The New York Jets are a professional football franchise competing in the National Football League (NFL). Part of the American Football Conference (AFC) East, the Jets are currently placed third. Ever since losing its star quarterback, four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, from a torn achilles tendon — a mere four plays into the 2023 season — the New York Jets seem to have completely forgotten how to play football.
During its five-game losing streak from Week Nine to Week 13, the Jets only scored two touchdowns, held a -77 point differential (tied for worst in the NFL over that span), and saw 3 different quarterbacks, each with seemingly less success than the last. The team is netting an average of 268.6 yards per game, placing 31 out of 32 NFL teams. And for the 13th straight season, the Jets have missed the playoffs, last making an appearance in 2010, marking its 14th playoff appearance in its 64 seasons. The Jets have finished with a losing streak for eight consecutive seasons, the most in franchise history. To figure out why the Jets have fallen behind, we need to analyze the team in depth.
Firstly, the offensive line is a mess and holding on by a thread. From offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker’s season-ending injury in Week Five, to having nine different combinations of starters and twelve different linemen across the season, consistency has been hard to come by for the Jets’ offensive line this season. This shortage of talent up front has been a killer for the team, leading to many penalties, sacks being given up, and a lack of offensive plays. Taking away chances from star running back Breece Hall to make big plays, and each of its quarterbacks busy scrambling every play.
The quarterback play was shaky at best, with the Jets rotating through a combination of Zach Wilson, Trevor Simian, and Tim Boyle. Wilson, the second overall pick by the Jets in the 2021 NFL Draft, was handed the starting job immediately following Rodgers’ injury, but played poorly with eight touchdowns to seven interceptions, and was put in concussion protocol during Week 15. The other backups were not much better, throwing a combined three touchdowns and eight interceptions, including a shutout loss to the Division Rival Miami Dolphins. It is no wonder that many blamed the offensive line for these shortcomings.
Secondly, the receiving players have been nowhere near stellar, apart from one. There is no denying that Garrett Wilson is a great receiver, leading the team with a total of 1,042 receiving yards, but his supporting cast have been mediocre at best, and nonexistent at worst. Wide receiver Allen Lazard might just go down as one of the worst free agent signings in recent Jets history. The hopeful WR2’s 290 receiving yards throughout the season puts him behind running back Breece Hall and tight end Tyler Conklin. Dynamic receivers like Wilson are being held back by a lack of quality quarterback plays and playmakers in the receiving corps. Despite receiving over 1,000 yards, Wilson still described this past season as the worst of his life.
Although the team has the league’s third best defense, the Jets are unable to single-handedly secure football game victories, particularly when coupled with an offense that ranks 31st in the league. Linebackers Bryce Huff, Queen, Quincy Williams, C.J. Moseley, Sauce Gardner, D.J Reed, Jermaine Johnson, and Ashtyn Davis have been stellar for the Jets by pushing big-name quarterbacks including Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and Josh Allen to the brink. However, this team lacks synergy. The defense spends too much time on the field because of a lack of effective offense. In the NFL, relying solely on the defense never wins games. In Weeks Three, Four, and Ten against the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and Las Vegas Raiders, the defense played spectacularly well, only to see the Jets lose due to their incompetent offense.
For a team to miss the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season is never good, and a historically bad offense is even worse, especially when it is paired with a championship-caliber defense. While Aaron Rodgers remains committed to the organization both on and off the field, the Jets will need to make serious changes in their approach next season. To address their offensive line issues and enhance their offensive play-calling and receiving corps, the team will need to provide Aaron Rodgers with the necessary resources to guide the Jets back to prominence in the NFL.