If there was a silver lining to the Jets’ 23-0 embarrassing loss to the woeful Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday, our delusional thinking has ended about them making a run for the wild-card. This is not happening after their eighth loss of the season, and with the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots finishing up the schedule and playing two of their final three games on the road, a losing season is more likely.
The bottom line is the Jets were never good enough to make the playoffs. Their defense is overrated, and their offense has been pedestrian all season. As good of a season Jets quarterback Josh McCown is having, he wasn’t good enough to lead the Jets to the playoffs in the end.
It is going to stay that way until the Jets address their quarterback situation. They don’t have a quarterback that can lead them to the playoffs. Either the next quarterback is in college, free agency or dare I say in high school somewhere in a small town in Pennsylvania.
McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are not the short-term solutions and long-term solutions. Watching three of them has provided enough conviction to think that way. They are not good enough to make big plays when the Jets need it the most. After watching them for awhile, it’s hard to think anything is going to change since this is who they are at their stage of their career.
McCown was terrible by going 6-for-12 for 46 yards and a quarterback rating of 25.0. Petty was no better as he was 2-for-9 for 14 yards in relief.
The Jets starting quarterback offered nothing on a day the team needed him to win. In the first half, he was 3-for-6 for 18 yards and an interception and one lost fumble with a 16.7 passer rating. He led the Jets only for four first downs in that half. In his first two drives of the game, the Jets fumbled and punted, and in his third drive of the game, he was intercepted. It took him until the second quarter for him to get a first down. He couldn’t even throw downfield.
McCown wasn’t any better in the second half. In fact, he was getting pulverized by the Broncos vaunted defensive line to the point he was knocked out of the game late in the third quarter.
Maybe he was playing hurt in the first half, too, but it didn’t matter. He offered nothing, and that’s what he will be remembered for. Sunday could have been likely his last game of the season after he broke his left hand that had him leaving the game in the second half.
As for Petty, he offered nothing. He could not even throw with that noodle arm of his to the point. Jets offensive coordinator John Morton decided to have him hand the ball to Jets running back Bilal Powell the rest of the way. It’s no wonder why Jets head coach Todd Bowles refused to take his starting quarterback out of the game, even though he was struggling to throw the ball while playing in pain.
What you see is what you get from those two Jets quarterbacks. They will tantalize you with good throws once in awhile, but they will also frustrate you when they throw picks and incompletions. This is why they are not the future moving forward.
McCown can’t be back next year under no circumstances. At the age of 38, there is no way the Jets should pay him. They can’t make the same mistake they did last year in signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal after a career year in 2015. Predictably after Fitzpatrick was paid, he struggled.
The Jets thought so little of their journeyman quarterback that they signed him for the intention of him losing games, so it does not make sense now to sign him with the idea he can win games next year when most likely, he will regress to the mean. Sunday should provide a reminder why he shouldn’t be in their plans moving forward.
Petty hasn’t showed he can make progress. He still can’t throw as he showed on Sunday.
As for Hackenberg, he stinks. He was so bad in the preseason, which he had so many opportunities to be the starter in the preseason. He didn’t get it done since he couldn’t run an offense from the huddle. He couldn’t even throw for short passes. He played like he was a project. He makes Tim Tebow look like Tom Brady and Geno Smith look like Cam Newton.
He hasn’t made any progress, and the Jets coaching staff are in no hurry to ever play him again.
The Jets once again have to find their new quarterback next season. They need to develop him from the draft, so that he can be on the job for the next 10 years. The Jets haven’t had a quarterback of that ilk in eons. Until they do, they will continue to be absent in the playoffs, which is going to be the seventh straight year they won’t be participating.
It seems simplistic, but it is. Good steady quarterback play is the difference between a winning team and a losing team. A game-changing quarterback is the difference between a contender and a pretender. The Jets have had neither of that since they made the AFC championship game in the 2010-2011 season, which was the last time they made the playoffs.
This is why the Jets winning five to seven games does nothing. They need to be in the top three in the NFL draft, so they can get that difference maker. Maybe they can still get a quarterback like Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield in the draft if the Jets can lose all out, which is a good possibility. So in that sense losing on Sunday was a good thing from a Jets fan’s perspective and even management’s perspective.
No wonder who the Jets general manager is next year, he has to get it right with the quarterback. It’s been too long since the Jets had one.
Sunday should reinforce that belief.