Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
The Jets are fortunate to be getting such an early bye this season, as they have a lot to work on. With a mixture of unavoidable misfortune and self-inflicted wounds, their nightmare start to the season has them at 0-3 for the first time since 2003. Here's the main things they need to do to right the ship:
Re-assimilating players returning from injury
The good news from Sunday's game was the Jets didn't have any additional injuries to key contributors. While they can't use injuries as an excuse for all their problems, some of the core players set to return after the bye should provide an instant remedy in certain areas.
As we saw in Week 1, the Jets were outplaying a Bills team that is now 3-0 until C.J. Mosley's injury. In his absence, rookie Blake Cashman has contributed well alongside Neville Hewitt, and has probably earned himself a chance to be part of the rotation once Mosley is back. Hewitt will be glad to give the headset back to Mosley though, because there have been some costly breakdowns. These should become less common with Mosley directing traffic.
The defense will also get some reinforcements up front with Quinnen Williams and Jordan Jenkins set to return. That should bolster the pass rush and also free up Leonard Williams to have more of an impact inside.
Finally, of course, Sam Darnold's return is also a major deal for the offense as long as he can shake off any rust and get his conditioning up.
Cohesion on the offensive line
The offensive line will be grateful for an extra week to work on things, as they've had a tough time during the first three games. This culminated with Luke Falk being sacked five times against New England.
Something that's apparent from watching the film is that a large proportion of the pressure is coming from confusion in terms of picking up and passing off assignments, or dealing with blitz packages rather than players getting beaten one-on-one. It's therefore not necessarily a personnel issue, although Adam Gase has said that changes have not been ruled out.
Darnold's return should help out here as well, as he will be more adept than Falk was at escaping pressure or just identifying it sooner to get rid of the ball.
Establish an identity on offense
Gase is used to dealing with a less than full deck, because his offense dealt with more than its fair share of injuries in Miami. However, he's not been happy with the execution so far, which is perhaps a symptom of this system being new to everyone.
With Darnold back in the fold, the Jets will hopefully be able to establish some downfield passing, which will in turn open up the running game and underneath routes a little more. Gase's challenge during the bye week will be to help his receivers to understand his system better and execute within it.
One thing that often suffers due to a series of injuries is special teams play. With core special teamers like Hewitt and Cashman playing less on that unit due to their increased defensive duties, there's a downgrade in talent as well as the disruption that constantly having to make personnel changes can have.
Over the past two games, the Jets have totalled just five yards in the return game, mainly because new punt returner Braxton Berrios has had to settle for a fair catch over and over again as a result of poor blocking in front of him. In particular, Nate Hairston really struggled in the vice role on Sunday.
On kickoffs, everything's been going for a touchback, which is probably doing the Jets a favor because on those few kicks they did return in Week 1, they were stopped short of the 25 anyway.
It's tempting to want to blame this on Andre Roberts leaving, but Roberts wouldn't have made any difference because he'd have been forced to take a fair catch each time anyway. As it is, Roberts has been injured, so he hasn't played yet this season.
Retain some hope
At 0-3, the chances of the Jets digging themselves out of a hole to compete for a postseason spot are remote. However, the season is not totally lost and the negativity surrounding the team could dissipate if they show they can be competitive when back at full strength.
If the Jets can restore some pride and confidence with a win or two coming out of the bye, that will go a long way towards ensuring Gase doesn't lose his team. Otherwise, as recent Jets teams have shown, the wheels could come off rapidly.