The Jets have had problems with talent and execution during their 0-4 start to the season. Those aren’t overnight fixes.
But there’s one issue they can fix if they want to make anything of the 2020 season: penalties.
Specifically, avoidable personal foul penalties, which have crippled the Jets early in the season. In a Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos — the one game the Jets were actually in a position to win — six personal-foul calls over the course of the night ultimately doomed them in a 37-28 loss.
The Jets have committed 32 total penalties through four games, and entering Week 5, they were tied for the most in the NFL. The personal foul calls, like the roughing the passer, facemask and unnecessary roughing that plagued them against the Broncos, have been the biggest issue.
Eliminating those against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday will be a major point of emphasis.
“I think the biggest thing is you double down on the awareness level for sure and getting right guys in there,” head coach Adam Gase said. “If we can’t do it the right way, then we need to get different guys in there.”
Defense coordinator Gregg Williams’ unit hasn’t gotten off to a strong start in 2020, with the group struggling to get off the field consistently.
Penalties have been a major factor in that, and in a week where the Jets shook up some of their practice routines, Williams was on his players.
“He’s turned it up a notch,” safety Marcus Maye said. “There’s no room for error right now. We’re all scratching and clawing right now to get a win, so every detail is something that we’re paying attention to.
Personal foul calls often come down to a split-second decision, where a player needs to decide if he has time to make a hit before a quarterback moves the ball or a player goes to the ground.
The Jets know the rules. It’s on them to display the right amount of caution when going to make a hit.
“If you’re coming to (the quarterback) and he still has his hand on the ball while you hit him, you can do it. If not, don’t hit him. It’s as simple as that,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “There’s no reason to even try. You know that was a point of emphasis last year when they first implemented the rule, and you can see from earlier games this year, it’s a point of emphasis. If you get a shot at him, just be smart. That’s all it is.
“Don’t try to be a hero, because nine times out of 10, you’re going to end up hurting the team.”
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