The Jets’ offense has been surprisingly effective the last two games and they hope to be even harder to defend with No. 1 receiver Corey Davis expected to return from a hip injury.
While Davis was a spectator, the Jets put up 34 and 30 points, respectively. Promising rookie playmakers Elijah Moore and Michael Carter became more involved in the passing game in Davis’ absence.
The Jets plan to continue feeding them and see if they can take their offense to the next level with Davis slated to play Sunday against the Bills.
"Really excited for Corey to get back in because I do feel like the offense is starting to hum a little bit in terms of just the route running, the protection," Robert Saleh said. "When you really turn on [tape], you watch our receivers running their routes, they are getting very precise, they’re sitting in zones, they’re getting vertical with balls in their hands, they’re making people miss, the backs are getting involved.
"So over these last two games, it’s been pretty cool to see the offense move and that’ll be really good to get him back into the mix to this speed at which we’re operating to see if we can get even better as the year progresses."
Davis has been the Jets' most targeted receiver (42 times) and leads the team with four receiving touchdowns. But with Davis sidelined for those two games, the ball was spread around much more and the distribution was balanced in coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense.
Moore, Carter and Jamison Crowder were each targeted 16 times in the two games.
In the Jets’ win over the Bengals in Week 8, Mike White relied on the short passing game and check-downs and it got results. Carter had nine catches for 95 yards, Crowder eight for 84 and Moore six for 67.
Last Thursday, Moore caught seven passes for 84 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career in a loss to the Colts. Running back Ty Johnson has receiving touchdowns in each of those games.
The quarterback play has been a big reason for the Jets’ offensive success and just one of the reasons they’re expected to start White again this week despite Zach Wilson likely returning to practice.
White and Josh Johnson have engineered eight touchdown drives in the past two games. Wilson led seven touchdown drives in the five full games he played before spraining his right PCL Oct. 23 in New England.
Saleh said the Jets are not going to rush Wilson back. The timetable was 2-4 weeks, and Saleh said if Wilson is "not fully healthy, it’d be irresponsible for us to throw him out there."
The Jets believe they found something in how they played the last few games with White and Johnson running the offense. Johnson played the final three-plus quarters against the Colts after White suffered a forearm injury and threw for a career-high 317 yards and three touchdowns.
The quarterbacks got the ball out quickly and didn’t force too much. The offense’s overall tempo was quicker. Wilson is more prone to holding onto the ball, keeping plays alive and trying to make the explosive play. Davis has been the target on many of Wilson’s shots and throws into tight or double coverage.
Davis can be utilized in the short game as well as down the field. He played in a similar system with the Titans and had 984 receiving yards last season. Re-introducing Davis will take some of the defense’s attention away from the Jets’ younger playmakers and only make this improving offense better.
"The offense has been on repeat with regards to what they’re being asked to do now," Saleh said. "They’ve been healthy, so there’s a lot of continuity there. … But they’re moving faster and they’re showing why, during training camp, we were all pretty excited about the group collectively and it’s pretty cool to see. It’s going to be pretty cool when it’s all said and done."
Next up for the Jets is re-integrating Wilson in the offense – as early as next week.