Other Jets rookies showed this draft class isn’t all Mekhi Becton

The Jets lost a heartbreaking 30-27 game to the Patriots on “Monday Night Football.” Here are some thoughts and observations from the game: 1. This was a gut punch. I know there is a large

The Jets lost a heartbreaking 30-27 game to the Patriots on “Monday Night Football.” Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:

1. This was a gut punch.

I know there is a large portion of the fan base who felt this was the best result, a close loss. Those fans have already moved on to 2021 and the dream of drafting Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. But the reality for the players and coaches currently on the Jets is they are 0-9 and have seven games left in the season. That has to feel like an eternity to them.

I keep waiting to see signs the Jets have packed it in and given up. Clearly, they have not from the way they played against the Patriots. The Jets are playing hard. They simply are not good enough. But I wonder how long they can sustain this. At some point, the losing is going to crush their competitive spirit. It is hard to take the field each week feeling like you need to play a perfect game to even have a chance.

We had wondered whether the Jets might make a coaching change at the bye week. It felt like a natural time to replace Adam Gase if that was the direction Christopher Johnson wanted to go. But after Monday night, it makes no sense to get rid of Gase. The team is still playing hard for him. The decision to let Dowell Loggains call plays has paid some dividends and showed a willingness by Gase to put his ego aside in an attempt to change things. If this season is truly about evaluating Sam Darnold when he returns from his shoulder injury, keeping things stable is probably best for that process, too.

Gase is not going to be the coach of this team in 2021. That is a virtual certainty. But there is nothing wrong with keeping him around right now. If the Jets show signs that they have tuned him out and are no longer playing hard, then it might be time for Johnson to move on and go to an interim coach for the rest of the season.

Right now, Gase has to figure out how to rebuild his team’s spirit after a crushing loss.

2. The Jets had 10 rookies active for Monday’s game.

This is what you want to see now if you are a Jets fan. How many of these rookies are keepers going forward? Let’s look at some of them.

The bad news out of the game for the rookies was the chest injury to first-round pick Mekhi Becton. It is unclear how serious the injury is, but if it is a torn pectoral, that would cost him the season. The Jets were running behind Becton a lot early. The tackle has been the bright spot of the Jets’ season. He looks like a piece of the foundation here. He now just needs to stay healthy.

Denzel Mims is showing signs that he is a player. He had four catches for 62 yards on eight targets. Remember, this is just his third game and he has not even had a full month of practice. He is essentially at the end of training camp. The Jets need to keep targeting him. The only knock on Mims on Monday is it looked like he slowed up on the Joe Flacco interception in the fourth quarter.

Denzel MimsGetty Images

Ashtyn Davis played his best game. The Jets had the safety playing close to the line of scrimmage and he was disruptive. He drilled Cam Newton but was called for a penalty. I did not think it was a penalty. Davis has shown his versatility, playing both in the box and deep at times. He struggled in Kansas City, but so do a lot of defensive backs.

La’Mical Perine had six carries for 19 yards and two catches for 19 yards. The way the game went screwed up Perine’s usage. The Jets like to use Frank Gore a lot early and then go to Perine more in the second half. But the Jets barely had the ball in the second half, so Perine did not get as many touches.

Cornerback Bryce Hall made his debut and played about 50 percent of the snaps, spelling Pierre Desir for series. There was nothing noticeable about Hall’s debut watching live, which may be a good thing.

Defensive end Jabari Zuniga played 19 snaps on defense. I would expect his playing time to increase as the season goes on.

3. The receivers were all healthy.

Gase has been waiting to have the starting wide receivers on the field whom he expected to have this offseason. It finally happened Monday night and they did make a difference. Breshad Perriman (five catches, 101 yards, two TDs) was the deep threat the Jets have been missing. Mims showed development. Crowder, who is nursing a groin injury, made a marvelous catch on the touchdown in the second quarter.

The problem is it all feels like too little, too late. You would have liked to see if they could have made a difference in this offense had they been playing all season. Instead, Darnold was throwing to a lot of backups for most of the season.

4. The dreaded 0-16 looms.

The 0-9 start is the worst in franchise history and it is hard to look at the remaining schedule and find a win for the Jets. After the bye this week, the schedule looks like this: at Chargers (2-6), vs. Dolphins (5-3), vs. Raiders (5-3), at Seahawks (6-2), at Rams (5-3), vs. Browns (5-3) and at Patriots (3-5).

The Chargers have the worst record but they have been losing close games and are better than their record indicates. Could the Jets catch the Dolphins, Raiders or Browns feeling overconfident? That is their best hope for a win, to me.

It will be fascinating if they are 0-15 heading to Foxborough in Week 17.

Revealing stat

Here is how many plays the Jets ran by quarter: first quarter 19, second quarter 12, third quarter 11, fourth quarter four. It is not a good thing when you can easily recall every play a team ran in the fourth quarter. The Flacco interception and the three-and-out on the two-minute drive was the entire Jets offense in the fourth quarter. That is a good way to lose.

Surprising snap count

Rookie CB Bryce Hall played 39 snaps (48 percent) in his debut. I did not expect him to play that much in his first game. It looked like the Jets were working him in for Pierre Desir, who had his struggles in the game.

Game ball

This is a tough one. Flacco would be the choice if not for the costly interception. I’ll go with Perriman. He looked like a No. 1 wide receiver last night. He had five catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including some key catches for first downs. The only negative was a dropped touchdown on the first drive. But he made up for it as the game went on.

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