New York Jets: 2 players who could be traded before the deadline

The New York Jets are now 0-6 with yesterday’s loss to the Dolphins. Surprisingly, the amount of points they scored yesterday is the same amount of wins they still currently have. Okay, maybe it’s not that surprising.

On another note, it seems as though they are in full “sell” mode.

Jamal Adams, Le’Veon Bell, and most recently Steve McClendon, have all been removed from this team one way or another this season. It seems as though no one is safe right now, as linebacker Avery Williamson has already pointed out.

The Jets and general manager Joe Douglas appear to be leaning towards a rebuild now, potentially without Sam Darnold, but that’s a worn-out conversation already. So, let’s look at two other players that could be off the team come the deadline.

Jamison Crowder

Crowder is unarguably the team’s best receiver and potentially their best player overall. Through four games played, as he’s missed two, he’s totaled 29 receptions for 383 yards and 2 touchdowns. Before finishing with 48 yards yesterday, he was leading the NFL with 111.7 receiving yards per game.

His services could potentially come down to a bidding war among teams pushing for the playoffs this season, especially if they need a proven offensive piece. Crowder, who mostly lines up in the slot, wouldn’t force a team to make him the top target outside of the numbers. When he’s lined up in the slot, he’s been very productive and reliable.

Potential contenders, such as the Packers, would benefit instantly from acquiring him. However, injury-riddled teams, such as the Eagles, could be in play as well.

Being the team’s best asset at the moment, he would probably allow for the most return in any trade. Almost immediately after the Le’Veon Bell release, Crowder was named as one of two players on the trade block.

Brian Poole

With Crowder as one of two players named on the trade block, Poole joined him as the other. Poole is the Jets’ best cornerback, and it isn’t close. He was the ninth highest-graded cornerback in the entire league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Also, before yesterday’s game, he was ranked fifth in the league with a coverage grade of 81.6.

Poole was re-signed in the offseason to a one-year, $5-million deal. If he’s dealt before the deadline, it’s most likely because of his contract. Corner-needy teams won’t have to spend any sort of drastic money for him, making him even more desirable.

Teams such as the Chiefs, Packers, Seahawks, Cardinals and Raiders could all upgrade their slot-corner position with Brian Poole, to name a few. That doesn’t mean that any of these teams go for him, but they are some potential teams to watch.

Right now, all the talk and rumors surrounding Jamison Crowder and Brian Poole is speculation, but with the direction things seem to be heading, they could realistically be gone before the end of the reason. If they are, it’ll be interesting to see what Joe Douglas can get in return.









Four plays that decided the New York Jets’ Sunday fate vs. Arizona

Another painful loss awaited the New York Jets in their return to MetLife Stadium. ESM takes a look at the plays that changed the game.

There was a new quarterback and new men on the offensive line thanks to injuries. But the New York Jets were forced to endure the same result.

Kyler Murray tallied 401 yards of offense, with 131 of his passing haul going to DeAndre Hopkins. Their Arizona Cardinals tallied a 30-10 road win over the hapless Jets at MetLife Stadium. The Jets (0-5) earned a nominal bright spot in the form of Jamison Crowder, who reached triple digits in receiving for the third time this season (116 yards on 8 receptions).

As we do each week…someone’s got to do it…ESM looks back on four big plays, one from each quarter, that are shaping the Jets’ present and future for better or worse…

1st Quarter: Chase Hit

The Jets’ defense rose to the occasion in the early going, forcing Arizona into a three-and-out on their opening drive. A Joe Flacco-led offense was struggling to get things rolling, but Braden Mann helped the defense out with a 54-yard punt that situated the Cardinals on their own 11. Alas, it only signaled the start of New York’s demise.

Arizona would embark on a scoring drive, needing only eight plays to go 89 yards. The Cardinals (3-2) faced only one third down on the drive, and that was only when they needed a single yard at the cusp of the Jets’ 30. It also brought forth a 29-yard touchdown run from Chase Edmunds, giving the Cardinals a lead they would never relinquish.

Alas for the Jets, long drives and defensive lapses, even if they’re brought forth by short three-and-outs from the offense, have become far too common. When the inevitable purge comes to both the roster and staff, members of the defense should not be exempt.

2nd Quarter: 4th-and-Done

The Jets should be commended for their reckless abandon on fourth down in recent weeks. They know that the playoffs are but a pipe dream and more than likely will be destined for a high draft pick. With all due respect to Mann, a serviceable draft pick to date, he shouldn’t be seeing the field once the Jets cross their own 40. The same could go for Sam Ficken if it’s a long situation, though he continued his perfect streak in the early going with a triple in the first half.

Faced with a single yard to go on the Arizona 13, the Jets opted for an unusual option, handing the ball off to tight end-turned-fullback Trevon Wesco. The intention was pure…Wesco’s brief time in the backfield yielded a couple of first downs last season…but the execution simply wasn’t there. Starting the 6-foot-6-inches Flacco in place of the injured Sam Darnold, the time was perfect for a quarterback sneak. Flacco even showcased some hidden rushing talents to the tune of 20 yards on a quartet of carries. Instead, they tried to force nearly the exact same play, only this time with Le’Veon Bell. The Jets’ willingness to take risks is admirable, but ended a 14-play trek with no points on two failed rushes only adds to their plethora of embarrassment.

3rd Quarter: Manhattan Jam Crowder

The Jets have been through a lot this season, and there’s still a dozen weeks left on the horizon. Their most consistent silver lining has by far been Crowder, who had one of his strongest games of the season. He came up particularly big in the third quarter, first accounting for Flacco’s longest pass of the day at 52 yards, setting the Jets up in Arizona territory. Three plays later, Crowder dodged a pair of Cardinal defenders to earn an 11-yard touchdown that narrowed things to a single possession.

New York has been through a lot this season, much of it showing just how far they are from mere playoff contention, much less a Super Bowl. But the veteran Crowder is making himself essential as a presumed purge lures on the horizon.

4th Quarter: Buried by Kingsbury

Sunday’s second half featured plenty of instances where one could declare “only the Jets!”. For example, an untimed down at the end of the third quarter led to a false start. That duplicated an incident in the second quarter when they took a delay of game after an interception (on a red zone drive that eventually led to Ficken’s field goal). But a neutral zone infraction after Arizona’s final touchdown (a 37-yard hookup between Murray and Hopkins) led to Kliff Kingsbury opting to go for two despite owning a 30-10 led that became the final margin. Who knows what the Jets did to Kingsbury, who pair of NFL passes came in New York, but it was enough to try and help anyone who had Arizona -21.5 out and goes to show how far the Jets have fallen.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 


New York Jets: Four silver linings from a brutal first quarter

At 0-4 and both the head coach and franchise quarterback on the hot seat, the New York Jets have little to celebrate, but not all is dreary.

Autumn in New York, as Billie Holiday originally sang, is “often mingled with pain”. That appears to be the case in New Jersey as well, at least on the gridiron.

We’re a quarter of the way through the 2020 NFL season, and the New York Jets sit at 0-4 at the quarter mark. As lifeless as the Jets have looked…the fact that their average margin of defeat is “only” 14 points might count as a proverbial win…things might get progressively worse. In addition to a Sunday matchup against the Arizona Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Fox), the next few weeks feature get-togethers against upstart teams (LA Chargers), playoff contenders (Buffalo, New England), and even the defending, red-hot Super Bowl champions (Kansas City).

Yet, if one looks closely at the 2020 Jets…and you could hardly be blamed for keeping your (social) distance…they can glean some specific positives that should have fans excited for the rest of this season…and potentially beyond.

Mekhi Becton

It feels like ten different networks broadcast the NFL Draft these days…Disney XD simulcasted the most recent Pro Bowl, so maybe they’re next into the fold…but all of them seem to unite around the common theme of lampooning the Jets’ first-round choices. Even the ones they hit are subject to satire, as producers gleefully share footage of Matt Leinart-adoring fans booing the Jets’ selection of Mekhi Becton.

Lately, the Jets have provided fodder for those segments. Darnold and Quinnen Williams could well be on their way to first-round infamy. Their day one brothers Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams have already been sent elsewhere via trades. But, so far, Mekhi Becton is blocking those detractors, literally and figuratively.

Becton is turning into a cornerstone on the much-maligned, perpetually rebuilding offensive line. Because the Jets aren’t allowed to have nice things, injuries and controversy have already snuck into his career…namely over whether Becton should’ve been used in Thursday’s loss to Denver after suffering a shoulder ailment four days prior in Indianapolis…but the early on-field returns are promising. Through the first two weeks, Pro Football Focus had Becton as the best-graded offensive rookie amongst all positions. Even at half-strength against the Broncos, Becton managed to look strong, vindicating the Jets’ decision to pass on several high-profile receivers to take him 11th overall last spring. A lot of questions pepper the Jets’ future. If things hold up, Becton’s spot on the blind side of the quarterback, be it Darnold or otherwise, won’t be one of them.

Jamison Crowder

Crowder had established him as a serviceable slot option over four seasons in Washington. In New York, he’s been a consistent bright spot over the past two difficult seasons. Last season, Crowder led the Jets in all major receiving categories. He’s only appeared in two games this season, but he seems well on his way to repeating the feat. The century mark in yardage has been broken in each of his two games thus far, and he’s also responsible for the longest play of the Jets’ season, a 69-yard scoring hookup with Darnold in the Week 1 visit to Buffalo.

A good portion of this modern Jets rebuild is focusing on young players etching a role for themselves in the future. But the 27-year-old Crowder is transforming himself into the reliable veteran role player prescience that championship teams crave. It’s a role comparable to, say, Sammy Watkins in Kansas City. In his second year on the team, Crowder might as well be an established New York veteran at this point. A potential free agent after this season (he signed for three years, but has a potential out at $1 million in dead cap), Crowder has turned himself into one of the players allowed to stick around for the potential glory days ahead.

Sam Darnold’s Mobility

Enough has been written about whether Darnold is still the Jets’ franchise man under center. There are 13 weeks, including a bye, left in this dreary season, so we certainly can’t promise that you won’t see any more articles about the concept.

But one thing that has changed for the better when it comes to Darnold is his mobility. We saw brief flashes of it toward the end of last season…that rollout touchdown to Crowder against Baltimore comes to mind…but Darnold has earned satirical comparisons to Lamar Jackson in the way he’s improved this year.

Thursday night brought this concept to the forefront when Darnold earned a career-best 63 rushing yards, 46 of which came on a long touchdown run on New York’s opening drive. We’ve seen Darnold extend plays by escaping onslaughts f the pocket and finding Braxton Berrios for scores.

Time will tell if Darnold remains under center for 2021 and beyond…heck, an injury sustained in the Denver game has his status for Arizona in question. But his developed mobile talents certainly make a case for his sticking around.

Special Teams

Coaches have come and gone since his arrival in 2016, but special teams coordinator Brant Boyer has made himself eternal. One look at his modern unit shows why.

The Jets’ special teams had to be on their game even before 2020 unleashed their scary surprises. With an offense struggling to find itself and a defense missing two of its top representatives, it would crucial for returns to set up good field position and punts to make things difficult for the offense. Field goals could help a meandering offense end drives on a positive note.

So far, the components have thrived in their respective roles. Sixth-round pick Braden Mann’s punting numbers aren’t lighting up the rest of the league, but he’s become a reliable name on the Jets’ roster while slowly getting things together on the NFL level. He earned a season-best 48.7 yards per boot on Thursday and even made a touchdown-saving tackle in the second half. Josh Malone is averaging 20 yards a return, seventh-best in the AFC. Most importantly, Sam Ficken, 30th in three-point conversion rate last season, has been literally flawless in the early going. He’s one of eight kickers to hit all of his attempts (8-for-8). Of that tally, only Jason Sanders in Miami has hit more (9). If the Jets do what most fans expect and fire Gase, Boyer would make for an intriguing and well-deserved interim boss.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

3 storylines to watch in Denver Broncos Vs New York Jets matchup

The New York Jets (0-3) will take on the Denver Broncos (0-3) in tonight’s game. The game was one I was eager to see prior to the season. I hoped the headlines would be all about Drew Lock vs Sam Darnold or about how the Jets improved defense would handle the Broncos young and talented offense. Instead, we have Brett Rypien at the helm of a banged-up Broncos team and the Jets fighting for any shred of respect they could salvage this season. Here are the things I am watching for in the battle of two of the worst AFC teams to this point.

Adam Gase’s Funeral?

After the Jets got embarrassed this past Sunday in Indianapolis, the heat beneath Adam Gase’s seat became flames. Rumors have swirled all week from Colin Cowherd, Chris Mortensen, and many other top insiders that this could be the end of the road for Gase if the team is blown out. The consensus is, the team needs to implode for Gase to be ousted. The Broncos would need to perform similarly to the 49ers in Week 2 for Gase to go. The odds are in Gase’s favor to still be the coach of this team come Friday morning, but the Jets are wearing all black tomorrow night, so maybe this could be Gase’s New York Jet funeral.

Brett Rypien’s First Career Start

Rypien starting tonight brings me back to the game the Jets played when Luke Falk stepped in on Thursday night last year. Rypien was a practice squad fixture until just a week ago, but after going 8/9 for 53 yards and a pick in the end zone, he will get a shot to run the offense, at least to start, tonight. Broncos coach Vic Fangio has said he will see a role where Jeff Driskel gets work as well. Last year the Jets preyed on weak QBs like Dwayne Haskins Jr., Matt Barkley, and Devlin Hodges. Although this Jets defense is a shell of what it was last year, Gregg Williams is still here, and he knows how to make young QBs uncomfortable. The Broncos have also allowed 13 sacks, which stands as the second-most in the league. The Jets could look to make this a really rough debut for the nephew of former NFL vet Mark Rypien.

Sam Darnold Needs To Rebound

The Jets offense floundered last weekend, but particularly so did Sam Darnold. With three interceptions, Sam Played one of his worst pro games. Tonight though, he gets a returning Jamison Crowder along with a budding connection with Braxton Berrios. Darnold needs to come out swinging tonight; Gase needs to let him run around and sling it. He needs to get rid of the receiver screens and take some shots downfield. They need to open up the playbook because win or loss, the most paramount issue is getting Darnold some momentum back.

New York Jets: Jamison Crowder, Mekhi Becton expected to play Thursday

The New York Jets will be facing off against the Denver Broncos tomorrow night at home. The team’s injury report is lengthy, but they are expecting to get wide receiver Jamison Crowder and rookie offensive tackle Mekhi Becton back for the game. Getting both players back would be huge for the last-ranked offense in the NFL.

Crowder has missed the last two games after suffering a hamstring injury. During the Week 1 game against Buffalo, he posted 7 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown, being by far the most productive weapon Sam Darnold had. Crowder addressed his chances of playing tomorrow and how his progression has been.

“I feel real good about them,” he said. “I’ve been working out, doing some running… I feel like I did some really good cutting and ran a few routes [Tuesday] and it felt good.”

Head coach Adam Gase reiterated his excitement about getting Crowder back, calling him the team’s “best receiver.” Crowder certainly has been the most consistent option on the field, and it should give them a boost against a banged-up Denver secondary.

Rookie offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is expected to play tomorrow as well, after leaving early last game with a shoulder injury. Becton had an MRI done on Monday to determine the severity of his injury and it turned out much better than initially expected, according to Adam Gase.

“The MRI and everything turned out better than really we were thinking [Sunday] night.”

That’s great news for the rookie and the team as a whole.

The starting left tackle has been very good through his first three games, even being named the highest-graded offensive rookie through two weeks, according to Pro Football Focus.

That’s great to see from a top draft pick and from a position that the Jets have desperately needed consistency from. If Becton does indeed play tomorrow, his job will not be all that easy. He would be lining up against defensive end Shelby Harris, who has 2 sacks so far this season, and potentially against linebacker Bradley Chubb.

Becton has held his own, though, so far during his transition to the NFL. He has had just one penalty called against him and he has allowed only one sack. That is, once again, great to see from the player responsible for guarding Darnold’s blind side.

Getting these two key players back would be much needed for a struggling offense. Based on the track they’ve been on so far this week, tomorrow’s game looks like the return for both of them.


New York Jets: Jamison Crowder OUT of Sunday’s game

Head coach Adam Gase confirmed that the scorer of the New York Jets’ first 2020 touchdown will not play against San Francisco.

It’s only Week 2, but losses are continuing to pile up for the New York Jets.

Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, head coach Adam Gase announced on Friday that receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) will not play on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers (1 p.m. ET, Fox). Crowder is the latest injury of New York medical absentees, joining offensive weapons Le’Veon Bell and Denzel Mims.

Crowder, 27, was the Jets’ top receiver during their opening week loss to Buffalo. He scored the team’s first touchdown of the season via a 69-yard aerial hook-up with Sam Darnold in the third quarter. Crowder’s 115 receiving yards on the afternoon were good for fifth-best amongst all Week 1 receivers. He’s in the midst of his second season with the Jets (0-1), leading the team with 833 yards on 78 receptions last year.

With Crowder out, Gase expects fellow slot receiver Braxton Berrios to take on expanded duties against the 49ers. Berrios is primarily used as a returner but earned 115 yards on six receptions last season.

“Crowder’s been probably our best player on offense the last two years,” Gase said in video from SNY. “Berrios, his skill set fits what we do. We always try to develop a role for him throughout the week. We’ve got to do it in a way that Crowder stays on the field, they both play the same spot (slot receiver). I’m just glad he’s here. I think it’s rare to have two starters in this league.”

San Francisco (0-1) may likewise be missing an important offensive weapon upon their Sunday visit. According to KNBR’s Brian Murphy, tight end George Kittle will be a game-time decision. The defending first-team All-Pro representative suffered a knee sprain in the 49ers’ Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Four plays that shaped the New York Jets’ Week 1 fate

ESM looks back on the New York Jets’ Week 1 defeat, finding a play from each quarter that’s shaping their past, present, and future.

When taking a look at exactly where it went wrong for the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon, one well could argue that things went awry from the opening kickoff.

The Jets (0-1) opened their 2020 campaign with a 27-17 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Week 1’s final score shielded just how ugly the game, particularly the first 30 minutes, truly was, as a 21-point onslaught buried the Jets before they could truly get going. Fleeting positives were able to emerge in the second half, but the former segment’s shortcomings cast a considerable pall over any progress the Jets were trying to make or showcase in their season opener.

“There is so much for us to clean up,” head coach Adam Gase said in defeat. “It was a rough game. We didn’t play well enough. We have to get a lot of things fixed in a short period of time.”

ESM looks back on opening weekend, looking back on a big play from each quarter, one that will affect the team’s past, present, and future…

1st Quarter: Pierre Desir’s penalty 

Maybe it’s just the “2020” effect, but Sunday’s first quarter already feels like an eternity ago. The early stages of the frame actually granted brief hope to the Jets in the form of Marcus Maye forcing the ball from a running Josh Allen, putting the ball right into the hands of Bradley McDougald. Maye and the rest of the unit, however, were barely granted a two-minute break to compose themselves. An offensive three-and-out lasted just two minutes, forcing the defense to return to service almost immediately.

Buffalo took advantage of the Jets’ gassed defense, working their way to New York’s five-yard-line. The potential of holding Buffalo to a field goal seemed realistic and rookie kicker Tyler Bass was anything but fully reliable (2-of-4, though one miss appeared to be ruled incorrectly). If the Jets emerged from the ordeal with a 3-0 deficit, good vibes could’ve emerged from a dangerous quarter.

Alas, a Desir penalty, a defensive holding infraction to be precise, gave Buffalo a fresh set of downs as Allen’s would-be touchdown pass to John Brown fell incomplete. Allen and the Bills capitalized immediately in the form of his first of three touchdowns on the afternoon, this one being a two-yard rush. It began a streak of three consecutive touchdown drives and buried the Jets before they even knew what hit them. Desir had a tough debut in cover Brown and touted Buffalo newcomer Stefon Diggs. He was eventually benched for Nate Hairston in the second half.

Penalties continue to be an issue in the Gase era. The Jets were 10th in the final penalty rankings last season (115) and the nine yellows they drew on Sunday were tied for the most with Tampa Bay and Arizona.

2nd Quarter: Sam Darnold’s Interception

It’s possible to hold both Gase and Darnold accountable when analyzing Sunday’s disastrous results. One particularly garish play was something that simply should come from a third-year franchise quarterback. Darnold’s first interception of 2020 was an across-the-body toss that more or less served as the premature dagger for the Jets’ Sunday chances.

The defense managed to hold Buffalo scoreless on the drive that came from the Matt Milano interception, taking advantage of another Allen fumble. But still wasn’t an encouraging sing the Jets wanted to see from their franchise savior.

“The interception was just a bad play to try to fit a ball in there that I shouldn’t have,” Darnold said in his postgame comments. “It’s a bad play, it’s inexcusable, there are no excuses for it. I’ve just got to be better.”

Criticism against Gase is widespread these days…early Vegas odds have him ranked as the coach most likely to be fired midseason…but one can rip on his situations and playcalling while also acknowledging that Darnold has more to learn. The offensive line actually performed rather well in Sunday’s showing, but Darnold worked his way into coverage sacks that stalled drives. He’s got a lot to work on with a relentless rush from San Francisco visiting East Rutherford on Sunday.

3rd Quarter: Marcus Maye Forces a Field Goal

A rare Sunday silver lining of consistency was Maye. Thrust into the defensive spotlight after Jamal Adams napalmed his New York bridges, the safety got his contract year off to a good start with the tune of a game-high 10 tackles to go along with the forced fumble and a pair of sacks and pass breakups each.

Each of Maye’s sacks came on third downs in the third quarter, the first capping off a three-and-out on Buffalo’s opening trek. The latter, a three-yard loss at the cusp of the red zone, kept the Jets’ hopes temporarily alive. His takedown led to an unsuccessful 38-yard try from the rookie Bass, three plays before Darnold united with Jamison Crowder for the Jets’ most electrifying play (a 69-yard scoring hookup and the team’s first 2020 touchdown).

Maye admitted that the Jets’ biggest Sunday sin was failing to contain Allen, who made up for his turnovers with 369 yards of offense, a career-best.

“(We failed at) containing the quarterback,” Maye explained. “(Pass interference penalties) in the first half hurt us and letting (Allen) extend plays. Other than that, in the second half we got off the field like we needed to once we settled in. It wasn’t really anything that they necessarily did, it was all us I feel like.”

To Maye’s point, the Jets allowed only two field goals in the second half and allowed less than 200 yards. Maye knows that a better start against San Francisco and beyond could work wonders.

“You have to come out hot. You have to come out fast. You can’t wait until things get tough to get going. From the first play you have to come out.” Maye remarked. “We just have to execute and be disciplined in our rush lanes. When the ball is in the air, just be composed and be smart.”

4th Quarter: Josh Adams Gets a Workout

Le’Veon Bell missed a majority of the second half with a hamstring injury, one that will keep him off the field for the foreseeable future. It opens up a new opportunity for Adams, who made a name for himself as an undrafted rookie, discovered by Joe Douglas in Philadelphia. Adams finished in the top ten in rookie rushing with 511 yards and joined the Jets’ practice squad last season. He was in the same spot at the start of September but was promoted when it was clear La’Mical Perine wouldn’t be ready for Week 1.

Adams took full advantage of spelling Frank Gore in the dying stages of Sunday’s loss, earning 22 of the Jets’ final 65 yards on their last drive. The last two allowed him to score his first NFL touchdown since December 2018.

The Notre Dame alum was placed on the practice squad earlier this week, but with Bell on short-term injured reserve and extended moves on and off the squad allowed in this trying season, it stands to reason that Adams will be called upon to fill the void while Bell heals. If Sunday’s final drive is any indication, he can certainly help stem the New York bleeding.

The Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon against the San Francisco 49ers (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Adam Gase expresses regret, remorse after Week 1 disaster

New York Jets, Adam Gase

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase’s first postgame statements of 2020 were understandably somber after Sunday’s shellacking in Buffalo.

Sunday’s opening game was a case of deja vu for the New York Jets and head coach Adam Gase. Not only did they fall to the Buffalo Bills on opening weekend for the second straight season, but the final margin 27-17 was nowhere near indicative of how one-sided the game truly was. Parallels could perhaps be drawn to the Jets’ final ledger of 7-9 earned last season. The Jets’ best victory tally since the star-crossed 10 wins in 2015 somewhat masked a brutal opening stretch to the season, one only exacerbated by injuries.

Either way, the trend of losing continued for New York…at least by literal name…and the head coach was forced to atone for it.

“It was about as bad of a start offensively as we could have had,” Gase said in his opening statements, per transcripts provided by the Jets. “We didn’t do anything when the defense did a good job getting a turnover. Complimentary football was non-existent throughout most of the game. We just really did not play well.

“The disappointing aspect is just watching the guys work all week and the excitement level coming into this game. We have a lot to work on and a lot of things to get fixed.”

To Gase’s point, Buffalo didn’t seem pleased with what was otherwise a dominant performance. Josh Allen became the first Bills quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards since December 2016 but two lost fumbles denied Buffalo a chance to truly break the game open.

The Jets, however, failed to truly capitalize on either opportunity. Allen’s latter fumble, forced by Bless Austin, le to their first points via a Sam Ficken field goal, but a chance to pull early momentum yielded only a three-and-out. When Allen held onto the ball, the Bills built a 21-0 lead that was never truly in doubt.

“We had to get into that rhythm,” receiver Jamison Crowder said. “I feel like guys were trying to press to hard and we just couldn’t get into that rhythm. We have to change that going forward. We have to come out early and bring the energy and get some plays going, stay ahead of the sticks and get first downs.”

The lack of preseason games certainly didn’t play in the Jets’ favor. Even if each of the 32 teams were not granted the benefit of four consequence-free opportunities to develop chemistry and the rhythm that Crowder desired, the Jets may have been one of the teams most affected by the decision to outright cancel exhibitions. The starting offensive line, for example, was completely new. Every receiver from third-year quarterback Sam Darnold’s rookie season has likewise departed. A rare leftover, Chris Herndon, missed all but 18 snaps last season due to suspension and injury.

Gase wasn’t fully buying into the theory, insisting that Buffalo didn’t throw anything unexpected at them. It was the on the Jets for not performing and not taking advantage of opportunities.

“When we had opportunities to make plays, we didn’t make them,” Gase said. “I thought there were some things that, I felt like the line gave us enough time. We were not good in the passing game today, especially early.”

The task ahead for the influx of newcomers playing their first game under a new system was made all the more challenging by changes Gase has to make. Free agency arrival Pierre Desir was removed for Nate Hairston, while a hamstring injury to Le’Veon Bell forced him to press Frank Gore and Josh Adams (scorer of the Jets’ final touchdown) into further action.

Gase would express remorse keeping Bell in the game as long as he did. His status for next week’s game against San Francisco, a Sunday home opener (1 p.m. ET, Fox) is yet to be determined.

“I’m mad at myself that I let him to back in there in the second half,” he said. “I saw him grab his hamstring and he wouldn’t come out. When we came in at halftime, I let him go back in there. I was worried about it. Eventually, I was like, ‘I can’t put you in there. We can’t take a chance of getting more hurt than you already are.’”

In the midst of his somber statements, Gase did address the fledgling positives that emerged from defeat. He was inspired by Crowder’s 69-yard hookup with Darnold, one that narrowed the Jets’ deficit to 21-10 in the third quarter. The drive that led to Ficken’s field goal was also inspiring to Gase, a 10-play, 70-yard quest that took up 87 seconds of game time. Offensive line play was also to Gase’s liking. Newcomers Mekhi Becton and George Fant each managed to have a decent blocking day in their green debuts, with Darnold only getting sacked three times. Buffalo defenders got to him four times in last year’s opener.

But if the Jets are going to steal a couple of wins before this season of uncertainty lets out, Gase knows that more complete efforts are required. The drive starts upon the Jets’ return home, one whose end features a battle with the defending NFC champions.

The discussion in (the locker room) was of making every possession count. That was a different feel for me with that group. These guys have a plan themselves going out there before we even said anything. It was good to see how all of those guys were working together. There is so much for us to clean up. It was a rough game. We didn’t play well enough. We have to get a lot of things fixed in a short period of time.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets Position Group Grades: Wide Receivers

Breshad Perrimen, New York Jets

As the season looms, I decided to take a deep dive into each New York Jets position group within the organization and grade each group. Today’s group is one I had to do before I had a meal in my stomach because of the extreme lack of depth this group has. For a team that values putting pieces behind its franchise quarterback, this group is fairly pathetic. Nonetheless, I’m going to evaluate each target and grade the group as a whole.

WR 1: Breshard Perriman

Perriman joined the team on a prove-it deal after finishing the season in Tampa on a really strong note. Perriman was a blue-chip prospect that has struggled to truly make an indent on the league. At 26, you could firmly make the case that he’s just on the cusp of his prime. After struggling in Baltimore and Cleveland, he had a really impressive end to the season in 2019 and now looks to build on that with the Jets.

Perriman put up 36 catches for 645 yards and 6 TDs but only played 56 percent of snaps. Perriman now has to adapt to a new offense on a shortened practice schedule because of COVID. To make matters worse, he’s had injury issues throughout camp, and that’s not a good sign. I truly think Perriman would be a solid second option, but his potential as a lead target is worrisome to me because he isn’t as proven as you would hope for. Then, add in the severity and longevity of his injury issues, and I don’t have the highest of hopes for Perriman.

WR 2: Chris Hogan

Hogan was a late roster addition due to the depletion of the initial receiver core. The former Super Bowl champion was a favorite option for Tom Brady in his years in New England. His crisp route running style and high football IQ made him a valuable commodity when he hit the free-agent market in 2019. After finding a home in Carolina, he was sidelined for the year with a knee injury. Now, Hogan is back and has reportedly picked up the offense quickly. The journeymen receiver may end up being the number one option until Perriman and Mims are at a hundred percent. Hogan will inherit a lot of pressure and will be forced to form an in-game connection with Sam Darnold quickly. I do think Hogan is a good player, but I’m worried about the change of scenery this offseason and the quickly acclimation and how he’ll handle that.

WR 3: Jamison Crowder

My favorite receiver on the roster and overall the most talented one, Crowder, is likely facing his biggest season yet. The vet took very little time finding a role within the Jets as the premier slot option. Now, as he enters his second year in the green and white, more teams are aware of his connection with Darnold. If teams give Crowder more attention, that could open up opportunities over the middle for guys like Herndon and even opportunities over the top for Perriman. As long as Crowder can continue to stay healthy, he is the most talented receiver on the roster and the most important to Darnold’s development.

WR 4: Denzel Mims

Mims is the highly anticipated rookie. Mims, though has missed significant time in camp. Now, in terms of true quantity, it was not that significant. In terms of lack of time to get a grasp on the playbook, it is truly impactful in a season like this. With minimal time to adapt to the roster and the lack of in-game reps, how quick Mims picks up the offense fully is something to watch. Still, Mims is a really talented receiver. Mims is a deep threat and a physical receiver. He fights for 50/50 balls and has an insane catch radius. Mims is everything Darnold needs as a long term option. It’s just a matter of how quickly Mims can get acclimated to the offense and proper usage by Sam Darnold.

The Rest

The rest of the receiver room shows a complete lack of depth. Braxton Berrios is a special teams stud and solid burner as a backup. Aside from him, there isn’t much here, though. Donte Moncrief is likely going to have to hurry to pick up the offense before getting any real reps. Vyncnt Smith will be back quicker than expected, but he is still going to miss a few games early. When he does get back to 100%, he will likely play a big factor. Jeff Smith and some of the other practice squad pieces could play a role, but the fact I’m reaching for names that deep should say something. The receiving group lacks serious depth, and with the injury history of all four lead receivers, that is not encouraging. The Jets need to watch the trade market and waiver wire actively because upgrades are needed desperately.

Grade: C-

If all of the Jets receivers stay healthy, this group could be a solid one. That also factors in proper usage by Adam Gase and consistency with Darnold. All of that feels like too much uncertainty to give this group a high grade. The potential is there, and I’m hoping for the best. I just have a lack of faith in Gase to use these guys properly and for all of them to stay healthy.

New York Jets: What to expect from new receiving group

New York Jets, Jamison Crowder

Through moves in the offseason and the draft, the New York Jets now have a completely revamped receiving group. Robby Anderson is in Carolina, Quincy Enunwa was released and new guys have come in. One guy that remained, is Jamison Crowder, who had a solid campaign last season. The team drafted Denzel Mims, signed Breshad Perriman and, most recently, signed AFC East journeyman Chris Hogan. The group looks different for sure, but whether or not they can produce at a higher rate, is the question. Let’s look at what each receiver may be capable of this season:

Breshad Perriman

Perriman spent his first four NFL seasons across three different teams: the Ravens, Browns and Buccaneers. Last season with Tampa, he put together his best one so far. Through 14 games, he totaled 36 receptions for 645 yards and 6 touchdowns, all career highs. In fact, over the last five weeks of last season, he led the league in deep targets, deep receptions and deep receiving yards, per NFL Next Gen Stats.

This is exciting to see, especially because the player he’s replacing in Robby Anderson, was known as a deep threat. Perriman, who’s not necessarily mentioned as a top deep threat, was THE top deep threat to close last year. That should continue with Darnold and the Jets.

Now with a new team and, probably, many more targets, Perriman should be able to replicate last season’s numbers easily. He should be among the team leaders in targets, therefore leading to more receptions, and among the top in yards. Perriman may not be a 1,000-yard guy for the Jets, but it’s probably safe to say that he could be within the 750-800 range. He’ll be a nice addition for Darnold for sure, but he’s not going to be a pure number one guy.

Denzel Mims

Mims was the Jets’ second pick in the recent draft (round 2, pick 59). He had a great career at Baylor, finishing sixth in career receiving yards, fifth in receptions and third in touchdowns. However, an injury has already made his transition to the NFL even more difficult. According to Adam Gase, Mims took a weird step and hurt his hamstring.

Hopefully Mims can rebound from this setback quickly, but hamstrings are tough. Everyone responds differently and it could be a lengthy injury. If he can get back on the field soon, that’d be a great sign.

Mims can become a favorite target for Darnold relatively quickly. He’s a quick player that can make people miss and track the ball downfield as well. He’s shown some inconsistency while in college, but he can provide some nice assistance. If he stays healthy, Mims should be expected to be one of the top guys in the receiving group throughout the season.

Jamison Crowder

Crowder rounds out the projected top-three receivers on this Jets team. He’s one of the few contributors from last season that is expected to play a substantial role, in terms of receiving. Seemingly from the very beginning, he became Darnold’s go-to guy on the outside, posting 14 catches in Week 1. He’s another guy that can contribute every game, but most likely isn’t going to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.

Last season, Crowder finished with a career-high 78 receptions for 833 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was easily the best receiver on the team and Darnold’s trust in him proved that. He should be around the 800-yard, 5 touchdown mark once again this season. I assume he’ll lead the team in targets this season, as he tends to be more of a safety option at times because of his route tree. Nonetheless, he’ll produce.

As a group

The Jets have some other guys that will contribute, but they’ll mostly be rotational guys. This includes Chris Hogan, rookies Lawrence Cager and George Campbell, Braxton Berrios and Vyncint Smith. They’ll be on the field, for sure, but their playing time and production will be much more limited than the three players mentioned above.

The team definitely has its top-three guys in terms of playing time and production it seems, but, once again, there isn’t a clear number one just yet. As a result, this is going to be a group that has multiple key contributors throughout the season. The group is going to have to produce as a unit to be successful in the long run.

Don’t expect one guy to ever command that number one spot, as it’ll probably change week-to-week. However, there are a ton of exciting players and options for Darnold to work with this upcoming season.