After a much anticipated slow start to the season, the New York Jets find themselves at 0-2 and with a litany of issues that need to be addressed. While some of these issues were expected, many of them are preventable and can be fixed with smarter roster management. Here are five moves that should be made at some point during a favorable three week stretch in the Jets schedule against the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Browns.
Kacy Rodgers has to go
At some point, Todd Bowles is going to have to let Kacy Rodgers take the fall for this defense or risk going with him at the end of the season. The Jets defense might be young, but there is enough talent where performances like Sunday should not happen. Bowles assumed more play-calling responsibilities heading into this season, which leads one to wonder what Rodgers responsibilities are. Whatever his true role may be during the week, there is a clear need for a new voice to help prepare this defense. Week by week the defense continues to move in the wrong direction and could certainly benefit from a coach presenting things in a different way, or perhaps even challenging our stubborn head coach to adapt some of his failed ways.
Matt Forte to 3rd running back
While Forte had a productive day against the Raiders, it is clear that Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire are more explosive. More importantly they are younger and likely to be a part of the 2018 Jets. Forte still has some value but should not be the primary back at this point. His role should be similar how the Saints have used Adrian Peterson early on, someone playing at a higher level than Forte.
Josh McCown to the bench
Credit Josh McCown for spreading the ball around and getting the offense to at least function as a cohesive unit in two difficult road games. That being said, the team is in rebuild mode and even the ceiling for Josh McCown will not make the Jets a winner. McCown will put up some points but his inability to stretch the field, even when given sufficient time to work in the pocket, will remain a concern. With Bryce Petty now healthy, it would make sense to get him into some games where he can build his confidence.
Sign a fullback
As if this wasn’t easily predicted based on the failures of last season, the Jets continue to struggle on 3rd and 1 as they operate without a fullback. John Morton has been creative, using Brent Qvale and Ben Ijalana as a sixth blocker, as well as putting Will Tye in the backfield, but this is a need that should have been addressed immediately in the offseason. If the plan is to establish the run on offense to help whichever young quarterback will eventually be under center, then it remains curious as to why the right personnel hasn’t been added.
Change at returner? – Since the departure of special teams guru Mike Westhoff, the Jets special teams continue to disappoint in a big way. Not only has there been a lack of impact plays in the return game, but year after year there seem to be multiple games that are given away due to poor coverage on returns or fumbles. Sunday wasn’t likely headed for victory, but before Kalif Raymond’s fumble the Jets were set to enter the locker room having played a solid half of competitive football. Instead of providing the team a boost, the Jets special teams once again provided a blow that the team was unable to recover from. Have we reached the point where we will settle for Jeremy Kerley signaling fair catch instead of hold our breath on each return? Close, but not yet. Raymond does possess some exciting tools, but the muffed punts are unacceptable. My guess is that Raymond has one more fumble left before a switch is made to Kerley, as the team cannot continue giving games away on special teams.