The question to Nathaniel Hackett was simple, one asking what he would consider the strength of the Jets’ offense — the slumping and historically poor Jets offense — as they sit more than halfway through the season with nine weeks left to dictate their postseason fate.
He didn’t say the running game, with budding star Breece Hall.
He didn’t say quarterback Zach Wilson and the passing game, either, which would’ve been questionable but at least something specific.
Instead, Hackett’s phrasing implied the Jets are still trying to figure out their most powerful attribute, still searching for answers as to why early-game drives, red zone, third downs and just about everything else have been unsolvable this season.
“Right now, I think all of us are trying to find out what we can do best and consistently,” Hackett said. “There are some great opportunities that show some explosive plays. We’re always looking for those things and we love those, but we need to be consistent in certain things, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Hackett said it’s “unbelievably frustrating” the Jets have produced some of the worst numbers in NFL history.
He claimed the blame doesn’t fall solely on Wilson and added the Jets are trying anything and everything — which included more no-huddle Monday — to spark their offense.
The only offenses worse than the Jets are the Patriots and the Giants, and they haven’t scored a touchdown in seven quarters, plus an overtime.
“I wasn’t here last year, so I don’t know what that entailed,” Hackett said when asked if Wilson’s 2022 struggles reappearing are concerning for the ceiling of the offense. “For us, again, it’s not just him. It’s us as a group. It starts with me. It’s all the guys. So we just all need to be more consistent for Zach.”
The Jets, at 16.5 points per game, have the league’s third-worst scoring offense.
All of their woes — third down, red zone, first drive — have been well-documented and are teetering on the brink of being historically bad, and Wilson’s five touchdowns and five interceptions haven’t done anything to mask Gang Green’s Aaron Rodgers void.
Against the Chargers, the Jets lost three fumbles, and Hackett said overcoming those turnovers is the “hump” the Jets haven’t gotten past.
He echoed head coach Robert Saleh’s line about players pressing too much while trying to make the game-changing, offense-saving play, which might’ve led to Hall dropping Wilson’s toss Monday that led to a fumble.
“You always want guys to have an urgency and an attack mindset, but you have to do it within a controlled environment even though it’s a wild environment that we put them out there on,” Hackett said.