HOUSTON – The Jets beat the Texans on Sunday 21-14 to notch their third victory of the season. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:
1. Zach Wilson wasfrom his knee injury. The Jets kept selling that Wilson could learn by watching the other quarterbacks and play a smarter brand of football when he returned. Wilson did not make that many terrible decisions, other than deciding to and getting it intercepted. But he looked rushed early in the game. His passes sailed over receivers’ heads or went wide of where they were.
The Jets have six games left to get a long look at Wilson and figure out what he needs to work on this offseason. These six games won’t determine Wilson’s future with the team; they are not going to give up on the No. 2 pick after one season. But it would ease everyone’s minds around the Jets if Wilson showed some progress down the stretch.
What does that progress look like?
To me, you need to see a few things from Wilson. First, he needs to start games off better. It has been a theme all season with Wilson not playing well early. His first-half stat line this season: 0 touchdowns, 7 interceptions. The Jets coaching staff must figure out a way to calm Wilson down earlier in games.
Next, I think Wilson needs to have at least one game where he dominates. I’m not saying six touchdowns or anything crazy, but there needs to be one game where you walk away feeling like Wilson is a franchise quarterback. His best game this seasonand while he made some nice throws in that game, I would not say he dominated. You’d like to see one game where the Jets win because of Wilson’s right arm.
After Sunday’s win, Robert Saleh said Wilson managed the game well. The Jets need Wilson to do more than manage the game. They need him to take a game over. There is a fine line, of course, between that and trying to do too much, and that is something the Jets need to guard against.
Wilson’s final six games are not going to give the answer to what he will or won’t be, but they can send the Jets and their fans into the offseason feeling a whole lot better about Wilson if he plays well.
2.when the offense looked terrible earlier this season, but I was really impressed with him on Sunday. The Jets did not put up crazy offensive numbers. They struggled with Wilson back under center. But LaFleur showed great feel and called a really smart game starting in the second quarter. With Wilson scuffling, LaFleur worked to get Wilson some easy completions on the team’s first touchdown drive. He called a short pass to Jamison Crowder and then a push pass behind the line of scrimmage to Elijah Moore. He called screens and ran the ball to help Wilson move down the field.
Then, in the second half, Wilson dialed up a few intermediate throws to Moore, to whom LaFleur wisely found ways to get the ball. He also leaned on the running game and the Jets drove down the field again.
LaFleur showed creativity on the two-point conversion play with Josh Johnson and on the jet sweep to Moore on fourth-and-1. LaFleur is coming into his own as a play-caller. That was evident even on a day when the Jets offense was not putting up prolific numbers.
3. A few weeks ago we were talking about how historically bad the Jets defense was. Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich have stabilized the situation against a few weaker offenses. That is exactly what they needed to do. The Jets were not going to become the ’85 Bears this season. They could not change out the roster. But Saleh and Ulbrich made a few personnel changes (Quincy Williams at linebacker, Elijah Riley at safety) and have shown a willingness to adjust their scheme a bit to help the defense improve.
On Sunday, the Jets only gave up two plays of 25 yards or more. That is a massive improvement from where they were during the four-game stretch when they allowed 175 points. After Tyrod Taylor’s 40-yard touchdown pass, the Jets shut the Texans down. Houston had just 45 yards in the second half and did not score.
It has helped playing the Dolphins and Texans, but the Jets’ coaches and players also deserve credit for stopping the bleeding on defense.
4. We’ve hit the point of the schedule where you wonder if it is better for the Jets to win or lose. Sunday’s win moved the Jets down in the draft order. Would they be better off losing to get a better pick? I always think back to 2018 when the Jets beat the Bills in December. The win cost the Jets the No. 1 pick, who would have been defensive star Nick Bosa for the Jets.
I fall into the category that wins are never a bad thing. The Jets are a young team and could use some confidence. Drafts usually have good players sprinkled throughout the first round. The Jets should be able to find a good player whether they are drafting No. 4 or No. 14.
In the four games started by Mike White and Joe Flacco, the Jets averaged 435.8 yards and 24.5 points per game. In Zach Wilson’s seven starts, the Jets have averaged 271.4 yards and 14.4 points per game.
Surprising snap count
Javelin Guidry made his first start of the season and played all 57 defensive snaps. Guidry replaced Brandin Echols two weeks ago when Echols was injured, but Isaiah Dunn started at cornerback against the Dolphins. It looks like that was just a matchup move and Guidry is now the starting corner.
John Franklin-Myers bounced back from his costly roughing the passer penalty against the Dolphins to have a. Franklin-Myers had two sacks and an interception in a homecoming game in front of 50 friends and family members.
#Jets #waiting #Zach #Wilson #progress #big #win