coupled with his ability to get open made me feel he could one day be a #1 receiver.
At tight end, I think the Jets are missing the boat on Chris Herndon who I believe has real great skills at the position and they tend to forget about him in their offensive game plan. I know his stats have not been great but I see him open consistently while Darnold opts to throw to more covered receivers. He may not be the answer to the position but Gase must find that out in the second half of the season by developing plays suited to his skills.
The future is cloudy for the Jets as even though they are accumulating additional draft picks I worry about who is making those picks. The Jets have had horrible recent history in the draft and that is evidenced by not only how many early round picks are not on the Jets–some are even out of football and that is very problematic.
The team simply must find out who they have on this roster that can long term help this offense grow. And one of the advantages of having a poor record is you can take risks and gambles with these players to really see what they can do.
Whether or not the current coaches are in place or even the current General Manager is making picks the organization must make these evaluations in the next 2 months. And that includes the quarterback as if you have that first pick you may have to make the decision whether cutting bait with Darnold is the right move.
And if you do not make these determinations, it could make this brutal season even worse than the final win-loss record. And that evaluation process must begin in earnest this week as the team travels to Kansas City to play the Super Bowl Champions.