Welcome to BGA Extra, where I draw a line under the previous weekend's game by responding to your questions from BGA during the week which you can read here. After the jump, I respond to your questions about the game against the Texans.
lamjones: Will the current vets (Mangold, Brick, Revis, Harris) be retired by the time we see a real winner (if we see one at all)? In other words, assuming we are on an upward trajectory what's your assessment of where we are on the curve?
I'm sure if you asked the brain trust, they would characterize these recent struggles as temporary blips on a path towards their overall objective of creating sustainable success.
How long will it take? Well, we've seen that you can go from bad to good within a year or two, although often when a team looks like they've turned the corner, it happens a year or two later than you expected. The issue, I guess, is if these recent losses are a sign that the team needs to go back to square one or can continue on the same path they've already set out on.
Those guys should be here next year, although they might not all be here the year after that. Maybe some of them will not be retired, but no longer Jets when the team finally puts it all together. It's obvious the team needs to establish a younger core to build around.
f16jet: Why does it seem like we had a worse defense last year, and still played games pretty close? We got more beef up front, and upgraded the CB's, and this defense plays worse than last year's? One thing Rex had, along with his coaches, was the knowledge of players, and what they were able to bring to the table, and to put said players in the right situation to match their talent level. I don't see this, week in, and week out, from this coaching staff. With all the talent on this D, we play like mutts. Our CB's sucked last year, and their names changed week to week, but Rex was able to do a good job with what he had. These coaches can't do a better job with better players, what's up with that? I am alone in this thinking?
You're certainly not alone to feel troubled and bemused by the team's struggles.
The front seven hasn't played as well this year and that's a combination of players being banged up, adjusting to the system and perhaps not being ideally suited to the roles required in some cases. While the personnel is better this year, that doesn't automatically make it a better defense, as we've seen.
Antonio Cromartie has struggled so badly this year that I'm not sure the cornerback position is any better off than it was. Is a team better off with two average starting cornerbacks or one good one and one bad one? Probably the former because then you don't have a bad cornerback out there ripe to be exploited all day. Also, you save quite a bit of money that could have been used elsewhere to improve the team.
I'm actually wondering why Kacy Rodgers hasn't come in for more criticism. Whenever the offense struggles, Jets fans typically blame the coordinator, but because they've had defensive minded head coaches in recent times, the head coach seems to get the blame for defensive struggles. Maybe Rodgers, a first-time coordinator, is struggling to get to grips with his role.
carlhungus: Why isn't this team able to develop talent? Do you feel it's more coaching or lack of talent to work with?
This is something that was an issue for the previous regime too and I constantly wondered if the coaching staff (ie positional coaches, not the head coach and coordinators) were to blame. It might be a little early to write off this coaching staff, but it would be nice to see some more positive results sooner in a lot of cases.
hazard2012: I realize there's a combination of factors involved [in the Jets' struggles], but what do you feel is the single biggest element (or lack thereof) in these recent failures? Individual players? Lack of talent? Schemes? Play calls? Coaching? What's the one thing that most needs to change if we're to get back to winning ways?
I don't know.
That might not seem like an enlightening answer, but in a way it is because I'd have been more prepared to give a more direct answer in recent seasons. It's too early to put my finger on where the biggest issues are with this regime right now, but those are all areas where it would be nice to see some positive progress.
Melissa Siegel: Isn't it a good thing that Coples cared more about the win than about his individual stats in the Miami game? I'd love to know which players were upset about their lack of playing time despite the victory.
It's a good point and that was certainly my read on the situation at the time. Who knows how the team viewed it though?
As for who was miserable after the win, I shouldn't really share those kind of details in respect of players that are still on the team, but what I will say is that one of them is really obvious.
Johnsec125: When is the draft?
April 28 to April 30. Should we be looking forward to the draft or dreading it?
Uncle Joe: Why didn't the Jets double team Watt? Why didn't they have a back-up plan for when Marshall was doubled all day, like getting Kerley and Decker more involved? Why not play Mauldin more, he was showing real fire getting to the passer! Is Ivory really shot, he only ran for around 37 yards with a handful of carries, and he has not been involved the way he should be the last few games? How can Bowles defense get torched by trick plays and a 3rd string QB that had not started a game since 2011 and only has 40 something passes thrown his ENTIRE career?
They did double team Watt, a lot.
They did get Eric Decker more involved in the second half. Brandon Marshall wasn't really "doubled all day" anyway.
Mauldin only plays pass rush situations because he's shown in preseason that rushing the passer is the only thing he can do at an NFL level at this time. There's only a finite number of pass rush situations in any one game and he's basically getting all of them.
JayM: Where were the safeties on the 2 TD passes to Hopkins?
I'll show you:
On the first one, Marcus Gilchrist had to cover a receiver running a deep crossing route and Calvin Pryor was sitting in the flat in case a back or tight end leaked out to that side (three stayed in to block). It looks like it's a cover-zero assignment for Darrelle Revis, so he is at fault here. Could Gilchrist have seen that Revis was beaten and abandoned his assignment? Maybe, but that would have left the deep crosser wide open for an even easier completion and still a huge gain. Also, he'd have had to change course, so Hopkins probably still gets over the top on him anyway.
The second one is a one-on-one as well. Again, Gilchrist is covering a receiver running across the field. Pryor is single-high so there's no chance he could get over to Marcus Williams and obviously they were challenging T.J. Yates to attack that match-up.
I must say, in Williams' defense, DeAndre Hopkins got away with a BLATANT push-off here.
a57se: So, comparatively speaking, how good was Mo Wilkerson on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being JJ Watt yesterday?
About five or six. It was probably Muhammad Wilkerson's quietest game of the season but I still had him down for 10 positive plays and only three negatives.
Bdarc23: Did it looked like Fitz might have suffered a concussion to you on the TD run? The announcers were all over that and he did perform horribly right after with the 2 quick picks.
Oh, he got his bell rung, no question. You could tell from the way he wore that same "I'm OK, I'm fine" look on his face that a boxer has when they've been rocked by a punch but are pretending it didn't bother them. Whether or not that constitutes concussion is for the doctors to decide and I guess he convinced them he was alright.
As I already mentioned, I did thing Cromartie and Pryor also should have been looked at after they went down after colliding with each other on the play after Revis went down, but the medical staff were pre-occupied with Revis at the time and both stayed in.
lbp44: Do you think Todd Bowles is enough of a motivator to be an NFL head Coach? I know a team often adopts the characteristics of its Coach. Bowles is stoic and reserved--actually appears above the situation. Obviously he is a self-motivator but I wonder if this translates to the young men that are NFL players?
Well, we will have to see how the team responds to the fact that Bowles apparently "lit into them" after the most recent loss.
I know players love Todd Bowles, but they loved Rex Ryan too and it became apparent that Rex's style eventually started to fall on deaf ears. Maybe that's happening a lot sooner with Bowles, but hopefully it's early enough that he can adjust to it.
Hazard2012: Where's this aggressive DL play we were told would happen? Are Wilkerson, Richardson, Harrison and Williams not the players we (and everyone else) thought they were? And where are our edge rushers when we need them, especially Coples, Mauldin and Pace?
The defensive line has been plenty aggressive and has played really well against the run for the most part. The production in terms of pass rush hasn't really been there (apart from Wilkerson), but a big part of that is that teams are neutralizing that with a quick passing game.
I think all four of those guys are what we thought they were. I predicted Leonard Williams wouldn't be instantly dominant at this level. Damon Harrison has always been a one-dimensional player. Wilkerson has been great. Sheldon Richardson's just missed some time, but has made plenty of impact plays in those games he has played in.
The outside linebackers simply haven't been employed as edge rushers in this system. That's something which was temporarily successful but hasn't worked so well in recent weeks, so maybe Bowles - who has never been married to any specific scheme - will take a different approach.
BenNevis: Why are Bowles and Gailey leaning so heavily (and in such clutch situations) on rookie WRs who can't catch and why won't they use a proven clutch WR (e.g. Kerley)?
I have asked the same things. Cleary Jeremy Kerley isn't in their long term plans and Devin Smith is, but you'd at least like Smith to establish himself by having some kind of production before you have him out there on fourth down, let alone make him the target.
Disgruntled Jets Fan (via twitter): Why is Dee still not getting reps?
Bowles answered this in his presser. Apparently Dee Milliner was healthy on Sunday, but was inactive because he hadn't practiced all week, due to illness. You'd like to think they'd give him a shot to show what he can do before they decide on his long-term future, but they haven't done that with Kerley or Quinton Coples, so…
Mike (via email): Clearly the linebackers are the biggest flaw of the defense (outside of ST, the entire team). Of the current roster is there any reason to believe in improvement? Should the Jets start over next year? How do you think the Jets will approach the linebackers going forward, and how would you do it differently?
Demario Davis has been a disappointment and it seems likely he will be gone before David Harris, which had seemed extremely unlikely over the past few years.
Bowles says Erin Henderson might get more reps, but I can't say I'm that high on him being much of an upgrade.
Maybe Bowles should do what he did last year in Arizona and accept he only has one decent ILB and then pair him with an extra safety in the box to add to the versatility in the back seven.
Andy (via email): How many more wins would this team have had last year with Fitz 2015 level production from the quarterback position?
Extrapolated over a whole season, Ryan Fitzpatrick is on a pace for about 3,500 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Let's call rushing and fumbles a wash and ignore sacks (even though Geno Smith probably takes more). Compared with Michael Vick/Geno in 2014, this works out as an extra 400 yards and nine touchdowns over the course of the season, but three more interceptions. Let's say they would be a touchdown better off in about half of the games. They lost one game in overtime and three by three or less. So maybe they win two of those four. Also they had three losses by seven or eight points, so maybe one of those turns into an overtime win. That would get them to 7-9.
A more interesting comparison would be 2013, where they were 8-8. A similar upgrade in that year could have made them into a 10 or 11 team. Then again, they only had one loss by fewer than 10 points all year.
And finally: The GIF of the week featuring Muhammad Wilkerson getting nasty.