I have watched the Jets intently all season covering them for both ESPN and The New York Extra with special focus on Sam Darnold who was supposed to benedfit greatly from Adam Gase but I must say not only has Darnold not improved–he has regressed and that could make off-season decisions very difficult.
It is more than likely that the Jets will get the top pick in the NFL draft and should their record sit at 0-16 which could very well happen-Jet fans will demand a plethora of changes and rightfully so.
If the team indeed has that first pick it will need to decide do they want to start from Square 1 and draft Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence or should they use that pick to help re-tool their roster They will earn that top pick if they keep losing and I saw nothing today to indicate they will put one in the win column especially considering the remaining 5 Jet games are with teams who have a 500 or better record aside from the Patriots who NEVER lose to the Jets.
Even should they not get the first pick (which is highly unlikely) they could focus on another passer– Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. They could also consider trading the pick with a team like Jacksonville who may give up a bundle of picks to vault into that top pick allowing them to draft the quarterback of their choice.
It is not an easy decision as it all depends on how they feel about Darnold and should they opt for a new signal caller what they can get for their starting quarterback in the open market by trading Darnold.
But this is imperative–they can’t make the same mistakes with Lawrence that they did with Darnold. They must supply him with the talent they never gave their current quarterback and must also provide him with a coach whose leadership will make the most out of Lawrence.
Darnold threw 2 interceptions yesterday and both of them illustrated the lack of coaching he has received from Gase. He tried to force a throw where he should have looked at other options out there and I have seen that too many times this season.
And add this to the mix-Lawrence is looking at this very closely and if he thinks the Jets are being run like The Titanic he may opt to stay another season at Clemson or even demand the Jets deal the pick refusing to sign with The Green & White.
A different head coach could help but people from outside looking in view the Jets like a train wreck that does not develop young players well at all and beyond that often stalls their progress to the point they regress so much they land out of football at a young age,
I think Darnold has skills but those skills have eroded some because there was no game plan for him to develop those talents. For example, he can be mobile but the team never developed plays to move him outside the pocket to take advantage of that mobility. His throwing style also need an effective tight end which will give him another option while at the same time could loosen up the vertical passing game Darnold used so much at USC.
Bringing in a new quarterback with this same plan will make Jet fans think they are in Ground Hog Day. So what would I do?
Simply put I would keep Darnold but use that top pick to extract first and second round picks to help develop this Swiss Cheese Like offensive line and use your salary cap to bring in players who can move the ball down field while ushering in pass rushers on defense that could give Darnold better field position starting his drives.
And you simply can not swing and miss of ANY of these early round picks and that means do not simply go to combine and crunch numbers–sit with these young collegians to get to know what is in their hearts and souls. Simply snapping your fingers and drafting Trevor Lawrence will not solve your problems–it might exacerbate them.
That is no knock on Lawrence whom I think will be a solid NFL QB but he’s not a Peyton Manning or an Andrew Luck but even if he was he needs a supporting cast and accumulating draft picks to fill the roster is a much better plan than just dumping Darnold and bringing a new QB without any help.
The Jets can win with Darnold but he needs help and you get that by obtaining draft picks not by hoping and praying Lawrence will be the saviors. Saviors do not exist in football as this sport is about accumulating a core of players paying special attention to your offensive line that needs a plethora of additions,
And bringing in a coach who communicates well not giving the media the same nonsense every week. One that can enter the Jet clubhouse and get total buy in to their philosophies on winning.
And that is assuming you have the right general manager in place. And I am not sure that candidate has entered the building as of yet.