EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (BVM) – The New York Jets lost to the red-hot Jacksonville Jaguars, 19-3, on Thursday Night Football, falling to 7-8. In a game with playoff implications for both sides, the Jets struggled to get anything going on the offensive side of the ball.
In fact, Jets head coach Robert Saleh benched former No. 2 overall pick and starting quarterback Zach Wilson late in the third quarter in an attempt to spark the offense. Chris Streveler, who had just been called up from the practice squad, was able to bring some life to the offense but failed to put points on the board.
The quarterback drama continues for the Jets but there is still plenty to be excited about.
“They have a playoff defense,” former Jets head coach Herm Edwards said on a recent episode of BVM Sports Simple Question.
New York’s defense has been impressive this year. Sauce Gardner is a favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, Quinnen Williams is having the best season of his career with 12 sacks and the Jets are holding opponents to under 20 points per game. New York is top five in the NFL in total yards allowed and passing yards allowed while also racking up 40 sacks.
Unfortunately, the success of the defense has highlighted the issues on offense and specifically, the problem at quarterback.
“They’re trying to figure out who the quarterback is,” Edwards said.
Wilson has not been the answer. Mike White was showing promise but has been dealing with injuries since the Buffalo Bills game in Week 14. However, there is reason to be excited and Edwards said that the state of the Jets right now reminded him of his time in Tampa Bay.
“I think these are experiences that you go through,” Edwards said. “This reminds me of when we were in Tampa and we first arrived down there with Tony Dungy. We built this defense and you could have said the same thing about that for the first couple of years.”
Dungy, like Saleh, is a defensive–minded head coach and was able to build a formidable defense in Tampa Bay, but the offense took time. Eventually, the offense was able to help the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win. That could easily happen in New York.
The defense is there and it will only get better, it’s now about finding ways to win on offense. Similar to what San Francisco has been able to do this season.
“San Francisco has an outstanding defense, they’ve gone through three quarterbacks and found a way to win games,” Edwards said. “That’s what the Jets have to do. They got to do what the 49ers are doing. They got to find ways to win games now with your defense.”
New York has time to fix this problem. The team is young, with many of the stars on both sides of the ball being recent draft picks. There is still a chance at the playoffs this season but the Jets need to solve this quarterback problem.
Edwards knows what that is like. In 2002, he had to make a move at quarterback following a 2-5 start to the season. Benching Vinny Testaverde for Chad Pennington, the Jets went on to win the AFC East with a 9-7 record.
“When they get the quarterback situation settled, then you have the ability to advance,” Edwards said.
The Jets have every opportunity to fix their offensive woes and while they do that, the defense will continue to build off of its solid foundation. Once the offense can at the very least give the defense a lead, then they’ll have a chance.