Jets Continue To Be Own Worst Enemy
By Neil Cohen
Just because the New York Jets made half as many penalties against Tennessee doesn’t mean it was all that good.
When they were flagged an amazing 20 times against Buffalo the week before, the Jets somehow were able to squeeze out a win. But the 10 penalties for 66 yards against the Titans, when combined with rookie Geno Smith’s four turnovers, made finding any offensive momentum more difficult. The Jets fell behind quickly and lost 38-13, dropping to 2-2 for the season.
Coach Rex Ryan’s attempted solution for the penalty problem after the Bills game was to make the team do pushups. That didn’t seem to work.
“Apparently I was wrong on the penalties, at least that’s going to take longer than I thought,” Ryan was quoted in an article by Neil Best in Newsday. “But it’s going to get fixed. Hell or high water it’s going to get fixed.”
Not included in the penalties was the hit that knocked out Titans quarterback Jake Locker by Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. The pair could still be fined if the league reviews the play and deem it a late hit.
“If it was late, they would've thrown a flag,” Wilkerson said, in a story by Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “They didn’t throw a flag. The ref told me it was a clean hit. I took my one step and that was that.”
The Jets weren’t always this undisciplined. The 30 penalties the Jets had accumulated in two games was nearly half of how many the team had for the 2001 season. That squad, under Herm Edwards, was flagged a league-low 62 times. Last year’s 6-10 team was flagged 83 times.
On Sunday, the offense was officially flagged seven times, with two more being declined. The defense was responsible for two and one was on special teams. Five of the penalties were called pre-snap, negating the play. Backup wide receiver Ben Obomanu was called for unnecessary roughness, an illegal shift and had a holding penalty declined.
The problems for the team started in the first quarter. The Jets had a third-and-3 when D’Brickashaw Ferguson was called for a false start, pushing the team back 5 yards. Smith followed with an incomplete pass to stall the drive. On the next Tennessee possession, Darrin Walls was called for a defensive hold on an uncatchable ball, keeping the Titans offense on the field and they cashed in on a field goal to go ahead 10-0.
Left guard Vladimir Ducasse didn’t do the team any favors either. After getting four penalties called on him in the Bills game, he had one false start in the second quarter on third-and-8 and another one was declined on the same drive because Smith fumbled the ball and the Titans recovered.
Things shaped up a little better in the second half, but by then, the game was out of reach.
The schedule only gets tougher starting with the next game, a Monday night meeting with the Atlanta Falcons.
If the Jets want to get things running, they have to stop shooting themselves in the foot.