We’ve reached the Bye Week. For our weekly takeaways piece, I thought it would be a good chance to look back on the first ten weeks of the season, both the highs and the lows.
By all accounts, Sam Darnold’s rookie season has contained its share of ups and downs and that is not all too surprising after the Jets made him the youngest Week 1 starting QB in NFL history. The schedule makers also did the Green & White no favors, giving them three games in 11 days to begin the year. Things got off to a rousing start with the season-opening Monday Night thrashing of the Lions in Detroit. Darnold shook off a pick-six on the first play from scrimmage to lead the Jets to a convincing win. He also leads the NFL with 14 interceptions, with a season-high four coming in last week’s defeat in Miami. In fairness, he hasn’t had a full complement of healthy wide receivers for much of the season to go along with an inconsistent running game. The experience he’s gained being out on the field each week is invaluable moving forward, so you hope his foot is well enough to allow him to face the Patriots coming off the Bye.
In his second season, safety Jamal Adams has established himself as one of the leaders on the defensive side of the ball. Adams has had a Pro Bowl-caliber season and the entire league should take notice. He’s thrived inside the box and has made frequent trips into the opposing backfield, registering nine tackles for loss. His fiery personality and passion for the game is one you hope rubs off on each and every guy in the locker room. Linebacker Avery Williamson has been the Jets’ best free agent signing. He’s been a tackling machine, taking over as the quarterback of the Defense. Jordan Jenkins has the team lead in sacks with five. The third-year linebacker from Georgia has seen his totals rise each year and continues to show steady improvement as one of the young, core players on this defense. Safety Marcus Maye has only played in six games this season due to injury. But when on the field, he and Jamal Adams continue to prove to be one of the best young safety tandems in the NFL. Maye received some ribbing from his teammates for his 104-yard INT return against Denver that came up a yard shy of the end zone.
A couple of new additions have been pleasant surprises on special teams, namely Jason Myers and Andre Roberts. Myers has had an All-Pro type season thus far, connecting on 21-of-23 field goal attempts, including four from 50-plus yards out. His kickoffs also routinely go for touchbacks. Not bad considering Myers didn’t join the team until August. Meantime, the veteran Roberts leads the NFL in punt return average at 16.8 yds (min. 10 returns), highlighted by a 78-yard TD in the season opener at Detroit. Punter Lachlan Edwards has also had a nice season, ranking in the Top 10 in average, while also having to punt the second most times in the NFL.
Learning to Fly
After a training camp that was hampered by injury, rookie tight end Chris Herndon is starting to round into the player the organization thought he could be. The fourth-round pick from Miami has evolved into a steady presence in the passing game throughout the season, highlighted by a stretch in October of touchdown grabs in three consecutive games. Herndon’s athletic ability makes him the ideal tight end in the present-day NFL. If the first few months are any indication, the potential is there for the Darnold-Herndon connection to be a big part of the offense for years to come.
You’d have to go with the season opener against the Lions — Monday Night, national television audience and Sam Darnold debut. One of those games where everything came together in all three phases of the game. A 31-point uprising in the 3rd quarter, featuring a Darron Lee pick-six and the Roberts 78-yard punt return touchdown. Darnold tossed a pair of touchdowns and Isaiah Crowell found the end zone twice in his first game in Green & White. All adding up to a 48-17 dismantling of the Lions.
Bills 41, Jets 10. Enough said.
The Bye Week. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and we’ll be back for more takeaways following the Week 12 showdown with the Patriots.