It’s Time for a New Playcaller: Charlie Frye

Charlie Frye and Tua Tagovailoa
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Dolphins offense was a cause of concern this offseason.

Being middle of the pack in points and near the bottom of yards in 2020, Miami needed to make a change.

In an effort to maximize a group led by 2nd year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Miami acquired deep threat receivers Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. The goal was to produce more big plays and create separation, a category Miami heavily struggled with in 2020.

Catering the offense to Tagovailoa was clearly the main goal, and truly showed when Miami made their choice at offensive coordinator.

New OC’s

Rather than bringing in an outside hire such as Mike McDaniel or Pep Hamilton, the Dolphins promoted position coaches George Godsey and Eric Studesville to “co-coordinators.”

The idea was to incorporate more of the RPO game and make the offense earlier for Tua, allowing him to make easy reads and control the ball.

Former QB Dan Orlovsky speaks on Tua’s ability in the RPO.

Changes were visible, as we saw a more comfortable and confident Tagovailoa in preseason, but as we have progressed through September, it seems that the idea may have been fools gold.

Although Tagovailoa has missed the majority of the last 2 games with fractured ribs, his time in the offense wasn’t as productive as many would have hoped.

Failure to Launch

Putting up a meager 17 points in week 1, Miami struggled to move the ball, as the RPO (run pass option) game became easy to stop, and big plays were hard to come by.

But following the injury to their starting QB, the Dolphins’ offense has shown more of it’s flaws.

Playcalling has been as bad as ever, with Miami getting away from the run early, lacking situational awareness, not taking enough shots, and, most importantly, misusing their weapons.

Miami runs a screen pass that gets stopped for a safety.

Players such as Jaylen Waddle, who was one of the fastest players in the 2021 draft, aren’t being given room to work, being used as security blankets, similar to Jarvis Landry’s usage in Miami (Landry is much less athletic).

Jaylen Waddle is being misused in Miami’s offense.

Meanwhile, Dolphins fans on Twitter and elsewhere are getting impatient, looking for a change. Many are looking for a replacement coordinator for next year, with some already calling for the firing of Brian Flores over his failure to produce a high quality group.

But Miami needs to make a change now, and it should come in the promotion of Quarterbacks coach Charlie Frye.

Prior Experience

Frye, a former NFL QB, has experience calling plays in college, leading the Central Michigan offense to an explosive 31.3 points per game in 2020. Behind his run calls game, CMU finished 3rd in their conference in rushing yards per game.

Frye is also looked upon as someone who helped turn the program around. Behind his offensive creativity and explosion, Central Michigan went from a 1 win team in 2018 to a MAC West Division winner in 2019.

Charlie Frye and Tua at the Elite 11

Coming out of high school, Tagovailoa participated in the Elite 11 football camp, where the best young QBs in the nation compete to be the best of the group.

Going into the camp, Tua was looked at as a raw prospect. Former NFL QB Trent Dilfer questioned his technique and looked at him as a raw talent, and was unsure if he could play the position.

But, through the coaching of Charlie Frye, who worked with the camp (and developed a relationship with Tua), Tagovailoa was crowned Elite 11 MVP.

Trent Dilfer names Tua Tagovailoa Elite 11 MVP

His ability to maximize the former Alabama QB is one Miami doesn’t have in Godsey or Studesville. Their relationship is clearly strong. Frye relays the plays into Tua’s ear, and they have known each other since the latter was in high school.

Bucky Brooks explains Tua Tagovailoa’s relationship with Charlie Frye.

If Miami hopes to maximize Tua Tagovailoa (when he returns from injury) , along with former college teammate Jaylen Waddle (among other weapons), promoting the former NFL QB seems like the obvious move.

Synopsis

The bottom line is this: Miami’s offense needs a spark. They are currently 28th in yards, and lack the ability to make big plays. Charlie Frye, and his potential promotion to offensive coordinator, may be the best way to deliver that spark.

It will be interesting to see how Miami attempts to max out their young offensive unit, and if Frye is in those plans, as Miami fights to remain in the playoff race.

Follow Tyler DeSena on Twitter

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The Deshaun Watson-Miami Dolphins Saga

Deshaun Watson Miami Dolphins Saga
Credit: Miami Herald

The Build Up

The Deshaun Watson-Miami Dolphins Saga started nine months ago when he officially requested a trade out of Houston. Since January 28th, the Dolphins have been rumored to be interested in the Pro Bowl QB.

Miami was heavily discussed among the national media when Watson’s preferred destinations became public and Miami was first on that list. The media questioned whether Chris Grier and Brian Flores believed in Tua Tagovailoa. They also thought Stephen Ross was pressing for Watson. Maybe it was everyone in the organization wanting Watson because he gave the team a better chance to compete for a Super Bowl now rather than a year or two later.

Everything became a lot more complicated in the spring, though. Between March 16th and April 14th, Deshaun Watson was accused of sexual assault and harrassment by 23 different women. Many expected Watson to be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List until his legal matter was sorted out, but that didn’t happen(and still hasn’t). This would have shutdown trade talk as he wouldn’t have been able to play for the time being. 

The Watson to Miami rumors continued throughout the offseason, but finally cooled down a few weeks before the season started.

Well, that was until August 29th. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported that the Miami Dolphins were frontrunners to land Deshaun Watson. The NFL world picked up right where they left off, debating what it would take for Miami to land Watson.

The Latest Updates

Over the first three weeks, talks about Watson to Miami had decreased again.

This time, it was Jay Glazer who dropped big news. On September 29th, Glazer tweeted Miami is still the most likely landing spot.

Glazer never said a deal was sure to get done. He just said that if a deal were to happen, Miami is the likeliest to make it happen. He then doubled down, telling fans to “keep an eye on this situation.” 

On September 30th, Alex Donno suggested a trade was very likely to happen and said Monday is the day it will get done.

Josina Anderson reported similar news soon after.

All of this could just be speculation and smokescreening. Alex Donno’s source is someone close to Nick Caserio. Could that be Caserio trying to drive up the asking price? There are way too many scenarios at this point to know what’s going to happen with Watson.

Is Watson an Upgrade over Tua Right Now?

Whether Watson would be an upgrade over Tua Tagovailoa at this point in time doesn’t seem to be much of a debate. Deshaun Watson has proven to be one of the best QB’s in the league when healthy and playing. 

Watson is a 3x Pro Bowler who has only improved as his career goes on. Last year, Watson threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. Watson is also a significant threat with his legs. Over the equivalent of 3.5 seasons, Watson has 1,677 yards on the ground and 17 touchdowns. 

The numbers and play speak for themselves. Watson can be a franchise QB for years to come.

Does this mean Tua Tagovailoa is a bust? No. Does it mean Tua can not become what Watson is? Also no. 

But at this point in time, Watson is a better QB than Tagovailoa. For that reason it’s understandable why Miami, or any team, would be doing their due diligence on Watson.

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple and there are numerous risks involved.

Potential Risks of Bringing Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins

There are numerous significant risks involved for the Miami Dolphins. Most of the risks all branch from one main issue: 23 sexual assault allegations.

  1. If Deshaun Watson is traded to the Miami Dolphins, his allegations will not disappear. Although he is able to play right now, it’s possible he’s placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List after a trade is made. This would make him ineligible to play. Yes, Miami would negotiate something in the deal that would void the trade if he isn’t able to play a snap; however, it’s a risk nonetheless.
  2. Since he isn’t already on the Exempt List, it could be fair to assume he won’t be placed on it until at least the end of this year. Assuming Watson can play immediately, he’d play 13 games at the most this year. After this season, his legal situation may still be undecided and put next seasons status in question.
  3. Miami would be giving up a lot of assets to secure Watson. According to the most recent reports, the Texans are asking for 3 first-round picks and 3 other assets. Those three other assets would likely be a variation of second and third round picks. Giving up 6 draft picks that could be used to build a deep team would be a major risk for an organization that seems to be headed in the right direction after 20 years of mediocrity.
  4. There’s also a risk from the long-term POV. If Tagovailoa develops into the QB we all know he is capable of being next year, this move will be questioned for years to come due to the amount Miami will have given up. Of course, it’s a risk in and of itself betting on Tua to reach a great level. However, from long-term, giving up 6 high picks and letting Tua become a great QB on another team would make the Watson move seem unnecessary in retrospect. The Dolphins are in year 2 of a rebuild, and don’t need to force success right now. They have time to see if Tagovailoa can develop into who they think he’s capable of being. 
  5. Innocent until proven guilty is a thing. At this moment, Deshaun Watson is innocent. But when a person has 23 allegations of sexual assault, giving up 6 picks and likely giving up on Tua Tagovailoa may not be a great look for the organization. Obviously, if Watson comes to Miami, the legal issues go away, and he wins, then all will be peaceful. But now, trading for him would reflect poorly on the organization.

Are the Risks Worth the Reward?

If someone told the Miami Dolphins management and staff that Deshaun Watson would constantly be top-5 QB in the league and the Dolphins would be Super Bowl Contenders for at least the next 10 years, they’d absolutely pull the trigger. They’d probably do it for more than “just” six picks.

Unfortunately, as I explained above, it isn’t that simple. 

When taking into account what Miami will have to give up, the backlash they’d face, and the fact that Watson’s legal matters are far from complete, a trade to Miami does not make sense.

In 2019, the Dolphins stripped their entire roster and were assembled to fail. The end goal was to have a high enough draft pick to select Tua Tagovailoa. They did exactly that. He started 9 games and went 6-3. 

This past offseason, the Dolphins added playmakers on the offense for Tua. They drafted Jaylen Waddle and signed Will Fuller. The Dolphins also named Charlie Frye their QB Coach. Frye has worked with Tua since high school. Co-OC’s George Godsey and Eric Studesville designed an offense to fit Tagovailoa that is RPO based. This offense allows him to use his accuracy and quick decision making to move the ball.

It’s been almost 18 months since Tagovailoa was drafted. He’s started 10 games, and won 7 of them. The organization has built around Tua as if he is the man of the future.

Risking the last 18 months of work and giving up a plethora of valuable future assets for a QB with an uncertain legal matter seems very dangerous. The reward would be huge(so would the price for that reward), but as of now, the risk is bigger.

Overall

We in the public have no clue what’s going to happen. We have heard this rumor more times than I can recall at this point. If it’s going to happen, it may get done as soon as Monday. But we’ve heard this so many times, it’s likely the same this time. Houston smokescreens, media narratives, and fan impatience seem to be driving this discussion more than anything.

Trading for Watson would require Miami to give up substantial future assets, be extremely confident that the legal matters will have absolutely no further impact on his NFL career, and likely mean giving up on Tua Tagovailoa.

That seems like a costly price to pay for anyone. 

The Dolphins should stick with Tua Tagovailoa and give him the opportunity to lead the team to the finish line this year. If they are displeased and ready to make a move, maybe Watson’s situation will have more clarity in the offseason. At that point, Houston may reach the point of trading him for far less than what they’re asking now.

At this point, it makes no sense for the Miami Dolphins to trade for Deshaun Watson.

Follow Rishi Desai on Twitter.

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Vols travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers.

by Paul Leatherman

Tiyon Evans looks to score vs Florida

by Paul Leatherman

Early on in the Heupel era; the Tennessee Volunteers have been beating themselves more than being out-manned in their two losses so far in the season. Coach Heupel has spoke to this problem with zero excuses. Heupel has stated many times that the team has to execute better, plain and simple. Whether that be the fault of the players or the coaching staff, it’s clear to see that the Vols need to win this game in Columbia for many reasons. Recruiting and continuing to win over this fan base will prove crucial for Heupel, and these are games you have to win to do so. So, what do the Vols need to do to split the road trip? It’s quite simple really.

Stop the running game.

Tyler Baron attacks Florida’s defensive line.

The Missouri Tigers have been able to generate yards and points consistently throughout in the young season. The tigers have rushed for 634 yards this season, 417 of these yards come from RB Tyler Badie. Badie is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has scored 5 TD on the ground this season. Heupel has stressed this in his press conferences leading up to this game. When asked about Badie, coach Heupel stated,

“For them, offensively, everything kind of goes through that running back. Whether that’s the run game or him being heavily involved in the pass game, the guys (Badie) been dynamic, near top in the country in total yards and productivity, really good football player….”

Head Coach Josh Heupel on Missouri running back Tyler Badie

It’s clear to see that limited the Tigers’ run game will be crucial to a Tennessee win.

Take advantage of a struggling defense.

Whether or not Hendon Hooker is good to go for the Volunteers after suffering an apparent upper-body injury last week vs Florida, Tennessee’s offense should have a big day. Missouri’s defense has been abysmal so far through four games this season. The Tigers defense is allowing north of 450 yards per game and has not held an opponent under 20 points all season. Missouri has allowed 268 yards of rushing per game to opponents. This benefits the Vols heavily, especially if Hooker is a no-go. Joe Milton lll has struggled to throw the ball deep all season, and the Vols will need to lean on running backs Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small to carry the offensive load for Tennessee. The Vols are in great position for a big road win, which at this point in a season, where the scheduling gets worse before it gets better. It is crucial for Heupel to win games like this if he looks to be bowl eligible in year one.

It’s clear to see that the stars are aligning for the Vols to secure their first SEC win of the season against a lack-luster Missouri team. If the Vols defense can limit the running game and the offense can win the ground game, the Vols should walk out of Columbia with a comfortable win.

My prediction: Tennessee 45, Missouri 28.

7 Up, 7 Down: So Nice, Do it Thrice

Week 3 of the NFL season has been done and dusted. Who stood out in a positive manner? Who has some work to do as we move forward to Week 4? How will week three be perceived in the long run of the gauntlet? Will it be nice that everyone will look at it thrice?

In case you missed the previous weekly editions, they can be found below

Week 1: Opening Overreactions

Week 2: A Perceptive Repeat

Up

1. Herbert is legit top ten, if not top five QB 

– The precocious young gun from Oregon went into rowdy Arrowhead Stadium and outdueled the superstar Patrick Mahomes. Which is to put him in rarified air as few signal callers can claim legitimate victories over the league’s most electrifying passer. Herbert can make every improbable throw look perfectly natural as a simple pitch and catch. He has been blessed with physical gifts that few quarterbacks in history have possessed. Much will be anticipated when these two quarterbacks meet up and with good reason. Herbert has a bright future in this league. 

2. Special Teams are FUNdamental

– What a fun week for special teams histrionics. The most overlooked phase of the game got its time in the sun on Sunday with several epic standout plays as seen below. 

First up, Dustin Hopkins kicks a deep shot and then recovers his OWN kick. How? 

Not to be outdone, Younghoe Koo led off the walk-off kick bonanza with a 40 yard bomb for the Falcons

Mason Crosby called Koo’s kick and raised it with his own bomb

Not to be outdone, the evergreen Justin Tucker called Crosby’s shot, re-raised with a record-breaking Giancarlo Stanton level nuclear strike

Earlier in the day, the previous record-holder Matt Prater had an insane 68 yard try returned for a KICK SIX remix

3. All the King’s…posters?

– Derrick Henry paced the Titans offense once again with several impact runs including another posterization of a poor, hapless defender who accepted the challenge. The latest victim: star linebacker Darius Leonard. The King also low key destroyed Julian Blackmon who thought himself worthy of taking him on. At this point, the pantheon of defenders who bravely went at the king is too numerous to count. He’s just built differently than any other running back in the league today. How many times does it need to happen before defenders realize that challenging Henry in one on one situations is just foolhardy? Quandre Diggs (censored) around and found out last week as well. 

4. Josh Allen is pretty, pretty good

– Allen had yet another standout performance on Sunday against a really good Washington front who never really got in his face. The fourth-year pro is looking very well primed for another MVP run with five total touchdowns this past weekend. OC Brian Daboll has definitely unlocked the star potential from the young man. With Allen at the helm, the Bills can legitimately go blow for blow with the suddenly vulnerable Chiefs now. The league is in good hands with the young guns as more and more old star passers age out. Allen might be tops among them pretty soon if he keeps this up. 

5. Ja’Marr Chase might be good after all 

– Chase’s young career is off to a similar start to his speed. Flying. He had a breakout performance on Sunday against the hated Steelers, scoring on multiple big plays. The mysterious vanishing act during the preseason is a thing of the past as he’s proven to be an astute pick as long the Bengals’ offensive line can hold up. The Burrow to Chase connection is off and running again, much to the chagrin of everyone on the Bengals’ schedule. He has a pretty good case for offensive rookie of the year thus far into the season. 

6. Gus Johnson in the NFL 

– Two weeks, two instantly iconoclast Gus Johnson calls. Need I say more? Like many football fans, I’m glad he’s returned to announcing NFL duties after spending time exclusively in the hinterlands of amazing college football broadcasts. He simply belongs at the pro level, expressing his high-intensity emotive moods in an NFL broadcasting world often devoid of such brilliant missives, much like Marv Albert did for the NBA.  

7. R-E-L-A-X and enjoy “The Last Dance”

– We don’t know how the story of the 2021 Green Bay Packers will end but Aaron Rodgers might have a few self-authored chapters to write just yet. Speaking of stories, Kyle Shanahan and late-game mismanagement are one as old as time immemorial. Turns out even 37 seconds is too much time left for the future Jeopardy host to launch remarkable comebacks. If it is indeed the last hoorah for Rodgers in a Packers uniform, I hope for Jordan Love’s sake that he soaks up a lot of institutional knowledge learning at the feet of AR. GM Brian Gutenkunst must be feeling some type of way though. His offseason was a story unto itself. A story of what not to do in terms of managing a relationship with your ultra superstar quarterback. 

Down

1. Injuries

– The 2021 season is turning out to be quite Darwinian as the litany of injuries continues to pile up across the league to key players. Week 3 saw the likes of Quenton Nelson, AJ Brown, Josh Norman, K.J. Hamler, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Terron Armstead, James White, and Dalton Risner leave and do not return. Khalil Mack and Rob Gronkowski were injured but returned, fortunately. The Colts (Kwity Paye and Rock Ya-Sin) and Giants (Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton) were particularly hard hit with two key guys each ruled out. May the injured return to full health as quickly as possible. 

2. Hollywood turning into Marquise

– Lost in all the hoopla of Justin Tucker’s utter destruction of the longest field goal record is Marquise Brown. He dropped three critical passes including an easy touchdown that would’ve likely rendered the field goal attempt moot in the first place. Maybe it was just a bad game as he was on fire the week prior against the Chiefs. Still, the potential game-breaking option is there. Next up for Brown and the Ravens: The Broncos tough secondary. We will see if this is a worrying trend or just a blip on the radar. 

3. Seattle’s defense in a tailspin 

– The Vikings just ran roughshod all over the struggling Seahawks’ defense with a backup running back, no less. Letting Derrick Henry run wild is one thing, letting Alexander Mattison do it is entirely another. Kirk Cousins went off on Sunday as well. The secondary has been torched repeatedly with horrifically substandard play. The next two weeks are likely not going to help either with the high-powered 49ers and Rams on the docket. They can’t keep on relying on Russ cooking to save the defense over and over, right? Pete Carroll needs to try everything possible underneath the sun to try to fix the hemorrhaging defense, otherwise, they will be also-rans in the wild and wacky NFC West. 

4. The end has emphatically arrived for Big Ben 

– As remarkable as Ben Roethlisberger’s return to play after a devastating elbow injury was, the fall has been just as stunning. The Steelers’ offensive line was expected to be below average entering the season and it has been, save for flashes of improvement. Roethlisberger is notorious for stringing out the play but his body isn’t responding as it once did. The receivers in the game against Cincy last week did not help by getting hurt but he should’ve been better. It’s time for the Steelers to see what they have in backup Dwayne Haskins. The end for the future Hall of Fame quarterback was none more glaring than checking down to the back in a must-have, do-or-die play. 

5. Jonnu Smith’s nightmare fuel game

– The $50 million tight end has had a rough start to his career in Foxboro, no play is more evidence of his struggles than a tip drill pick-six that Malcolm Jenkins snagged. He’s had multiple drops and has failed to make the expected impact for the Patriots offense led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones. To be fair to Smith, his start in Tennessee wasn’t the most illustrious either. Fellow big money tight end signing Hunter Henry has also failed to live up to his high-priced contract so Smith isn’t alone. It’s going to be a long year for Jones if his two tight ends can’t get it going. Let’s hope that they do. 

6. Justin Fields’ mental and physical health

– Well, that was a demolition job by the Browns on poor Justin Fields making his first start in lieu of Andy Dalton’s injury. The young passer had zero chance from the minute he was announced as the starter and subsequently was sacked NINE times by Cleveland. If you’ve ever seen a blatantly egregious example of horrendously illogical cancerous coaching malpractice, that was it. Coach Matt Nagy refused to adjust his gameplan to account for his franchise passer getting destroyed in the pocket. Then he had the utterly dumbfounding unrepentant arrogant malevolence to say what he said after the festivities. The arrogance of this man is limitless. If Justin Fields were to succeed, he needs to get Windy City Adam Gase terminated with immediate effect for at least his mental health. GM Ryan Pace does not escape scrutiny either as he built the floundering offensive line. Asking a washed-up almost 40 years old Jason Peters to protect Fields is tantamount to a hostile work environment. Drafting a giant medical risk in Teven Jenkins who, to no one’s surprise, got injured is another. Matt Nagy is done in Chicago, there’s no going back.

7. LeBron’s High School Quarterback

– On more of a funny note, LeBron was a guest on the ManningCast on MNF and the legendary hoops superstar delivered a gem. He also noted that both the Seahawks and Cowboys offered him a roster spot during the 2011 NBA lockout. The current Laker star joked that if he had a better QB in high school, he’d have a pro football career. Imagine being some random dude in Ohio sitting down with his family watching Monday Night Football and catching a stray from the top rope from one of the best basketball players of all time. Poor guy. He most likely has been roasted by EVERYONE in his circle, not to mention social media. 

New York Jets Week 3 Observations

For the New York Jets, Week 3 was a performance emblematic of the last decade of football. It was bad, it was boring, and it reinforced the feeling that things are never going to get better. Thankfully for Jets fans, there were still some positives among the mundane nothingness that was Sunday afternoon.

Zach Wilson

It’s been more than two weeks since New York has scored a touchdown. At some point, that comes back to the quarterback. Zach Wilson looked like a rookie quarterback coming off his first career butt-kicking. He was skittish and cursed by his bad habits. While it’s true that his teammates let him down frequently, it sure seemed like a two-way street.

Wilson missed a handful of throws that stunted drives. He took five sacks, speaking to Greg Van Roten’s eventual comments. I’ll write about it later this week, but Wilson’s struggles to process information within structure can cripple the offense. As incredible as his sack-dodging pocket movements are, and as much as the off-platform deep balls bring people to their feet, an inability to run the offense with any proficiency can render those skills meaningless.

However, Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas deserve some credit for starting Wilson from the jump, and not wasting assets on a veteran bridge quarterback. If the kid has the mental makeup to get through severe adversity, he’ll weather the storm and come out better for it. Wilson’s weaknesses need real-game reps to improve. Sitting behind a future C-List ESPN guest isn’t going to help Wilson when he gets punched in the mouth.

The Running Backs

New York’s offensive line played poorly, Denver’s front-seven played well. Subsequently, it wasn’t a pretty day for Jets running backs. In Tevin Coleman’s absence, Ty Johnson and Michael Carter split snaps to a tune of 57% and 43%, respectively. Neither played particularly well.

The bigger discussion at hand is production on passing downs from those two. Johnson’s big-play ability is nice, but there is no reason for him to be on the field in these situations. On Sunday, he totaled five targets, a catch, and six yards. To add (subtract?), he offered no value in pass protection.

Despite Carter’s ugly drop, he needs to be on the field. He’s tough and elusive in the open field and should block better, too. Neither back was productive on Sunday, which could give Coleman some more snaps upon his return, but Carter should be the committee’s priority going forward.

The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

New York’s wide receivers struggled mightily on Sunday, though that wasn’t much of a surprise. Denver’s secondary is arguably the best in the league, and it showed. However, they still failed to meet the low expectations set for them. Corey Davis is, and should, be the target Wilson trusts the most in tight windows. He struggled to separate and had a massive drop on a deep third-down throw.

Additionally, Braxton Berrios had his worst game to date. The Jets missed Jamison Crowder badly in their Week 3 contest. On no play was this more apparent than Berrios’ drop-turned-interception.

Elijah Moore is yet to look comfortable in the offense and left with a concussion. Perhaps Denzel Mims could find his way into some NFL action against a porous Tennessee Titans defense as a result.

It’s redundant by now, but it’s clear the Mike LaFleur offense will not reach its ceiling without an addition at tight end. The blocking has been bad and somehow the receiving has been worse. To LaFleur’s credit, they are no longer seeing double-digit targets per game.

The Offensive Line

It wasn’t a great day for New York’s offensive linemen, but the blame should not be shared equally. The tackles played well, outside of a few ugly reps. The interior, however, was exceptionally bad. Van Roten is not a replacement-level player. Alijah Vera-Tucker continued to look out of place. As a whole, they still cannot protect against various stunts, and left Wilson pressured frequently.

The Jets will hold out hope for Vera-Tucker, just like they will with Wilson. That doesn’t mean either is playing good football right now. The entire line had their hands full on runs, and the ugly reps in pass protection likely won’t end soon. For a unit about to face Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons, communicating better is a must.

The Defensive Line and Edge Rushers

Coming into Week 3, we knew the New York Jets’ biggest advantage would be their interior defensive line against Denver’s questionable interior offensive line. As pass rushers, they exceeded expectations. Quinnen Williams, Foley Fatukasi, and Sheldon Rankins all played a role in consistently pushing the pocket. Williams in particular had his best game of the season.

From a volume standpoint, the Jets defense struggled against the run, allowing 121 yards and two scores. They certainly had their woes, but considering the Broncos ran the ball 37 times, it could have been worse.

As for the edge rushers, things stayed pretty consistent. Bryce Huff had his flashes, but otherwise the group was unsatisfactory.

The Linebackers

It’s fair to say C.J. Mosley’s Week 3 performance was his best one in a New York Jets uniform. He looked quicker than he has, played a role in limiting Noah Fant, and was the Jets’ best run-defending linebacker. The Alabama product was rewarded with ten total tackles on the day.

Quincy Williams again had his moments, racking up six solo tackles, two of which were behind the line of scrimmage. However, the positives end there for New York’s linebackers. They played a big role in allowing Denver’s biggest runs, were manipulated in the pass game, and (especially the rookies) looked conservative amidst their struggles.

The Cornerbacks

This was supposed to be New York’s biggest test yet for their corners. Unfortunately, injuries to K.J. Hamler and, in Week 1, Jerry Jeudy, made the contest less entertaining. We saw Brandin Echols struggle against Courtland Sutton, in which poor technique resulted not only in catches, but a penalty flag, too. It’s nothing he can’t recover from, but it certainly wasn’t a great day for the rookie.

Furthermore, I felt Michael Carter II continued to handle himself well. His strong rookie campaign has been matched by Bryce Hall’s sophomore improvements. Hall’s limitations flashed on some reps against Tim Patrick, but ultimately had a decent outing.

The Safeties

Marcus Maye did his typical Marcus Maye things on Sunday, showing up all over the place and showcasing his skills as the secondary’s best player. Still, he was not immune from the nuance of Teddy Bridgewater. One thing Bridgewater does well is manipulate defenders with his eyes and hitches to open up throwing lanes. Maye fell victim, like much of the Jets defense.

Injuries have definitely played their part, but New York has struggled to find any kind of production from their second safety spot. Adrian Colbert and Jarrod Wilson both struggled in the loss. Until Ashtyn Davis returns, I don’t see this getting any better.

The Special Teams Units

The only instance of note here was the malpractice that was Thomas Morstead’s delay of game penalty. It took three points off the board and seemed revelatory of what would be to come.

The Outlook

New York did not play well on Sunday. The defense couldn’t force a stop and the offense couldn’t score. It was a non-competitive contest that epitomized the bad, boring brand of Jets football fans have become numb too. Thankfully, the defense is closer every day to returning to full health and reaching its potential. We’ve seen the flashes from Williams and others on the defensive line. Mosley looks good and the young corners have exceeded expectations. They’ll have to be at their best to slow down Julio Jones in Week 4.

As for the offense, everyone deserves a portion of the blame. LaFleur has frankly not executed as a play caller. Hopefully, with time, the offensive line and wide receiver corps can play up to the expectations set for them. Until then, Wilson will likely to continue to struggle.

If there’s anything going for them, Tennessee’s defense has allowed 84 points in three games. They’ll likely fall to 0-4, but a solid day against a poor secondary could be what Wilson needs to fix his rookie season.