The Jets are in a familiar position in late October. It’s the halfway mark of their season, and they’re 3-5 for the third consecutive year. This doesn’t sit well with anyone in their locker room, particularly the coach.
“It’s very frustrating,” Todd Bowles said on a conference call Monday. “We got to put our heads down and we got to correct this and we got to try to come out and win some ballgames.
“The season’s not over. We’re halfway through. At 3-5, you don’t like where you are. But we dug ourselves this hole. We’ve got to dig ourselves out.”
Bowles, of course, is the common denominator. He’s in his fourth season running the team.
The opportunity is there for the Jets to go into their bye week with a .500 record. They play two winnable games — at Miami this week, then home against Buffalo. But the Jets need to get healthy and stop hurting themselves.
In Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Bears, the Jets were dismal offensively, gaining only 98 yards through three quarters and finishing with 207. They had 37 yards on a meaningless drive at the end of the game that fittingly concluded with a false-start penalty. It was their fifth pre-snap offensive penalty, and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold said it was the resounding reason they got nothing going.
“Just shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said Monday. “The penalties killed us. If we don’t have the penalties, if we don’t have the early false starts, the game’s a different game.
“It’s just about controlling the penalties and controlling what we can control to make the game easier. I think if we cut down the penalties, we’ll be fine.”
The Jets had seven pre-snap penalties and eight overall to two for the Bears. Last week against Minnesota, the Jets also had eight penalties, two more than the Vikings.
Penalties have been a trademark of Bowles’ teams. He was disgusted by all the false starts and said it is something they will continue to try to fix.
“That was probably the worst part of the game,” Bowles said. “We do everything all the time. It’s a concentration thing on certain guys at certain times. We got to get that fixed as coaches. They got to fix it as players. The false starts were the most disheartening thing in the whole ballgame.”
Execution was a major issue, but injuries played a factor in scoring a season-low 10 points and Darnold throwing for only 153 yards, his fewest in eight NFL games.
The receivers had trouble getting separation against the Bears, and Darnold completed only 14 of 29 passes. It was the second straight week he completed less than 50 percent of his throws.
It’s too soon to know whether Robby Anderson, who missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, will be back for Miami. The Jets had better hope he is, though. It’s doubtful that Quincy Enunwa (high ankle sprain) will play.
The Jets could look to sign a receiver — they picked up Rishard Matthews last week — or trade for one. The trade deadline is Tuesday, and the Jets are expected to be active because they’re down so many skill players. They lost starting running back Bilal Powell for the season with a neck injury last week. It’s unlikely that the Jets will mortgage too much of the future for a rental, though.
Bowles, who said his team has made strides, is focused on improving from within, and he believes the Jets are not that far off.
“Mentally, we’re in a good place,” he said. “We’ve just got to correct some things on both sides of the ball. We’re fighting hard. I think we can get them corrected. I feel like we’re closer from a chemistry standpoint and a camaraderie standpoint. We just got to make some plays.”