As the Jets return to work after their bye week, it is first things first — as in the first quarter.
Jets coach Robert Saleh said last week that the coaching staff would spend the bye week trying to figure out why the Jets were starting off games so slowly. They have failed to score a point in the first quarter through five games and have been outscored 75-13 in the first half of games.
While Saleh would not reveal specifics about his plan to jump-start his Jets, he did say there will be changes to the practice schedule this week.
“It’s subtle,” Saleh said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “You guys won’t even notice it. It’s just subtle in terms of timing and all that stuff. Just trying to get the body clocks moving at an earlier time, as it pertains to the week.”
The 1-4 Jets travel to Foxborough to face the 2-4 Patriots on Sunday. Slow starts have doomed the Jets this season as they have had to play from behind in every game. In their last game, they fell behind 17-0 to the Falcons before a late rally made it a three-point game on the way to a 27-20 loss.
Saleh said the Jets are not just throwing things against the wall trying to fix their sluggish opens.
“[I] feel really good about the soundness of the things that we’ll be doing over the course of the week,” Saleh said. “The one thing that I thought was very important was that we didn’t just make things up and do things just to do things. So, with regards to your answer, I’m going to keep a lot of it private, if that’s OK, but we feel good about the soundness of the decisions that we’re going to make.”
Saleh and the coaches are walking the fine line of sticking with what they are doing and hoping repetition brings improvement versus changing up their routine to see if that brings change. Saleh recently used the Bruce Lee quote to explain why he was not making major changes, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
On Monday, he used another quote to explain why the Jets may tweak things but are not going to undergo a massive overhaul.
“There is balance,” Saleh said. “I’ll give you another quote, it was Cal Ripken Jr., he said, ‘Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.’ So, you could be out there, I’ll give you the old golfer’s analogy, you go out to the driving range and you hit a ball and you hit three good ones and then you miss one and you’re like, ‘Let me try to change something.’ Then you change something and you hit another one, a couple of good ones, you miss some, ‘Ah, let me try to change it.’ Change it, change it, next thing you know you’re all over the place, when really all you needed to do was stick to the foundation that you built off of, make perfect swings and trust that. Yeah, once in a while it’s going to go haywire, but if you stay true, you’ll continue to improve.”
Saleh said they won’t change the foundation of what they do but make more subtle changes.
Wide receiver Braxton Berrios does not think the Jets’ slow starts have any hidden cause.
“I think we’ve started slow because we haven’t executed,” Berrios said, “and once we kind of get those out of the way and get it together, obviously, especially in the last few weeks we’ve shown kind of what we can do and the runs we can go on. It really comes down to execution. Other than that, there’s nothing else that’s going on.”