There’s potential for an upset brewing in Cleveland, but some hard decisions will have to be made
- PASSING: Joe Flacco (10-of-16, 99 yards, 2 TD)
- RUSHING: Breece Hall (5 carries, 36 yards)
- RECEIVING: Garrett Wilson (3 rec., 25 yards, 1 TD)
- PASSING: Jacoby Brissett (12-of-13, 101 yards, 1 TD)
- RUSHING: Nick Chubb (8 carries, 30 yards, 1 TD)
- RECEIVING: Amari Cooper (4 rec., 48 yards, 1 TD)
Joe’s Gotta Go?
It’s hard not to sympathize with the New York Jets‘ backup quarterback situation: Joe Flacco is the ideal backup in the sense that there might night be a better resource to gain knowledge and championship insight from. At the same time, he’s proven himself to be just effective enough to remain relevant at the NFL level.
However, sacrifices must be made while Zach Wilson recovers … and one of those sacrifices might be that you’re going to have to work with a 37-year-old thrower on the decline. His lost fumble could be more blamed on an inexperienced, makeshift offensive line, but if the Jets want to pull this off, they may need a bit of a youth jolt.
Never known for his mobility even at the height of his purple powers in Baltimore, such a skillset is nonexistent in 2022. This turns the Jets into a relatively predictable offense where the most potent passing threat could well be Braden Mann.
Even with Zach Wilson out, there’s an opportunity for the Jets’ offense to grow, namely through the plethora of youth at the top of the depth chart (Breece Hall set up a Garrett Wilson touchdown early in the second quarter after Mann’s magic to Jeff Smith). It might be time to risk the cult of Mike White gaining a second wind to get this offseason turning in the right direction. The box score is quite respectable, but the Jets might be beyond merely having their backup merely keep them in the game.
Flacco might’ve been able to buy himself a good amount of time with a victorious drive at the end of the half. But he should, at the very least, be closely monitored.
Make the Fake Quake
Converting a fourth down against a formidable Cleveland defense is hard enough, but the Jets found a way to get it down, using the arm of Braden Mann to find the long-tenured Jets vet Smith for 17. It led to a momentum-changing touchdown that denied notions of a runaway Cleveland victory.
Now comes the hard part.
It’s great that the Jets were able to shift momentum in their direction. But it’s time for someone to step up, particularly on defense, to push the team forward. What that Mann lob did was, at the very least, ensure that a good portion of the Jets’ fanbase has a legitimate reason to watch the second half. It’s time to take the next step.
Mike LaFleur has started to grow up before our eyes, the red zone fumble and opening three-and-out being the only flaws of a brilliantly called first half-hour. It’s time for Robert Saleh, feeling bold via taking names and calling fakes, to flex his defensive muscle and take hold on what’s been an unfortunately porous effort in the early going.
Mann-to-Smith has the potential to be a play that’s talked about at MetLife tailgates for years to come. It’ll be up to the Jets to ensure it carries a legacy.
Next Article: The Mann Show: NY Jets' fake punt leads to score
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags