The New York Jets offense must eliminate slow starts

The New York Jets offense has been abysmal at the start of games this season. In the first five weeks, the Jets have 79 total yards in the first quarter of games.

Seventy-nine.

The Jets have only managed five first downs in the first quarter, with a minus-30 point differential. Zach Wilson has five first-quarter completions for 35 yards. They are the only team in the league yet to score any points in the first quarter.

This is unacceptable. Heading into the bye week, something has to change.

New York needs to find ways to sustain drives early and keep the game close, rather than playing catch-up in the second half. The first way to accomplish that goal is to establish the run early.

The Jets have run the ball on 70.6% of their first-down plays in the first quarter (tops in the NFL), but have tended to go away from the run on second down as they have only called two consecutive runs twice.

Against the New England Patriots, the Jets had two first-down runs to start drives, followed by two interceptions immediately after. Those two runs went for eight and 13 yards respectively.

In order for the offense to get into a rhythm, they need to keep defenses honest by committing to pounding the rock.

Apart from the run game, the Jets need to find ways to get their playmakers the ball in space, starting with Elijah Moore.

Moore has caught eight passes for 66 yards this season, much less than what was expected from the talented rookie.

Coming out of Ole Miss, Moore was lauded as a versatile weapon capable of doing damage anywhere on the field. He lined up all over the formation, be it outside, slot, or even at running back.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin made it his personal mission to get Moore the ball in as many ways as possible, and Moore responded by leading the nation in yards per game.

Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur needs to feature Moore in a similar fashion. New York must utilize Moore’s skills early and often through jet sweeps, screens, and quick passes underneath. Get Moore the ball in space and let him do what he does best: run after the catch.

Feeding Moore early and often will help the offense find its rhythm in the first quarter.

Getting the rock to Elijah Moore is just one of the many things that LaFleur and the Jets must do to improve their first-half performance. The Oklahoma Drill Podcast crew is back to break down the Jets’ slow starts and how to solve them.

The bye week is the perfect time for the Jets to go back to the drawing board and find ways to play better early in games. The defense is being left out to dry and simply can’t keep playing so many snaps. The offense has to start doing its part.

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Andrew Golden is a film analyst for Jets X-Factor with a focus on the NFL Draft, prospect evaluations and breaking down scheme fits. He also co-hosts the Oklahoma Drill Podcast with Vitor Paiva and Matt Mauro. Email: agoldenjets@gmail.com

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