There is no shortage of story lines around the Seahawks-Jets game this week.
Seahawks star safety Jamal Adams will play against his former team for the first time since he forced a trade out of New York last summer. Seahawks right tackle Brandon Shell spent the past four seasons playing for the Jets, before signing with Seattle as a free agent last spring. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was 42 when he got his first head-coaching job with the Jets in 1994.
And then there’s the drama surrounding the Jets and their quest to avoid NFL infamy. At 0-12, they in jeopardy of joining the 2008 Detroit Lions and the 2017 Cleveland Browns as the only 0-16 teams in league history.
Three things to know about the Jets this week ahead of Sunday’s game in Seattle:
New DC a familiar face
The Jets will have a new defensive coordinator against the Seahawks. And though Carroll said Monday he isn’t sure what kind of scheme changes Frank Bush will implement this week, Carroll is familiar with Bush — who played at North Carolina State in the early 1980s when Carroll was the defensive coordinator there.
The Jets promoted Bush after veteran D-coordinator Gregg Williams was fired Monday, just hours after Williams’ disastrous call cost the Jets a victory Sunday.
The Raiders beat the Jets, 31-28, in heartbreaking fashion Sunday when Derek Carr hit Henry Ruggs for a 46-yard touchdown with six seconds left, after Ruggs was left in single coverage against cornerback Lamar Jackson, an undrafted rookie.
Jackson was left all alone — with no safety help — because Williams had called an all-out blitz.
“Our guys work way too hard to go through this (expletive),” Jets coach Adam Gase told reporters after the game. “These players deserve better than going through that.”
Jets safety Marcus Maye was blunt in his postgame comments.
“I just felt like we could’ve been on a better call in that situation,” Maye said, via the New York Daily News. “That point in the game, gotta be on a better call.”
Former Jets coach Rex Ryan, on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Monday, said the blitz was the worst call he’s ever seen.
“Been around the thing for 58 years, 30 years as a coach,” Ryan said. “That’s the dumbest call ever. There’s a time and place for Cover Zero (man coverage with no deep help). That sure ain’t it. It’s just stupid.”
Gase on the hot seat
There’s little doubt that Gase will follow Williams out the door soon.
Gase, in his second season as the Jets’ coach, has a 7-21 record, and there’s more and more the evidence to suggest they have overtaken the Browns as the league’s most dysfunctional organization.
How is Gase still employed? At this point, losing is their best path to a turnaround — meaning, they need to “tank” to secure the No. 1 pick in next spring’s NFL draft, when they could have a chance to select Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. Even one victory could spoil that shot at the top pick, with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11) hot on their heels in the race to the “top.”
Darnold out, too?
A headline in the New York Daily News on Monday seems to sum up the general feelings around Sam Darnold: “Sam Darnold throws a touchdown pass … this isn’t a joke.”
Against the Raiders on Sunday, Darnold threw his first touchdown pass since Week 3 against Indianapolis, snapping his ignominious streak of four consecutive starts — and 147 pass attempts — without a TD.
Darnold added a second TD pass in the second quarter Sunday, and he ran for a 4-yard TD in the fourth quarter. But he also threw one interception and lost two fumbles.
As the Daily News noted, the four-game streak without a TD pass was the longest by a Jets QB since Geno Smith made five starts in 2013 without one. Smith, of course, is now Seattle’s backup.
Darnold had missed four games midway through the season because of a shoulder injury.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft out of USC, Darnold has five TD passes against nine interceptions this season, and a QB rating of 35.5 that ranks 32nd in the league.
Darnold is still just 23, but it his time with the Jets could be nearing an end. Gase acknowledged last week he hasn’t done a good enough job developing the young QB.
“I came here to help him, help him develop his career, and we haven’t been able to do that,” Gase told New York reporters.
Darnold, when relayed Gase’s comments, took personal accountability.
“First of all, I take full responsibility for the way I’ve played,” he told reporters. “I haven’t played well enough. Like I continue to say every single week, we have great people in this organization. With that being said, everyone is going to take blame for certain part of us losing.
“But for me, personally, I’ve got to play better and put the team in the right position to have a chance to win games and make it close at the end.”