Okay, so the Jets’ offense didn’t turn out to be historically awful this season, as I said it had a chance to be. Shoot me. Hell, the Jets even have five wins, which is ... something, I guess. But it still took a grand total of 13 games for their offensive coordinator to cop to saying, Fuck it, let’s go home.
The Jets laid a 23-0 turd last Sunday against a Broncos team that had lost eight in a row and entered the game dead last in DVOA. (Yes, the Broncos came in playing less efficiently than even the hopeless Browns.) In the second half, the Jets lost starting quarterback Josh McCown to injury, which meant backup Bryce Petty would have to play. It did not go well, and it did not take long for offensive coordinator John Morton to figuratively call it quits.
The score was 20-0 when Petty came on in relief of McCown with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Petty proceeded to go 1-for-5 before the Jets turned the ball over on downs. The Broncos added a field goal, and the Jets got the ball back with 11:33 remaining in the game. It was still a three-score game, but Morton had the Jets run the ball—six runs on nine plays from scrimmage the rest of the way, to be exact. The end. Thanks for coming.
On Thursday, Morton was asked why he did that. He, um, didn’t mince words, starting at the 4:52 mark of this video.
Morton’s honesty was downright refreshing. Some quotes:
“Listen, the game was out of hand and I didn’t want to let some bad stuff happen. At that time, I don’t like saying, ‘No mas,’ but, listen, it was time to get out of there. They kicked our butts, they kicked our butts. Sometimes that happens in the National Football League.
“I’m not going to sit there and have these guys run a bunch of routes and something bad happens, make bad decisions. I didn’t want that to happen. So I made the decision. I just wanted to run it and get out of there.”
Another quote, in response to a question about whether Morton was concerned with damaging Petty’s confidence (Petty is now in his third season, and he had made four starts last year):
We were behind. We didn’t have a chance. They’re just dropping back in coverage and then we’re just going to be throwing, forcing balls. I didn’t want that. I didn’t think that was fair. Call it whatever you want, I just thought that was the right decision to do at that time.
Morton said all this after saying he had the “utmost confidence” in Petty and third-stringer Christian Hackenberg, which was probably less than honest. Petty will start Sunday’s game at the Saints, which means Hackenberg will be active for just the third time in the 30 games the Jets have played since drafting him in the second round in 2016. And yet:
(If they’re still not going to play him even now, with the season lost, why have the Jets bothered to keep Hackenberg on the roster all this time?)
Oh, and head coach Todd Bowles said today that defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson would not be traveling to New Orleans because of a disciplinary issue that’s since been reported as another late arrival to a team meeting. Wilkerson’s been dreadful since the Jets agreed to pony up nearly $37 million in guaranteed money for him in July 2016, and he’s almost certainly a goner after the season ends. Not to worry. Only three more games and it’ll be all over.