New York Jets center Ryan Kalil told reporters that the offensive line issues are about execution, not scheme or talent.
The New York Jets‘ season isn’t going according to plan. The offense has struggled to find a rythym, thanks to a combination of poor play and Sam Darnold‘s absence. The team hopes to have Darnold back after a merciful bye week, but he won’t solve the underlying issue with the offense.
The simple fact is that the offensive line has been shockingly bad through three weeks. The quarterbacks have been under constant duress, Le’Veon Bell has had no room to run, and the worst part is that they’re giving this up facing four-man rushes.
To their credit, the team does recognize that the offensive line play needs to be better. Ryan Kalil spoke to the media about the issues that the offense faces, and didn’t hold back, per Brian Costello of the New York Post.
“I’ve played 13 seasons. I’ve been on every kind of team you could think of, Kalil said.” The bad teams I’ve been on, some of them have been a talent issue. I don’t think that’s the case here. I think we’re not playing well together. That’s what we’ve got to do. A lot of it is technique stuff. A lot of it is being more disciplined and playing faster.”
Kalil is, in theory, correct about that. While the offensive line was never going to be a top-five unit, there’s too much talent for the line to be this bad. Kalil and Kelechi Osemele are former Pro Bowl players, while Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell are average to slightly below average tackles. However, the line has played like all five members are practice squad level players.
“It’s not a scheme problem,” Kalil admitted. “I’ll tell you that. The schemes are good. They really are. There’s criticism about being creative, but it’s tough to be creative on third-and-18. That’s on us. We said all week to beat this team you’ve got to stay ahead of the downs and we didn’t do that.”
Kalil is definitely correct about the offense being behind the eight ball on third downs. And of course, it’s even more difficult to be creative when you can’t trust your offensive line to hold up long enough for a play to develop. It’s an issue that ESNY founder Robby Sabo has addressed throughout the season.
This Jets-Pats game is a result of one team utterly dominating the trenches on both sides of the ball.
If you believe play-calling would actually make a difference in this one, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Play-calling is the least important thing here. #TakeFlight
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) September 22, 2019
Kelechi Osemele added that while individual performances have been solid at times, the line needs to hold up as a collective group. “It’s been frustrating. I think there have been guys that have been playing well individually in different games. Just all as a group, as five, have not come together and put solid games together. I think that’s the mistakes what we need to figure out.”
The team has a bye week to figure out what is wrong with the line. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long season for Darnold when he recovers from his bout with mono.