Jets continue to prove they have no identity or sense of purpose

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The Jets fell to the Eagles 33-18 on Sunday to drop their record this season to 3-9. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:

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1. CJ Mosley delivered a message to his teammates via media after the game, talking about how the Eagles disrespected the Jets and how they needed to change the way they looked at teams. Sure, Mosley said this inside the locker room as well, but then took the message publicly to the media room.

Mosley’s frustration is understandable. He grew up in the NFL with the Ravens, a team that had a certain standard, especially on defense, for more than 20 years. This is something the Jets have lacked over the past decade.

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When you look at the successful teams around the NFL, they have an identity that goes from seasoned players to younger players. Expect what it means to play for the Ravens, Steelers, Packers and Patriots. There is a standard that is handed down and expectations that everyone understands.

What does it mean to be a jet?

CJ Mosley delivers a message via media to his Jets teammates after Sunday’s loss.
Getty Images
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This is the difficult part for Mosley, Coach Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas. They are trying to build something with Jet, but have no basis. It can take years for the Jets to establish who they are as a franchise and what that means inside the locker room. This group is not the first to attempt this.

Rex Ryan outperformed any other coach since Bill Parcells. He walked in the door and talked about “ground and pound”. He talked about the identity of the team and he went out and made it happen – for two years. In Year 3, Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum strayed too far from that identity and never got it back. Ryan tried in his later years with the Jets, but was defeated. Todd Bowles and Adam Gase both tried to establish an identity with the Jets, but a lack of talent eventually ruined them both.

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Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert walks past Jets linebacker CJ Mosley for a touchdown on December 5, 2021.
AP

That’s the tough part for Saleh right now. He doesn’t have enough talent in this team to win week after week and make his mark. Douglas will have to give Saleh a better roster in 2022, and maybe then we’ll start to see what the jets look like under Saleh. Maybe players like Mosley, Quinnon Williams, Elijah Moore, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Michael Carter can become core pieces that can teach players what’s standard around the Jets. Right now, none exist.

2. I’ve largely blamed the Jets’ defensive failures on players this year. The Jets just don’t have the horses to counter good offenses. However, the coaches get a lot of blame for Sunday’s defeat. Players said after the game that they did not prepare for Eagles backup quarterback Gardner Minshoo. Then, after the game, Saleh tried to make it sound like a minuet and starter Jalen Harts is the same kind of player and he only had to make up for the Eagles offense.

He must think we are idiots. Anyone who has seen the Eagles recently can see that they have built their offense around the Hearts’ ability to run. Minshew is not the same kind of runner and could be a better passer. He was on display on Sunday as he engulfed the Jets’ defense in the first half.

Gardner Minshaw greets Eagles fans at MetLife Stadium after defeating Jets
Gardner Minshaw greets Eagles fans at MetLife Stadium after defeating Jets
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It reminded me of 2018 when Jamal Adams said he hadn’t prepared for Baker Mayfield after the Jets lost to the Browns, who came off the bench to beat the Jets. Todd Bowles took the heat for him and the front office was furious with Bowles after that defeat.

But it’s worse. In 2018, Mayfield only played because starter Tyrod Taylor was injured. The Jets knew all week that the Hearts’ availability was a question mark. Eagles coach Nick Siriani said this as of last Monday. The Jets chose not to believe it, I think, and they paid for it on Sunday.

3. Zach Wilson’s performance on Sunday was encouraging. That doesn’t mean he has arrived and now we know he is the answer for this team. This means that he took Sunday a step further than we’ve been waiting to see. He commanded the offense from the start, made some really good throws and tried not to do much until the end of the game when he threw an interception.

This part of Jets season is all about Wilson, and he gets a passing grade for Sunday. It’s too bad the defense couldn’t get the ball back to him in the third quarter to see if he could build on his strong first half.

4. The kicking position of the Jets is truly remarkable. They can’t find any boy. Alex Kesman is the latest contestant to try to win the job, and he lost both extra points on Sunday. You can’t make it. Kesman is the eighth kicker the Jets have since 2017 as Nick Folk was their primary kicker from 2010–16. The Jets cut the Folks off in a pay-cap move after the 2016 season, and the kickers have been wandering the desert ever since. Jason Myers had a Pro Bowl season in 2018, then the Jets failed to sign him again. Folk? Well, he got on his feet with the Patriots, where he scored 31 of 34 field goals this season, entering Monday night’s games.

The Jets are likely to have more kicker tryouts this week, and who knows who will kick them off against the Saints on Sunday.

Jet punter Braden Mann consoles kicker Alex Kesman after missing an extra point
Jet punter Braden Mann consoles kicker Alex Kesman after missing an extra point
Getty Images

Disclosure Status

The timing of the third quarter of possession was Eagles: 13:50, Jets: 1:10. The Jets ran three plays in the quarter as the game turned away from them.

amazing snap count

Ty Johnson played 28 snaps and Tevin Coleman only played 23. Watching the game, it felt like Coleman was having a huge impact driving the ball. This break is likely because Johnson was passing more, but with Michael Carter still out, the Jets should try to ride Coleman.

game ball

Braxton Berrios gave the Jets a spark with a 79-yard kickoff return to open the game. This caused the Jets to score on their first drive, and the deceleration of their first half seemed to break the offense.

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