By Jordan Kendall, Assistant Sports Editor
As Halloween is a few days away, its that time of the year to think spooky and scary thoughts. Unfortunately for New York Jets fans, these thoughts last long after Oct. 31. In the spirit of the holiday, quarterback Sam Darnold said he saw ghosts during the game vs the New England Patriots. Whether he thought a linebacker was rushing left and went right, or he saw actual ghosts remains a mystery. But even ghosts are the least of the nightmares for New York.
The offense continues to crash
So far Darnold has missed three games due to injury, but the Jets aren’t doing much no matter who is under center. New York is last in total yards and average yards per game and has just over 1,000 passing yards through seven games. Every other team has at least 1,150 passing yards so far, looking at the stats are more terrifying than a werewolf. The run game isn’t much better and is currently second-worst in the NFL.
The Jets signed running back Le’Veon Bell in the offseason, despite being arguably the best back a few years ago it appears he left his abilities in Pittsburgh. He has rushed for 349 yards and one touchdown through seven games. Bell made headlines for sitting out last season for a contract extension, it’s starting to look like he made the wrong decision. He had arguably the best offensive line in the NFL along with wide receivers Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster to take the pressure off him. I can’t remember a player of Bell’s caliber who signed with the Jets and had success.
Arguably the most terrifying aspect of New York is the offensive line. Football Outsiders ranks their offensive line as the 30th best pass blockers and 31st best run blockers through week seven. They have given up the most sacks and are among the worst at preventing quarterback hits. Somehow, the Jets defeated the Dallas Cowboys 24-22, but I have doubts on whether they can win another game.
The defense is the treat to the offense’s trick
If the offense is the person who gives out toothpaste to trick or treaters, the defense is the one who gives full-size candy bars. New York has a top ten run defense allowing under 100 yards per game. So far, only Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for over 100 yards against the Jets. This is a positive sign for a defense that can only get better and will be intriguing to watch going forward.
The pass defense isn’t as strong, but also isn’t horrible. New York has an average pass defense, sitting at 14th in the leagues. They have some pieces that should continue developing and will help their defense for the next decade. Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and safety Jamal Adams are cornerstone pieces that should quickly improve the unit. Despite losing 31-6 to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Jets prevented quarterback Carson Wentz from throwing for 200 yards. New York is 1-6, but it doesn’t appear to be the defense’s fault.
Trick or treat?
It’s clear New York needs some more time before they will be competitive. They need to address the offensive line and give Darnold a receiver who can change the game. Right now, the Buffalo Bills are the second-best team in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots. Between the Jets and Miami Dolphins, it’s a battle for potentially the first pick in next year’s draft. While the current team looks like a trick, their schedule looks more like a treat.
Their remaining schedule only has two likely playoff teams in the Bills and Baltimore Ravens. They have opponents such as the Dolphins twice, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and Washington Redskins. I think they can beat any of these opponents and pick up a few wins before the end of the season. Jets fans should not feel scared of their future, eventually, they will figure it out. They have enough pieces that can help them rebuild, and if they execute in the draft and free agency they could be contending sooner rather than later.