Where the Jets still need to step up their game on offense to topple Patriots
Where the Jets really fell down (literally) last season was in the running game, where Frank Gore was heroic, turning down Social Security payments to play for the Jets. However, Gore is gone now and the Jets have no impressive running back to replace him.
Tevin Coleman is the tentative replacement, and perhaps the monstrous offensive line will be sufficient to help him find extra yards that were not there for him earlier in his career. But he had only 53 yards rushing last season after being bothered by a sprained knee. Jets, are you serious?
Fourth-round pick Michael Carter at least has a pulse, so he is going to get his share of snaps during the season. It would not be crazy for a fourth-round running back to assume a starting job as a rookie. Carter played for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC, where he had 4,060 total yards from scrimmage in four seasons, including 1,512 yards in 2020 with 11 touchdowns.
At Carter’s Pro Day, the speedy ‘back recorded a 4.50-second 40-yard dash, 34.0-inch vertical jump, 9-feet-11- inch broad jump, 6.87-second three-cone drill and 16 reps on the bench press. Those numbers are more than impressive enough to earn a shot to be starting running back in the NFL if he has the knack for running for daylight.
Young quarterbacks need to be able to count on someone in the backfield to get the team three yards and a cloud of dust on a consistent basis. If Wilson has to pass on every down, it may be asking too much, despite his obvious talent.
The Patriots have run-stoppers, including Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson, Christian Barmore, and Anfernee Jennings, prepared for this matchup. They may force the Jets to become one dimensional with a rookie quarterback at the helm, and that is usually bad. Coach Belichick is famous for beating up on rookie quarterbacks, and installing rookie quarterbacks without a running game just seems like a really bad concept. For the Jets’ sake, they better hope that they have someone in Michael Carter or some other player on the roster that we do not know about yet.
Handicappers should penalize the Jets’ offense for the inexperience of the starting quarterback, especially in the early going, despite the general belief in his long-term potential. The lack of a coherent running game hurts their offense in the short run and probably impedes the development of Wilson as much as any direct feature of the passing game per se.