Week 2 of the preseason provided a glimpse into just how awful this New York Jets offense can be. Here’s the ESNY Film Room breaking it down.
Upon the conclusion of Preseason Week 2, two extremely contrasting issues were made evident as it pertained to the 2017 New York Jets.
The first, probably still surprising for many, is that this defense is for real.
With young Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye combining as one of the league’s most dangerous safety tandems, a speedier defense overall with Darron Lee and Demario Davis in the middle, and Sheldon Richardson no longer playing out of position, Todd Bowles‘s unit is easily among the top 10 in the National Football League — quite possibly, top five.
There’s just one little problem.
This defense is going to be dead tired by the time the start of the fourth quarter rolls around every Sunday, which brings us to the second evident conclusion surrounding this squad.
The offense may just compete with the worst in football history. Seriously.
Off the top of your head, you may not be able to think of the worst point-scoring units of all-time, but they’re there. In 1992, the Seattle Seahawks gained just 3,374 total offensive yards. This gives them the unenviable position of owning the least yards gained over a 16 game season. In 1933, the Cincinnati Reds gained a remarkably low 1,150 yards over the entire season. This will never be broken (as owners would never allow the schedule to slip anywhere under 16).
In 2016, the Jets ranked 26th in the league in total offense with 5,267 yards from scrimmage. The league low, coming from the L.A. Rams, was 4,203. So, as you can see, thanks to the nature of the rules and offensive football ruling the roost these days, Seattle’s record in ’92 will remain safe.
That still doesn’t mean this Jets offense can’t secure one pathetic place in our hearts.
Young Christian Hackenberg received his first ever NFL start in Detroit this past weekend. Unfortunately, Brandon Shell and the offensive line didn’t bring the same urgency the Penn State product probably felt while walking through the tunnel.
On the third play of the game, all onlookers were forced to take a major gasp as Hack was obliterated:
Had that been the only goof of the night, a different narrative would be spoken about this very moment.
It wasn’t. The line was so poor, so unbelievably horrid that any progress or backstep Hack may have taken, was completely nullified.
Over the entire first half of play, Hack attempted six passes. Did you hear that correctly and fully allow it to sink in? Six freaking pass attempts. Under normal circumstances, that’s a solid drive. He completed just two of those six for a humdinger of a total: 14 yards.
The offensive line didn’t allow anything to materialize. It got to such a maddening point that offensive coordinator John Morton was forced to call plays based on preserving the well-being of his young QB rather than looking to gain actual yardage.
We already know what transpired on the first drive (from the horrifying footage above). The first two plays featured Bilal Powell running attempts that went nowhere. The 3rd-and-long almost ended young Christian’s career.
On the second drive, the Jets pulled off their only successful 1st-down play of the first half. Powell ran for five off the left side on a zone play. Second down featured a Hack overthrow as he properly read a 1-deep defense. Third down was a forced slant on his first read with Detroit crowding the first-down marker. He was lucky the ball wasn’t intercepted.
On 1st-and-10, he gets destroyed on an inside move by an interior player which set the Jets offense back immediately.
Again, the line provided no help whatsoever. In fact, it set back the offense even against the simplest of 4-man rushes. And no “communication” excuses could be used on the first-down sack as Winters was simply beaten.
The fourth drive brought much of the same misery. On first down, the best lineman of the group, James Carpenter, is called for illegal hands to the face. From there, Morton and Hack are just looking to survive rather than attack. Add on another Winters gaffe, a holding call on a screen and another 3-and-out goes down in the books.
Granted, only four possessions and one preseason half can never reveal the true story. But what we’ve seen thus far from this starting O-line is something quite alarming.
If this O-line doesn’t magically pick it up, none of those other factors make one ounce of difference.
Through two preseason games and about three and change quarters of first-team action, the label of “worst offense in history” can be bandied about. Right now, it’s tough to not call this unit a lock for “worst offense in 2017.”