4-Down Territory: Fixing Russell Wilson, Jets QBs, Jacoby Brissett’s and Aaron Rodgers’ futures

Russell Wilson, New York Jets quarterbacks, and the futures of Jacoby Brissett and Aaron Rodgers. It’s a QB-loaded “4-Down Territory.”

Every week in “4-Down Territory,” Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire and Draft Wire go over the things you need to know about, and the things you need to watch, in the NFL right now. With Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season in the books, there was a lot to cover!

This week, Doug and Luke discuss:

  1. How to fix Russell Wilson, if Russell Wilson is fixable at this point;
  2. Whether the Jets need to reset their idea of a franchise quarterback;
  3. Why Jacoby Brissett should be a starter somewhere in the NFL; and
  4. Whither Aaron Rodgers in 2023 and beyond?

You can watch this week’s episode of “4-Down Territory” right here:

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How bad was Zach Wilson? The Jets have an actual passing game without him!

With quarterback Zach Wilson on the bench, and journeyman Mike White on the field, the New York Jets have a credible passing game.

Nobody could blame the New York Jets for benching Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, after Wilson failed on the field last Sunday against the New England Patriots, and failed again off the field when he refused to take responsibility for his awful performance. In Wilson’s place, head coach Robert Saleh installed Mike White, the journeyman from South Florida and Western Kentucky selected in the fifth round of the 2018 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, and who never started a regular-season game until last season for the Jets.

In the first half of the Jets’ Sunday game against the Chicago Bears, White completed 16 of 20 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 149.0. That represents more passing yards (231), touchdown passes (one) than Wilson had in his last two games… combined.

Rookie receiver Garrett Wilson, who had quite a bit to say about his former quarterback, seems to be pretty happy with the change.

The Jets were up 17-10 at the half. With their great defense, a credible quarterback, and a 6-4 record, they could be a serious threat in the AFC playoff race.

As for Zach Wilson… well, he might want to get comfortable on the bench.

Slippery ball turns Jets field-goal attempt into football follies

A field-goal attempt turned into football follies for the Jets

The New York Jets were attempting a field goal on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

However, the conditions were slick at MetLife and it turned the try for 3 points into a comedy of errors by Robert Saleh’s team.

Enjoy.

Nov. 22, 2022: 10-year anniversary of Mark Sanchez and the ‘Butt Fumble’

10 years after, Mark Sanchez, the Jets and the Butt Fumble

It is synonymous with Mark Sanchez, the New York Jets, and NFL infamy.

On Thanksgiving 2012, one of the most replayed downs in NFL history occurred.

This brings us to the 10-year anniversary of the Butt Fumble.

Sanchez and the Jets were obliterated by the Patriots, 49-19, and became, um, the butt of jokes for eternity.

The Patriots outscored the Jets 35-0 in the second quarter, which was highlighted by the “Butt Fumble.”

Sanchez’s face slammed right into Brandon Moore’s backside and Steve Gregory ran 32 yards into the end zone for the touchdown.

New England scored 3 touchdowns in 52 seconds in the quarter. Shane Vereen started the carnage by combining with Tom Brady on an 83-yard pass play.

Julian Edelman closed the trifecta by running a fumble back 22 yards.

4-Down Territory: Hendon Hooker, Zach Wilson, OBJ’s future, best NFL team

In this week’s “4-Down Territory,” Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling discuss Hendon Hooker, Zach Wilson, OBJ, and the NFL’s best team.

Every week in “4-Down Territory,” Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire and Draft Wire go over the things you need to know about, and the things you need to watch, in the NFL right now. With Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season in the books, there was a lot to cover!

This week, Doug and Luke get into these key topics:

  1. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker’s season is over due to a torn ACL. Has he done enough to be a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft?
  2. Is it time for the New York Jets to punt on quarterback Zach Wilson — not just this season, but moving forward into 2023 free agency and the draft?
  3. Which interested team is the best fit for Odell Beckham Jr.?
  4. Which team is the NFL’s best right now?

You can watch this week’s episode of “4-Down Territory” right here:

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Zach Wilson’s inability to read coverages could be his final, fatal flaw

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson seems to have issues with everything on the field. Disguised coverages may be his biggest problem.

It seems as if everyone’s talking about New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, his awful performance against the New England Patriots on Sunday, and his refusal to take any sort of responsibility for his part in the loss.

When Wilson was asked whether he let the Jets’ defense down by completing nine of 22 passes for 77 yards, no touchdowns, and two dropped interceptions (yes, it could have been even worse), and he simply said, “No,” that was the End of All Things in Jetsland. As a quarterback, you can get away with being obnoxious if you’re great. And you can get away with being terrible if you’re s standup guy — there are scads of examples of both. But if you can’t hit water falling out of a boat, AND you’re ducking accountability like it’s an overload blitz? Your tenure in the NFL will be very short, indeed.

Zach Wilson said he didn’t let the Jets’ defense down. Here’s why he’s wrong.

The Patriots defense, which has tortured Wilson this season in two Jets losses, didn’t seem to care about his performance at the podium, or any other behavioral aberrations. In New England’s 10-3 win, they were more grateful that Wilson did what he’s done all season — go into full head-explode mode when a defense shows him a different coverage look than he expects.

“We definitely know those pre-snap disguises are huge,” safety Kyle Dugger said. “We know that he’s going to take what he sees and have an idea what he’s going to do already in his head. So, we definitely made sure that we were disguising heavy so that post-snap, he would have to think a little more, take a little longer and our D-line can do what they do. So, definitely pre-snap disguise was big for us.”

It was in this game, and it has been all season, Per Pro Football Focus’ tracking, Wilson has seen some sort of safety disguise on 151 of his dropbacks this season. And under those circumstances, he’s completed 21 of 35 passes for 200 yards, one completion of 20 or more air yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. He’s run 11 times, which is when he’s most confused by coverage switches, and he’s just trying to get through the play. He’s also taken six sacks, which tells you the same thing in a different way, and confirms Dugger’s scouting report.

Here’s the thing — when a divisional opponent you face at least two times a season, and might face again in the postseason, comes right out and says how they can make you vulnerable — and then they go right ahead and do it — that is an embarrassment for you as a player. Or, at least, it should be an embarrassment.

And in an NFL where quarterbacks are seeing more disguised coverages than ever before, Wilson’s issues with them this far into his career serve as yet another red flag. Not exactly optimal, but nothing about the Jets’ quarterback situation is these days.

Zach Wilson said he didn’t let the Jets’ defense down. Here’s why he’s wrong.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is the rogue factor that could keep him team out of the playoffs. Whether he thinks so or not.

In the 2021 season, the New York Jets had, by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics, the NFL’s worst defense. Through an outstanding draft and series of free agent moves, not to mention a dynamic coaching staff led by head coach Robert Saleh, that same Jets franchise came into Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots ranked sixth in Defensive DVOA this year.

That ranking will probably go up after what happened in the Patriots game. The Jets’ defense limited New England to three offensive points. The Patriots had five three-and-out drives, and quarterback Mac Jones was sacked six times, with eight quarterback hits.

But with all that, the Jets lost the game, 10-3. Why? Because the offense, led by quarterback Zach Wilson, was historically awful. The Jets punted 10 times in this game, and Wilson had just nine completions on 22 attempts for 77 yards. Anytime you punt more times than your quarterback has completions, that is a very bad sign. On the tenth punt, with five seconds left in the game, rookie cornerback Marcus Jones returned it 84 yards for the game’s only touchdown.

After the game, Wilson was asked if he had let his defense down.

The defense may see things differently, though they might not come right out and say it.

“It was really a do-our-job type of mentality,” linebacker Quincy Williams said after the game. “For the defense, it was the coverage and the rush working together. We came out with a lot of sacks, we were playing violent and everybody was rushing to the ball.”

Saleh wanted to make sure everybody knew where the problems weren’t.

“I thought the defense was outstanding,” he said. “I thought our D-line got after it. We had some missed tackles in the first half, but the sequence where we had the penalty, then the sack to make it a hard field goal at the end of the half, I thought that was really, really good by the defense. But then we just couldn’t capitalize on their good play.”

Wilson’s issues were not limited to this game. Not by a long shot. Through the first 10 weeks of the 2022 season, per Pro Football Focus, only Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett had a lower passer rating (68.8) than Wilson’s 75.5. Wilson’s passer rating under pressure coming into Sunday’s game was 6.6 — by far the NFL’s worst, as Mac Jones ranked second at 27.2. When pressured this season, Wilson had completed 11 of 52 passes for 158 yards, one touchdown, and five interceptions. Wilson’s completion rate under pressure of 21.2% under pressure is also by far the NFL’s worst — Steelers backup Mitch Trubisky ranks second at 34.4. Wilson’s yards per attempt of 3.0 under pressure? Also the NFL’s worst by far; Trubisky ranks second at 3.6.

Want more? Wilson is one of the NFL’s worst deep passers. Coming into this game, he had completed four of 16 passes of 20 or more air yards for 195 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions. Only Pickett (19.9) and Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals (24.9) had a worse passer rating on deep balls than Wilson’s 38.3.

There is nothing that Wilson does at even a league-average level, and that’s quite an indictment for a quarterback selected second overall in the 2021 draft, and who has started 20 career games.

“We’re all hurting,” linebacker and defensive captain C.J. Mosley said after the Patriots game. “We felt like we played a hell of a game. It’s tough to take a loss like that. But we’ve got seven games to go, there’s still a lot of football left and a lot of ways to get better as a team. We’ve just got to keep moving forward.”

When it came to the offense, Saleh didn’t mince any words.

Saleh hasn’t fully committed to pulling Wilson in favor of somebody else; that may have more to do with who’s defined as “anybody else” on the current roster (Hello, Joe Flacco and Mike White) than any true belief in Wilson’s ultimate potential.

That said, the oxygen is running thin. With this loss, the Jets are at the bottom of the AFC West at 6-4, looking up at the 6-4 Patriots, the 7-3 Buffalo Bills, and the 7-3 Miami Dolphins. No matter how great that defense is, it simply can’t transcend an offense that can’t function.

And right now, the Jets’ second-year quarterback is the problem that could keep this team out of the playoffs. Whether he thinks so or not.

Been a long time since the Jets were ahead of both the Bills and Patriots

The Jets are ahead of both the Bills and Patriots for the first time in a long time in the AFC East

A look at the AFC East standings likely would make you do a double-take.

The script has been flipped in this bizarre NFL season.

The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots currently sit in third and fourth place, respectively.

The Miami Dolphins lead the AFC East and the New York Jets are in second place.

When was the last time Gang Green was ahead of both the Bills and the Patriots?

How about Week 12 of the 2010 season? That was more than a decade ago.

The Jets defeated the Cincinnati Bengals on Thanksgiving 2010, 26-10, to improve to 9-2.

The Bills were 2-9 after losing to the Steelers, 19-16, in overtime, that week.

The Patriots, who usually were the problem, didn’t play until the Sunday of that week, November 28.

So, technically for a few days, the New York Jets were 9-2 and the Patriots were 8-2.

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

The Patriots then downed the Lions, 45-24, to get square with the Jets.

And, of course, on Dec. 6, the Jets and Patriots met with each team at 9-2.

Final score: New England 45, New York 3.

Tom Brady threw for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns while Mark Sanchez threw for 164 with 3 interceptions.

4-Down Territory: Midseason awards!

Players of the Year, Rookies of the Year. Underrated players, and MVP. It’s time for 4-Down Territory’s Midseason Awards with Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling.

Every week in “4-Down Territory,” Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire and Draft Wire go over the things you need to know about, and the things you need to watch, in the NFL right now. With Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season in the books, there was a lot to cover!

This week, Doug and Luke present their Midseason Awards, because in a 17-game season, “midseason” is whatever you want it to be. Kind of like the Colts’ coaching situation.

  1. Who are the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year so far?
  2. Who are the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year?
  3. Who are the NFL’s most underrated players?
  4. And finally, who’s the league MVP at our halfway point?

You can watch this week’s “4-Down Territory” right here:

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