Sam Darnold has shown he can drive the offense into scoring position, but punching it in has been a big challenge for the Jets.
It’s a good thing they signed kicker Jason Myers.
The Jets rank dead last in the league in red-zone offense. They have scored touchdowns on just six of 20 drives in the red zone, a dismal 30 percent.
“We got to keep working at it,” coach Todd Bowles said. “I like the way we're moving the ball right now. I'd like to turn some of those field goals into touchdowns. It's a series of tweaks here and there that we got to keep working on in trying to get it in.”
Myers has saved the Jets with his foot. He kicked a franchise-record seven field goals in last week’s 42-34 win over the Colts. Myers, who was signed late in camp because of an injury to Cairo Santos, leads the NFL with 16 made field goals. He’s only missed one.
Only Rams running back and MVP-candidate Todd Gurley (70) has scored more points this season than Myers (63). No one could have predicted that.
The Jets obviously are happy to have Myers. But they would be happier if they were able to get the ball in the end zone more often when the defense doesn’t have much field behind them.
“For us as an offense we want to be a lot better in the red zone,” receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “That’s something we got to get better at. It just comes down to all of us just doing better and figuring out ways we can be more efficient and putting up touchdowns rather than field goals.”
That will be a focus when the Jets return to work Wednesday and begin putting together their game plan for the Vikings. Minnesota is second in the NFL in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns 37.5 percent of the time.
Scoring has not been an issue during the Jets’ two-game winning streak. They’ve totaled 76 points in the two home victories, but only two touchdowns have been red-zone scores. Both were passes from Darnold to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.
“As an offense, there's some things that we could correct and get better at,” Darnold said. “If that's not the case every week then we're not hard enough on ourselves. It's good that we have some stuff to correct because we know that as an offense we can only get better.”
Darnold is 11-for-20 in the red zone with three touchdowns. The other three scores were Isaiah Crowell runs.
The Jets have been more proficient at the big play. They have six touchdowns of at least 32 yards and four for more than 40 yards.
Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has shown more diversity the last couple of weeks in his play-calling. But the Jets could try more multiple tight end sets if they get in the red zone against the Vikings. Tight end Jordan Leggett caught one of Darnold’s red-zone touchdowns - in Week 4 at Jacksonville.
The Jets offense will have a different look to it this week since Quincy Enunwa won’t play due to a high ankle sprain he suffered Sunday. He’s been Darnold’s top target.
But this opens up more opportunities for receivers Robby Anderson, Kearse and Pryor, as well as tight ends Leggett, Chris Herndon, Neal Sterling and Eric Tomlinson.
“We’ve got guys who can make plays,” Darnold said. “I know no matter what the defense is doing, we’ve got guys in certain spots that can make plays.”
The Jets could use more of that in the red zone.
Notes & quotes: Looking for insurance for Enunwa, who could miss 3-4 weeks, the Jets reportedly worked out free-agent receivers Rishard Matthews and Corey Coleman Tuesday. … Running back Elijah McGuire (IR/foot) and safety Rontez Miles (PUP/knee surgery) are eligible to return to practice this week, if healthy.