FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Garrett Wilson agreed with Willie Gay’s assessment earlier this week that the New York Jets’ struggling offense appears to be a run-first bunch without Aaron Rodgers leading the way.
Yep, the Jets wide receiver said, the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker has them pegged.
“That’s exactly what we want to do,” Wilson said Friday. “We want to run the ball. We want to tote the rock. So, yeah, man, expect to see a lot of that.”
Wilson’s mischievous grin as he walked away from the media scrum might have suggested otherwise, though.
Either way — by ground or air — the Jets acknowledge they’ll need to at least keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ explosive offense Sunday night if they expect to have any chance of winning.
“We know what problems are going to arise this weekend,” Wilson said. “And it’s going to be our job to respond. We feel like we’ll be able to, for sure.”
That’s a bit of a bold statement, considering the Jets rank last or close to it in several offensive categories and have scored just 10 points in each of their last two games against Dallas and New England. Meanwhile, Kansas City has scored 78 points in its three games, including a 41-10 thrashing of Chicago last Sunday.
Gay raised some eyebrows when he was asked about Zach Wilson and the Jets’ offense. He smiled and appeared to hold back a laugh before saying it appears New York is in sort of a “panic mode” without Rodgers. Gay referred to the Jets’ run game, intimating New York isn’t looking to throw the ball much while its current quarterback struggles mightily.
“It’s not about them,” coach Robert Saleh said. “It’s about us and what we have to do. It doesn’t bother me.”
There has been plenty of chatter swirling outside the Jets’ facility, with frustrated fans and critical media dissecting the poor play of the offense, the lack of production and development by Zach Wilson and highlighting perceived mistakes made by Saleh and his staff and general manager Joe Douglas.
Even Joe Namath went on a rant during a radio interview this week calling for Zach Wilson to be benched permanently and for the Jets to make wholesale changes to its coaching staff and front office.
The players, including the embattled quarterback, have insisted the noise outside the building is blocked out. But Saleh understands the reality is some of it seeps in.
“There’s an old saying that you keep sweeping the poop under the rug and eventually the smell is going to come through,” Saleh said. “So, you address it, you talk about it, and it’s not something you want to labor on. It’s like, ‘Hey, this is what it is,’ and then you go back to, now what? Yeah, we acknowledge whatever’s going on in our lives — we acknowledge good things, we acknowledge bad things, we acknowledge everything.
“But the point is, OK, you’ve got that, you’ve acknowledged it, now what are you going to do about it?”
That’s the big question, especially on an offense that has been ineffective in third-down opportunities to start the season. The Jets are 8 for 37 in those situations, a 22% conversion rate that ranks them last in the NFL.
“I mean, if you take our body of work these past three games, it hasn’t been pretty,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “That’s facts. And again, like anybody that questions us, we have the right to prove everybody wrong. But in the end, we have to do it. The offense has to come together. They have to play downhill, physical football and not get these negative yardage plays.”
Otherwise, it could be a long night for the Jets against the high-scoring Chiefs.
“When you have someone coming into to your place on ‘Sunday Night Football,’ it’s definitely a must-win,” Garrett Wilson said. “I mean, we’re not where we want to be right now record-wise, playing ball-wise. So we feel like we’ve got to pull it all together this week, and we’re excited for the opportunity.”
NOTES: S Tony Adams (hamstring) and OL Wes Schweitzer (concussion) were ruled out. … DT Quinnen Williams was added as one of the team’s four captains. “That guy is such a big vocal leader in this room and on this team,” Saleh said, adding Williams finished fourth in the player voting before the season. “He says all the right things, he does all the right things and stands for everything that we believe in.” Rodgers was voted a captain on offense, but Saleh said the Jets haven’t considered a replacement to represent that side of the ball. … Saleh wore a Farmingdale High School T-shirt at his news conference in honor of those affected by the school bus accident last week.
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