Offensive line is killing the Jets even worse than Zach Wilson


The Jets got blown out by the Bills, 32-6, on Sunday in Buffalo to drop to 4-6 this season.

Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:

1. It is hard to evaluate anything about the Jets’ offense right now – quarterback, play-caller, passing game, running game – because of what has happened to the offensive line. It is incredible how banged up the Jets are on the offensive line, and it is crippling this offense. 

You can blame Zach Wilson or Nathaniel Hackett or anyone else for what is going on with this offense — and there is blame to go around — but who could thrive behind this group right now?

The Jets had their sixth different starting offensive line in six games on Sunday. Then, left tackle Mekhi Becton went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter.

Becton has shockingly been one of their most durable linemen this season. That left Laken Tomlinson as the last man standing from the Week 1 offensive line. 

The Jets had Carter Warren and Chris Glaser playing their first career snaps Sunday. Warren replaced the injured Becton at left tackle. Glaser started the game at right guard after Xavier Newman was lost to an injury against the Raiders.

Zach Wilson is sacked by the Bills.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The Jets have played 13 different offensive linemen this season. They broke camp with eight at the position. 

You can live with one or maybe two backup offensive linemen, but the Jets now have four and two of them are backups to backups. 

Joe Douglas gambled that Duane Brown and Becton could stay healthy at tackle. He has lost that bet. Alijah Vera-Tucker going down for the season again was a crushing blow.

Add in center Connor McGovern and the Jets are down four of their best linemen. Even top backups such as Wes Schweitzer and Billy Turner are injured. 

So, you can scream about the quarterback, but Patrick Mahomes would struggle behind this offensive line.

Mekhi Becton leaves the game with an injury.

I don’t know how the Jets fix it, and it certainly should be a deterrent when it comes to deciding whether Aaron Rodgers plays again this season. 

2. With that being said about the offensive line, the job of a coach is to figure things out even when you have injuries.

Now, this offense has no shot to be a good offense with the line right now, but it should be a functional offense and it is not. They should be able to get to 20 points occasionally and give themselves a chance to win.

Here is a startling comparison: The 2020 Jets averaged 279.9 yards and 15.2 points per game. The 2023 Jets are averaging 270.3 yards and 15.0 points per game.

If you need a reminder, the 2020 Jets went 2-14 and had an over-the-hill Frank Gore as their lead running back and Jamison Crowder as their best receiver. Adam Gase got hammered for how that offense performed and deservedly so. But they were better than this offense, which has Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, two talented players the 2020 Jets had no one close to.

Jets GM Joe Douglas speaking with reporters before the season.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

I think it is clear that Sam Darnold is better than Wilson, but I still can’t fathom how this offense can be worse than the 2020 version. 

3. It looked like the defense finally buckled Sunday after carrying the team all season.

The body language was not great on a few plays, and the short touchdown to James Cook and long touchdown to Khalil Shakir had Jets defensive players standing around watching them go into the end zone.

It is understandable if the defensive players are so frustrated that they can’t keep playing at a high level. They are also playing so many plays that they have to be exhausted.

But if the defense slips, these games are just going to get uglier. The Dolphins could make this one ugly Friday. 

James Cook scores a touchdown for the Bills against the Jets.
Getty Images

4. There was a lot of chatter about the Jets going with a youth movement Sunday, and there were some younger players who got more playing time.

Here is the problem with that: Young players make more mistakes, so while they may provide some juice and some speed, they are also going to commit more errors. 

The Jets are trying anything they can at this point, but playing these young guys should not be viewed as a solution to the Jets’ problems. 

Revealing stat

The Jets are averaging 5.19 plays per drive, the worst mark in the NFL. 

Surprising snap count

We knew that TE C.J. Uzomah was going to have his playing time cut after committing two penalties in Las Vegas, but he only played six snaps (11 percent), which is a pretty drastic cut. 

Game ball

Brandin Echols had more receiving yards (18) than all of the Jets wide receivers combined thanks to his fake punt reception. Echols also stepped in at nickel corner and played well. 

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