Plenty of adjectives can be used to describe the New York Jets' offense through eight games.
And none are positive.
Ineffective. Incapable. Incompetent. Those are just a few befitting perhaps the worst offense in the NFL right now.
“When you play at this level and you play on the offensive side of the ball, if you weren’t angry, I would think something was wrong,” wide receiver Garrett Wilson said after the Jets' 27-6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night. "The standard that I hold myself to and the teams I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of, this is disappointing and it definitely messes with your psyche a little bit.
“But it’s nothing we can’t handle.”
The Jets need to fix it all in a hurry, though. They're still in the middle of the AFC playoff hunt at 4-4, but their offense has been putrid. Nathaniel Hackett's group ranks last in the NFL in third down conversion rate (22.2%) and last in red zone conversion rate (24%).
New York's offense has scored just eight touchdowns in eight games: Five TD passes by Zach Wilson, two TD runs by Breece Hall and another by Nick Bawden.
“I really do think it is the self-inflicted wounds,” Zach Wilson said. “I feel like any time we get something good going, we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot and put us behind the sticks a little bit. Not doing well situationally, I would say."
Coach Robert Saleh isn't considering changing the play-calling duties on offense, so it remains Hackett's job to fix. And there's no quarterback change in the immediate future.
“This is a collective issue that we all need to get on the same page with,” Saleh said Tuesday.
Aaron Rodgers has been throwing on the field during warmups before games, just two months removed from tearing his left Achilles tendon.
“We're still a ways off,” Rodgers said on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday before joking his return is “a few fortnights” away.
The four-time NFL MVP has maintained his goal is to be back before the end of the season — as long as the Jets remain in playoff contention.
That will remain a pipe dream, though, unless Hackett can suddenly get the offense to improve in a big way.
The defense. While the offense has struggled mightily, the other side of the ball has been mostly excellent.
The Jets have mostly shut down the likes of Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert. New York hasn't allowed a 300-yard passer in 26 straight games, and has kept the Jets in every game other than a 30-10 loss at Dallas in Week 2.
“You’re either a part of the problem or part of the solution,” cornerback Sauce Gardner said. “Me, personally, I've got to pride myself on being part of the solution. Our job as a defense is to get the offense the ball back. If the offense is not going, that’s on us. We've got to get them the ball back a hundred times if we have to.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
See above. The offense can't get in the end zone and the Jets keep short-circuiting drives by putting themselves in third-and-long situations because of penalties and poor plays.
They have legitimate playmakers in Hall and Garrett Wilson, but they can't do it all. Dalvin Cook, signed late in training camp, has been a non-factor while running for 121 yards on 43 carries in limited snaps.
The offensive line has used five lineups in eight games because of injuries. And Zach Wilson is not consistently getting the ball out fast enough during the rare moments when he does get some time.
DEs Bryce Huff and Jermaine Johnson. They've been the most consistent pass rushers on the Jets' defensive line, carving out increased roles and sending highly paid veteran Carl Lawson to the sideline. Huff leads New York with five sacks and 13 quarterback hits and general manager Joe Douglas recently said there have been preliminary talks about a contract extension. Johnson, a first-rounder last year, has 4 1/2 sacks and is greatly improved from a rookie season in which he made little impact.
Hackett. The offensive coordinator came to the Jets off a failed head coaching stint in Denver, which current Broncos coach Sean Payton called “one of the worst coaching jobs” in NFL history. Things haven't been much better in New York for Hackett, who was happy to be reunited with Rodgers — but then had to pivot to redesigning his offense around Zach Wilson. And it hasn't gone well.
Rodgers' injury was obviously a devastating blow to a team that had Super Bowl aspirations up until the fourth snap of his debut. The offensive line has been unsettled all season with Duane Brown, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Connor McGovern all ending up on injured reserve.
12 — That's how many consecutive seasons the Jets have gone without making the playoffs, the NFL's longest active drought. New York's defense and special teams are good enough to snap that skid. It's on the offense to improve to make it happen.
The Jets have a short week to get ready for a trip to Las Vegas. That's followed by consecutive AFC East games at Buffalo and home against Miami heading into December. New York will have a better idea of its playoff hopes by then.
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