The Jets are coming off a noncompetitive loss, dealing with more injuries to Sam Darnold’s weapons, and hoping they can somehow fix issues on both sides of the ball before facing another quality opponent on Sunday.
Meet Week 3, same as Week 2.
It’s only two games into the season, but the Jets appear to be stuck in the mud already, coming off a 31-13 loss to the 49ers and looking ahead to Sunday’s game against the Colts.
“Overall, we gotta put everything in hyperdrive and do a better job this week and improve quickly and get ready for Indianapolis,” coach Adam Gase said Monday on a conference call.
Gase expressed a similar sentiment a week ago, after the season-opening loss to the Bills, but the talk about needing a sense of urgency just resulted in more of the same.
For the second straight week, the Jets faced a 21-3 halftime deficit. They never took a lead. Darnold and the offense may have gained more yards and committed fewer turnovers, but they stalled out late on drives and struggled to convert on third downs. The defense spoke of limiting explosive plays and instead gave up an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.
“We know the guys we have in the locker room, no one’s going to back down from a challenge,” Darnold said. “We’ve played two games; we’ve lost both games and it is what it is. All we can do is focus on Indy, make sure that we put our best foot forward in meetings and in practice and we have the right attitude going into this week, make sure that we prepare to win a game on Sunday.
“I think for us right now, we need to do less talking and more acting.”
Darnold’s job will only get tougher against the Colts on Sunday, when he will be without Breshad Perriman, who suffered a sprained ankle in the loss to the 49ers. The third-year quarterback still doesn’t know if he’ll have his favorite target, Jamison Crowder (hamstring), and is facing the possibility of taking on the Colts with Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios and Josh Malone as his top three receivers.
In case that wasn’t enough, he may be taking snaps from a new center, too, with Connor McGovern battling a hamstring strain.
The Jets could use some help from their defense, which was supposed to be the strength of the team, but Gregg Williams’ unit has been exposed through two weeks.
“Not up to par. Not what we’ve preached,” safety Marcus Maye said. “We just gotta continue to work with each other. Eleven guys doing their job. We can’t try to go out and do individual things. … Once everybody’s on the same page, we know the type of defense we can be.”
For now, they will go back to work on the practice field. Gase made multiple references for the need to take what they are doing in practice during the week and having it translate on Sundays. They have another chance to do that this week before their season becomes in danger of spiraling out of control — with more Mondays that seem like Groundhog Days.
“The guys that we got that are healthy, we get those guys playing as well as we can,” Gase said. “Keep finding ways to improve each week. We did some things better than the week before but it just wasn’t enough obviously. … We need to apply what we’re doing in practice and execute those the same way on Sunday.”