Imagine a football team being unable to use one of its best units late during games.
That’s been the reality for the Jets during the first two weeks. However, the team’s backfield has been successful against the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns.
“Breece [Hall] and Michael [Carter] and the o-line, they’re doing a really nice job running the football and moving people, creating lanes,” coach Robert Saleh said. “There are still a lot of yards to be had too, when you watch a tape and from a running standpoint.
“But we need to put ourselves in more opportunities to run the ball and it’s part of the way the games kind of shaken out towards the end. If we can give ourselves a chance to run the ball for four quarters, we feel like it’d be pretty darn good.”
The Jets are averaging 4.8 yards per rush attempt through two games, which is tied for 10th best in the league. Judging by that number, many would expect the Jets to rely heavily on their rushing attack. But that has not been the case.
The reason is Gang Green has been down in games entering the fourth quarter. That includes the 31-30 comeback victory against the Browns. During that contest, the Jets had one fourth quarter carry and that was a run by quarterback Joe Flacco that lost a yard.
During the first three quarters, Hall rushed for 50 yards on seven carries, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Carter has also contributed as he had 60 yards on 10 carries against the Ravens Week 1.
Meanwhile, Flacco threw the ball 44 times against the Browns. The week before against the Ravens, Flacco had 59 passing attempts, which were the most any Jets quarterback has had since 2011.
The Jets are currently leading the league in pass attempts (104). The Bengals, who will play Gang Green in MetLife Stadium on Sunday, rank second in pass attempts with 89.
“I know what’s going to happen when we are running the ball is Garrett [Wilson], Elijah [Moore] and all of them aren’t getting enough touches,” Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said. “It’s going to be a constant battle. But it’s my responsibility to do what I think is best for this team to win football games and for the offense to have success to score points. Every week is going to be a little bit different.”
WILSON WINS ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
On Thursday, Wilson received an honor after his performance against the Browns.
He was named the NFL’s Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week for Week 2 after catching eight passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns against Cleveland. That also includes the game-winner from Flacco with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Gang Green its first win of the season.
Through two games, Wilson is tied for the team lead in receptions with 12 along with 154 yards, which is second to Corey Davis. While he had a lot of success against the Browns, Wilson said he left some plays out on the field.
“They’re multiple occasions where I could have got open faster,” Wilson said. “You don’t want to watch the plays where you do well because the plays that you don’t do well on are going to cost you a game down the road, going to cost you a rep down the road.
“The corrections are what we are really focused on. Being a receiver and the standard that we hold ourselves to, we expect to go out there and make plays and be good when our number is called.”
The good news for the Jets is defensive end John Franklin-Myers (toe/quad) returned to practice after he wasn’t on the field Wednesday.
Left tackle George Fant (knee), who also didn’t practice Wednesday, returned Thursday on a limited basis. On Wednesday, Saleh told reporters that Fant’s injury was “not concerning” as he was just getting a veteran’s day off to recover.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah (hamstring), safety Jordan Whitehead (calf), Quinnen Williams (foot) and quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) were all limited.
Wide receiver Davis was added to the injury report with a knee injury. He also had a limited designation.