The New York Jets earned their first victory of the season Sunday, beating the Miami Dolphins at home by a score of 20-6. The Jets dominated for the full 60 minutes in all three phases of the game. It was the kind of commanding performance that few outside the locker room believed the team was capable of. Are the Jets suddenly a playoff team? No. Yet the victory proved that the 2017 New York Jets aren’t quite the miserable dumpster fire many expected them to be. Here are the most glaring takeaways from week three.
Week Three New York Jets Takeaways
Jamal Adams Shines
Jamal Adams was taken in the 2017 NFL Draft to be a transformative player; not just a good safety, or a quality starter, but a dominant force. Through three games of his young career, Adams looks the part. He played well in the season’s first two games, well enough to earn him Pro Football Focus’s highest grade of all rookies. On Sunday, however, Adams was in a different class. The LSU product was firing on all cylinders, and ignited his team in the process. The performance was punctuated by a two-play sequence in which Adams deflected a Jay Cutler pass on second down, and sacked the quarterback on third down. Barring injury, or some unforeseen turn of events, Adams will be a special player for this franchise.
In weeks one and two, the New York Jets defense was disappointing. A unit expected to anchor the team allowed the most points in the entire league, and was gashed for a combined 370 rushing yards in the process. In week three, though, the Jets were the ones dishing out punishment. Through three quarters, before the game descended into garbage time, the defense blanked the Dolphins, allowing just five first downs. The aforementioned Adams was undoubtedly the best player on the field, but he wasn’t the only good one.
The entire defensive line dominated. The cornerbacks eliminated Jarvis Landry from the ball-game entirely. The linebackers, a group subject to heavy criticism for a perceived failure to stop the run, played admirably. Demario Davis in particular had a game to remember. The former Cleveland Brown tallied a whopping 12 tackles, three of which were for loss. Mike Maccagnan deserves quite a bit of credit. The decision to trade Calvin Pryor for Davis was a bold one, given that it would mean starting two rookie safeties. Through three weeks, it looks like the right one. Maye and Adams have played well. Davis has impressed. And Calvin Pryor is out of the league. If the defense can play up to this standard each and every week, the Jets will be a competitive football team.
The Quarterback Report
Josh McCown is playing elite football. Not elite football by his standards, or by the standard Jets quarterbacks are usually held to. He’s playing great football by any standard. After a respectable performance in Oakland, McCown notched his finest performance as a Jet on Sunday. The veteran gunslinger completed 18 of his 23 pass attempts, good for 249 yards and a score. He recorded an 126.3 passer rating in the process. The Dolphins Jay Cutler went 26/44, throwing a touchdown and a pick, and recording a passer rating of just 70.3.
I mention Cutler’s mediocre performance to remind Jets fans of just how close he was to joining the team. The two parties met in the off-season, but negotiations ultimately fell through as the Jets settled on McCown. It was the right move. In addition to being the more mature locker room presence, McCown is proving to be the better football player as well. Those eagerly awaiting the return of Christian Hackenberg as starting quarterback will have to wait much longer. The Jets aren’t going to pull McCown, not when he’s playing like this.