LAS VEGAS — The New York Jets’ season has turned into a game of Mad Libs. Change a few nouns or adjectives here and there, maybe, but at the end, the story is still the same.
The defense plays well. The offense can’t finish drives. The offense doesn’t get into the end zone. Zach Wilson makes some confounding decisions. Greg Zuerlein has a busy day, kicking field goals, the only source of offense. Thomas Morstead has a busy day, punting, because the offense can’t consistently move the ball. Penalties kill drives. The defense does its job. The Jets are still in the game at the end. Then it’s over.
Robert Saleh calls out the self-inflicted wounds in his postgame news conference, but feels the Jets are close. He won’t blame the quarterback or the offensive coordinator. The defensive players bite their tongues and talk about how the team would win if they could only score points themselves, or hold their opponents to zero points instead of 3, 6, 10 or 16. The offensive players are at a loss for words.
Rinse, repeat. It’s all the same — and Saleh doesn’t seem to have an itch to make the sort of change that might jolt the offense into competence. He won’t bench Wilson. He won’t take play-calling away from offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The Jets lost to the Raiders 16-12 on Sunday, a team so dysfunctional it fired its head coach, general manager, and offensive coordinator a few weeks ago, with one of the worst defenses in the league and a fourth-round rookie starting at quarterback. And it was the same as it ever was.