NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Gase knows exactly where it all went wrong for the New York Jets.
Offense. Defense. And special teams.
“Overall, we’ve got to put everything in hyperdrive,” the coach said Monday, “and do a better job this week and improve quickly and get ourselves ready for Indianapolis.”
Gase's squad is 0-2 following a 31-13 defeat Sunday to a San Francisco team that lost its quarterback, two running backs and two top defensive linemen during the game. Still, the Jets struggled to do much of anything against the 49ers.
They've been lousy through two games and have frustrated fans already giving up on the season. Some want the coach fired and/or the owners to sell and are worried they still might not have a franchise quarterback.
While they're all reasonable concerns from outside the building, those within the facility insist it's too early to start looking to 2021.
“I don’t think anybody’s panicking,” said right tackle George Fant, a team captain. “Everybody just wants to get better. ... I’m a big, firm believer in just kind of putting your head down and just working, and great things will come from it.”
That sounds good, sure. But no one has hinted at there being a lack of effort through two games. The coaching, however, has left lots to be desired.
That starts with Gase, who oversees the offense — a unit that ranks among the league's bottom dwellers in several categories. That was on full display against San Francisco, when New York routinely had possessions fizzle with nothing to show.
“We left too many yards out there on offense,” Gase said. “We didn't finish drives the way we needed to.”
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has a lot of work to do, too. Even with safety Jamal Adams traded to Seattle and linebacker C.J. Mosley opting out because of family health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, the defense was expected to be solid.
But New York was in a hole from the start when Raheem Mostert ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run on the 49ers' first play from scrimmage. Even worse was when San Francisco had a third-and-31 deep in its own territory early in the third quarter and Jerick McKinnon somehow got loose for a 55-yard gain.
“Defensively, the one thing we talked about was making sure we didn't give up explosive plays in the run game,” Gase lamented. “We didn't do that.”
He said the special teams unit has “some things to clean up,” but at least Sam Ficken is 3 for 3 on his field goal attempts. Rookie punter Braden Mann has been solid, too, but he has already punted 11 times — second most in the league behind Washington's Tress Way.
And that goes right back to the ineptitude of the offense.
“We know what guys we have in the locker room and no one’s going to back down from a challenge,” quarterback Sam Darnold said.
Other than frantic Jets fans venting on social media and calling into sports radio shows? Well, the list is short. But rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton has so far lived up to his lofty draft status at No. 11 overall by handling himself mostly well in his first two NFL games and throwing plenty of pancake blocks.
“Becton's been awesome,” Darnold said. "I think he would say there's a couple of things (to improve), but other than that, he's going to continue to grow and help this team win games."
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Jets need to be more effective when they get into the red zone, and that means scoring touchdowns and not field goals. They're 1 for 4 in those situations, with their 25% conversion rate ranking last in the NFL.
“We've just got to find a way to get the ball in the end zone when we're in the red zone,” Gase said.
DT Quinnen Williams. The 2019 first-round pick had his best game as a pro, getting two sacks, seven tackles (four solo), two tackles for losses, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble. He was the No. 3 overall pick last year and came in with high expectations but had a nondescript rookie season. Williams flashed his overall talent against the 49ers and was one of the few bright spots for New York.
TE Chris Herndon. He built a nice chemistry with Darnold when the two were rookies in 2018, but Herndon missed all but one game last year because of a suspension and injuries. Expected to be a primary outlet for Darnold this season, Herndon has just seven catches for 42 yards. Against San Francisco, he had one catch for 5 yards — and a drop in the end zone — despite the Jets being short on receivers.
Wide receiver Breshad Perriman could miss “one or possibly two games” with a sprained left ankle, according to Gase. Fellow receiver Jamison Crowder sat out Sunday with a hamstring injury and is uncertain to play at Indianapolis. Center Connor McGovern is also “week to week” with a strained hamstring and could be replaced by Josh Andrews.
9 for 25 — That's the Jets' third-down efficiency through two games, or a measly 36%. That ranks them 27th in the league and is a big reason for the offense struggling with consistency.
The Jets will hit the road and take on Philip Rivers and the Colts, looking to avoid a second straight 0-3 start. Despite the struggles, Darnold doesn't think the team needs someone to get up in front of the room and give a rah-rah speech.
“I think for us right now," the quarterback said, "we need to do less talking and more acting.”
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