The Jets were coming off a really tough week, and started another potentially rough one Monday.
After all the tumultuous events of the previous week, the Jets hosted the Browns Monday night at MetLife Stadium and end this week in New England on Sunday. The Patriots have allowed one field goal in two games and have outscored their opponents by 73 points.
Maybe Adam Gase is right: the bye week is coming at a good time for the Jets.
Gase was referring to the loss of Sam Darnold, who is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. But this is a team that already needs to exhale and regroup, and it’s still September.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, the Jets lost backup quarterback Trevor Siemian to an ankle injury in the first half Monday night. The Jets trailed, 16-3, at intermission after being outgained 199-45 in total yards.
Luke Falk, signed from the practice squad before the game, replaced Siemian, who was 3-for-6 for just 3 yards before exiting. It was Siemian’s first NFL regular-season game since Dec. 14, 2017.
Some speculation and reports say Darnold could miss anywhere from 3-to-7 weeks. It’s a big window, but if true, there is at least some hope that he can return following the bye week, at Philadelphia in Week 5.
The Jets are saying all the right things about sticking together and embracing the challenge. But it won’t be easy, as Darnold’s maturation and development was going to be critical for whatever success the Jets have this season.
“We live by the philosophy that Coach Gase always says, ‘So what? Now What?’ ” defensive end Leonard Williams said. “It’s always believe in the next man up, believe that we’re still going to fight when we face adversity, That’s something he said to us from the beginning of the season and since the time they got here is that throughout the season, throughout your life you’re going to have adversity, you’re going to face hard times. So you just got to keep pushing through.”
Just to recap:
A day after the Jets’ 17-16 season-opening loss to the Bills, Gase criticized just about every unit, particularly the receivers and the team’s overall lack of mental toughness in blowing a 16-0 lead to Buffalo.
The next day, the Jets held kicker tryouts and signed Sam Ficken, their fourth kicker since August.
The NFL suspended backup defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd six games for taking PEDs.
The Jets also traded for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, which some speculated was to send a message to the receivers. It turned out the Jets needed a receiver because Quincy Enunwa suffered a season-ending neck injury. Gase announced Enunwa’s season was over on Wednesday, just before mentioning that Darnold would miss practice that day with strep throat. It turned out to be a lot worse for Darnold and the Jets.
On Thursday, Le’Veon Bell was going for an MRI on his shoulder and Darnold had mono and would be replaced by Siemian.
Later Thursday, Odell Beckham Jr. accused Gregg Williams of telling his defensive unit target offensive opponents. On Friday, Williams responded, “Odell who?” and said Beckham wasn’t a dynamic player.
On Saturday, the Jets declared middle linebacker and defensive leader C.J. Mosley and rookie lineman Quinnen Williams out for the Browns’ game.
That sure escalated quickly.
All of this – starting with the Bills’ meltdown – put a big damper on whatever expectations the Jets had coming into this season. By all accounts Bell is fine and ready to continue to carry a heavy workload. He’s a big reason more was expected of the Jets. But it’s hard to win without your leader on offense and on defense.
“We are not going to adjust our expectations,” Gase said. “We will not adjust. Next man up. That’s our philosophy.”
Right before training camp started, Gase said the Jets would play “meaningful games at the end of November and December.” That was before the Jets suffered any injuries or any of their players were infected by an infectious illness also known as “the kissing disease.” At that point, the Jets knew tight end Chris Herndon would be suspended for the first four games, and they thought they had a good grasp on their kicking situation.
A lot has changed.
“Let’s not worry about November, December, all that [stuff],” Gase said. “We are worried about this week.”
After the events of last week, the Jets have reasons to be worried.
Thomas, acquired Wednesday from New England, was active Monday night despite not practicing all week. He suffered a hamstring injury in the first half.… To make room for Falk on the roster, the Jets waived safety Bennett Jackson … Siemian became the 32nd quarterback to start a game for the Jets since Joe Namath played his last game with them in 1976.