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Jets continue mantra: We must cash in on opportunities

Head coach Robert Saleh of the Jets looks

Head coach Robert Saleh of the Jets looks on against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

HOUSTON — The Jets will start their third different quarterback in three weeks on Sunday, hoping last week’s clinic on how to lose a football game is out of their system.

They crossed midfield eight times against the Dolphins last Sunday and scored only 17 points. Capitalizing on opportunities has been as much of a focus this week as getting Zach Wilson reacclimated with the offense.

Wilson returns against the Texans after a four-game absence with a knee injury. Mike White and Joe Flacco started in his place. If Wilson is going to lead the Jets to their third win, they can’t afford to come up empty on as many scoring opportunities as they did last week.

"You get annoyed. You get frustrated. You know you’re so close," right tackle Morgan Moses said. "When you leave those plays on the field and you’ve seen it in practice, you’ve seen the looks and you don’t lock in and execute, it leaves a sucky feeling in your whole body.

"You got to figure out how to execute in those moments. We got to be able to feel that when we get in that zone and we smell blood, it’s almost to a point where it’s not we’re going to score. We have to score."

Mental and physical breakdowns against Miami led to the Jets’ third straight loss.

They had two missed field goals, wrong personnel on the field that forced them to waste two third-quarter timeouts, a delay-of-game penalty because Robert Saleh decided against kicking a field goal and two defensive penalties on what would have been third-down stops. Miami scored 10 points in those two series. The Jets lost by seven, 24-17.

The Jets kicked themselves after losing that very winnable game. Sunday’s game will feature two 2-8 teams in what essentially will be a battle for draft position.

The Jets head into this weekend holding the No. 2 pick in the draft as well as No. 6, which they acquired from Seattle for Jamal Adams. But they aren’t looking that far into the future.

They hope to see Wilson run the offense in a fashion similar to the two quarterbacks who started in his absence — White and Flacco — and win some games down the stretch of this season.

Saleh has stressed the importance of Wilson continuing to improve and the coaches teaching this young team how to win.

"It’s hard to win," Moses said. "But when you’re kicking yourself in the foot every opportunity that you get, it makes it even harder."

C.J. Mosley said Saleh challenges the coaches and players all the time, and the main message this week was "not to beat ourselves."

"It just comes down to everyone knowing their details and executing, especially when it’s crunch time," Mosley said. "Everyone doing their job and doing the right thing. That would be another step we have to take toward getting better. When it’s crunch time or in those tough situations when we need those plays, everyone has to do their job."

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