By Tyson Rauch
On Sunday a confident New York Jets (2-2) team entered LP Field with hopes of building off of an encouraging performance against the Buffalo Bills. Following a 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans (3-1), the Jets now seem to be a bit dazed and confused as they were thoroughly beaten in almost every phase of the game.
Offense Grade: F
The New York Jets offense was a mess on Sunday as the unit continued to self destruct throughout the game. Quarterback Geno Smith was responsible for four turnovers which resulted in 28 points for the Titans. The offensive line struggled to consistently win the battles in the trenches which created a stagnant running game and the quarterback repeatedly getting hit (Smith sacked five times).
If the line was able to give Geno Smith time to throw the ball the receivers had some difficulty getting open and securing the ball. Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes both left the game with injuries.
Defense Grade: C
The New York Jets front seven did an excellent job shutting down the Tennessee running game holding the Titans to 78 yards. The linebackers were aggressive in their pursuit of the ball carrier and prevented Chris Johnson (21 rushing yards) from getting into open space.
The pass defense struggled at times as the Titans targeted defensive back Darrin Walls, who was filling in for the injured Dee Milliner. Walls gave up several big plays including a touchdown right before the half. Surprisingly Antonio Cromartie had an average day as the veteran defensive back made several mistakes in coverage.
In the first three games of the season, the Jets defense did an excellent job of picking up the offense following a turnover. On Sunday Gang Green’s defense was unable to do that as the unit gave up 28 points following a turnover. In addition the Jets red zone defense, which statistically ranks as one of the best in the NFL, failed to hold Tennessee to field goals instead of touchdowns.
Quarterback Grade: F
Geno Smith had an awful day on Sunday as the rookie quarterback completely took his team out of the game with four turnovers and several bad decisions. Smith once again was staring down receivers and trying to force throws into very tight windows. Geno Smith has to do a better job of taking what the defense gives him in order to keep drives alive.
Ball security is becoming a very big issue for Geno as he is careless with the football. The Jets quarterback had two inexcusable fumbles where if he used proper fundamentals the turnovers could have been avoided. It is one thing to make rookie mistakes. It is another to be reckless with the football.
Special Teams Grade: B-
New York Jets kicker Nick Folk once again had a solid game making both field goal attempts including a 47-yarder. Folk’s performance may have been the only highlight of the game.
Ryan Quigley did a decent job as he averaged 41.8 yards on his punts. As for the return game the Jets are still struggling as Jeremy Kerley returned 2 out of 7 punts for a 3-yard average. Clyde Gates averaged 23 yards on kickoff returns but he will surely be replaced next week when Mike Goodson returns from suspension.
The New York Jets coaching staff is not immune from criticism as the team racked up 10 penalties for 66 yards. The majority of the flags were the result of lack of discipline or focus and that is just unacceptable.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg continues to be aggressive with his pass oriented offense, but far too many times the play calls are putting Geno Smith in third and long situations. Mornhinweg needs to help the rookie by assembling plays that can slow down the pass rush and will help establish a running game. Nothing positive comes out of watching your quarterback repeatedly get knocked to the ground. Speaking of poor pass protection offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse had another terrible game which included several penalties and blown blocking assignments. At some point the Jets coaches need to replace Ducasse with Brian Winters.
Overall this is an embarrassing loss for the New York Jets as the team basically beat themselves. The offense kept turning the ball over while the defense could not stop the bleeding. If the Jets do not clean up these repeated mistakes, they are going to get blown out of the building by quality opponents over the next several weeks.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.