Jets’ struggling offense sputtering to finish under Bates
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Jeremy Bates knows what the New York Jets are doing on offense just isn’t cutting it.
The offensive coordinator has heard all about it, taking his fair share of criticism from fans and media the past several weeks.
“This profession is about grinding,” Bates said Thursday. “You’ve got to move to the next week. You can’t look at last week and lose sleep on it. You’ve got to turn the page.”
The problem for Bates and the Jets has been that the story has been pretty much the same, week after week.
New York has scored one or fewer touchdown on offense in a franchise-worst five consecutive games, all losses during the Jets’ current six-game skid. And, with the way things have been going — or, not going — the 22 points they put up during a 26-22 defeat at Tennessee last Sunday could be considered a scoring outburst.
It was the most New York has scored since beating Indianapolis 42-34 on Oct. 14, its most recent win. Before last Sunday, the Jets scored 17, 10, 6, 10 and 13 points in their previous five games.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Bates said. “We’re not happy with our outcomes, but the opposing team is not going to feel sorry for us. So we’ve got to keep working.”
New York has been limited to one field goal on 17 fourth-quarter possessions over its past four games. Eight of those drives ended with punts, five with interceptions, two on downs and one missed field goal — a rarity during a season in which kicker Jason Myers has been one of the team’s MVPs.
“We haven’t scored in quite some time consistently and we get stuck every time we get there,” coach Todd Bowles said. “Thank goodness for Myers, but that’s not enough to win ballgames.”
There have been whispers for weeks about some unhappiness in the overall game plans on offense, and veiled criticisms by some prominent players.
“I still have a job right now,” wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said after the Jets’ loss to Tennessee. “I’d love to say what my opinion of that is, but I’ll just keep that to myself.”
The Jets have the league’s 30th-ranked offense, and few expected New York to be a powerhouse with rookie Sam Darnold learning on the job while starting at quarterback.
But, the No. 3 overall draft pick has missed the past three games with a foot injury and veteran Josh McCown has been no better at getting the team into the end zone.
There has not been an offense-led TD drive in seven quarters, a span that dates to the first quarter of the Jets’ 27-13 loss to New England when Jermaine Kearse caught a 16-yard pass from McCown. Other than that, it has been lots of field goals by Myers — seven, in fact — and a pick-6 interception return by Trumaine Johnson.
“As playmakers, we just have to step up and make plays,” running back Isaiah Crowell said. “We’re doing a great job of moving the ball, but for some reason we just couldn’t get into the end zone. We just have to make more plays.”
Sounds simple. But, of course, that just hasn’t been the case most of the season.
As it has turned out, the big performance against Indianapolis was an outlier, as were the season-opening 48-17 win at Detroit and the Week 5 34-16 victory over Denver.
It all has some wondering if the Jets’ offense is simply broken.
“As an offensive weapon, I don’t want to believe that,” Enunwa said. “I want to believe that we are all capable of scoring. It’s hard to really say.”
Bates is in his first season as the Jets’ offensive coordinator after serving as the quarterbacks coach last year.
It’s likely his last.
Bates’ job is in serious jeopardy, especially considering the probability that Bowles will not be back after this season. That leaves the coaching staff behind closed doors trying to solve the offense while somehow maintaining the confidence to believe things can be turned around over the next four weeks.
“We’re professionals,” Bates said. “This is what we do for a living and we’ve got to come to work every day and give it our best.”
If there’s any positive to focus on, it’s that Darnold appears ready to start for the first time in more than a month.
Darnold has been a full participant at practice this week , and starting with a game at Buffalo, the final four games could serve as a something to build off.
“Absolutely,” Bates said. “Not just for the quarterback but for the team, for every player, for the building. We want to win, winning is contagious and it’ll take you off to the offseason fired up about working on your craft.”
NOTES: Crowell didn’t practice for the second straight day with an injured toe and will likely be a game-time decision. “It’s a concern,” Bowles said. “Obviously, it’s bothering him, but we’ll see how he feels (Friday).” ... McCown (back), WR Robby Anderson (ankle) and TE Jordan Leggett (knee) were limited at practice. ... Enunwa (ankle), LB Darron Lee (non-injury related) and OL Spencer Long (knee/finger/illness) returned as full participants.