What should the Jets do with Michael Clemons?

New York Jets wide receiver Jeff Smith (16) reaches for extra yards in front of New York Jets defensive end Micheal Clemons (72) and cornerback Michael Carter II (30) during the first half at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Season for the New York Jets started with promise but has taken a disappointing turn, exemplified by the recent 34–13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Amidst the myriad of issues plaguing the team, an often-overlooked problem is the lack of discipline on the defensive side of the ball. One player who has exemplified this issue is DE/EDGE Michael Clemons.

Michael Clemons’ career has been marked with immaturity

Clemons is currently in his second year in the NFL with the New York Jets. He was drafted by the Jets in the 2022 NFL Draft and picked 117th overall in the fourth round. Clemons has showcased sporadic moments of brilliance, demonstrating his potential to contribute to the team’s defense.

However, his career has been marked by multiple lowlights, primarily due to concerns over his on-field immaturity and it has been an issue with how constantly these issues have occurred.

The incident with the Miami Dolphins

The incident that highlighted Clemons’ issues occurred during their most recent game against the Miami Dolphins on Black Friday.

When Jason Sanders kicked the extra point, extending the Dolphins’ lead to 27-6 in the fourth quarter, Clemons was involved in a scuffle with Dolphins offensive tackle Austin Jackson. While referees attempted to intervene, Clemons made contact with an official, resulting in the official spitting blood.

Consequently, Clemons was ejected from the game. Despite the game being a blowout, there was no justification for embarrassing the team to the extent of being ejected from the game.

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The fight with Dion Dawkins

Clemons has garnered a reputation for his temper issues, which notably flared up during the game against the Buffalo Bills, which ended in a 32–6 loss for the New York Jets. He engaged in multiple altercations with Bills OT Dion Dawkins throughout the game, and tensions escalated after the match.

Clemons was observed confronting Dawkins near the locker room tunnel, almost reaching a physical altercation. While some may excuse such behavior as showing pride, it’s crucial to acknowledge that there is a time and place for such displays, and they should not occur after the game near the locker room.

This team is undisciplined and the coaches need to restructure the way they discipline players

The Jets must address the ongoing issues surrounding Clemons, as his behavior is becoming increasingly unacceptable. His repetitive penalties on defense only highlight the broader problem of the team’s lack of discipline, which ultimately reflects on the coaching staff.

Both head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich bear responsibility for this undisciplined culture. Saleh, in particular, is under scrutiny this offseason due to the team’s persistent lack of discipline.

While it’s evident that players are committed to him, Saleh needs to display authority and address problematic behavior from players like Clemons, who repeatedly make the same mistakes.

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Where is Will McDonald?

First off, Jets fans are wondering, where the heck is the first-round pick Will McDonald? Is he in the witness protection program? Was he lost in MetLife Stadium or on the sideline for most of the game?

He did play in Week 12, only making two tackles, and he was not on the field for most of this game. This is a headscratcher as there’s a noticeable lack of field time for him, despite showing flashes of talent whenever he’s on the field. It’s perplexing that a team invested a first-round pick in McDonald but isn’t utilizing him effectively, especially when there were other positions to address during the draft, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

The Jets should bench Michael Clemons in favor of Will McDonald

It’s high time to provide McDonald with more snaps. Given the direction of this season, which seems to be headed nowhere, benching Clemons should be considered.

Clemons has been a major disappointment this season, consistently displaying undisciplined behavior resulting in excessive penalties. While he still holds potential as a defensive piece, his negative impact on the field is overshadowing any positives this season. Perhaps benching Clemons in the upcoming game and allocating more playing time to McDonald could serve as a wake-up call for Clemons and help reevaluate the team’s strategy.

Addressing this is imperative. Clemons’ continuous lack of discipline is a recurring issue. While he shows promise in this league, his inability to control himself might cut his career short. It’s crucial that the Jets take immediate action in the coming weeks to rectify Clemons’ problems and instill discipline. Ignoring this issue will only lead to detrimental consequences for him and the team.