Jets trying to get to bottom of slow start issue

Zach Wilson Jets
Zach Wilson
Reuters/Andrew Boyers

The 1-4 New York Jets don’t have to look far for one of the main reasons why their record is as poor as it is this season. 

Constant games of playing catch-up are all but a death sentence for teams that already are not expected to contend in the NFL. But the Jets are taking their slow starts to a completely different level, which was further accentuated during Sunday morning’s 27-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in London.

Over their first five games of the 2021 campaign, the Jets have been outscored 75-13 in the first half, including a 20-3 deficit at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It makes them the first team since the 2015 San Francisco 49ers to score seven or fewer points in the first half in each of its first five games. 

Their initial starts are even worse, somehow, as the Jets have accrued just 79 yards of offense over the five first quarters that they’ve played. They picked up just 16 against the Falcons.

“We have to start faster,” first-year Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “I’m putting that on me to try to figure this out over the next week.”

But rookie quarterback Zach Wilson was ready to share the blame.

“It’s a block we have to get over,” he said. “We have to get out of that trend of starting bad… We can’t keep trying to come from behind. The NFL is too hard to always come from behind.”

The 22-year-old gunslinger has shown an ability to make the spectacular play, but the fundamentals of the mundane seem to elude him. He missed easier, straight-forward throws, providing somewhat of a regression after winning AFC Rookie of the Week after upsetting the Tennessee Titans.

His struggles highlighted the Jets’ issues, as he was held to just 65 passing yards with 9:30 left in the third quarter on Sunday against Atlanta.

“We have to come out slinging it from the beginning,” he said. “I have to come out and just throw that thing and make the right reads. I missed some throws. I can’t come out and miss throws. They’re not throws that are hard. The coaches are putting us in a good position. We just have to get some momentum going.”

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