We asked a Jets expert to tell us more about Le’Veon Bell’s motivation, Sam Darnold’s fate, and Sunday’s game.
Even a New York Jets expert expects the game to get boring early. For a Kansas City Chiefs fan, it should be a fun afternoon watching their favorite team host the winless Jets at home for an expected midseason blowout. For everyone else, experts and even Jets fans are anticipating nothing more than a lopsided contest with very little—if any—drama involved.
But there are subplots to every matchup and this is no different. From Le’Veon Bell’s chance to face his former team to understanding Sam Darnold’s fate, we asked Justin Fried, expert over at The Jet Press, to tell us more about his expectations for Sunday and so much more.
How much do you think this game means to Le’Veon Bell to come back and face his former team?
I fully expect Le’Veon Bell to come out on Sunday as motivated as he’s been in years. He’s set to take on a team that he feels — rightfully so — has wronged him. Now playing in a Chiefs offense that will hopefully maximize his skills, Bell could be in-line for a big day. Of course, he’ll still be splitting touches with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but look for Bell to get involved more in the passing game than he was in his Kansas City debut. Expect Bell to make the most of his opportunities.
If you had to project what Bell has left in the tank overall for the Chiefs and beyond this year…?
Bell can still be a very effective player, even if he isn’t the same player that he was in Pittsburgh. While he may have lost a step, Bell is still an extremely effective pass-catcher and a valuable pass-blocking back which should allow him to retain value even as he continues to age. As for this year, I think splitting touches with Edwards-Helaire in Kansas City’s offense is a great situation for him and he’ll be allowed to flourish much more than he did with the Jets.
As for the future, he’ll have a job in this league as long as he wants one simply because of his ability to double as a pseudo-receiver. You can’t teach that, and those abilities will decay much slower than his agility and explosiveness. Bell still has a few good years in him even if he isn’t the All-Pro-caliber player that he once was.
How much longer is Adam Gase going to be this team’s head coach?
That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Everyone knows that Adam Gase isn’t going to survive the year. The fans know it, the media knows it, and the Jets have certainly come to that conclusion as well. Now it’s all a matter of timing. The Jets, based on various reports, don’t believe that firing Gase midseason will do the team any favors and they see multiple reasons to hang on to their struggling head coach as long as possible.
For starters, Gase acts as somewhat of a lightning rod for the organization taking the heat of guys like general manager Joe Douglas and team owner Christopher Johnson. Moreover, while they may not outright admit it, the Jets have their eye on Trevor Lawrence and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It seems apparent at this point that Gase is helping an already-abysmal team reach that goal. If I had to guess, Gase is either fired during the Week 10 bye or he’s allowed to stay the rest of the season, even with an 0-16 record hanging in the balance.
The spread here is laughable, but are people overlooking anything important about the Jets? How competitive do you expect this game to be?
The spread is spot on. The Jets, prior to last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills, were quite literally on pace to be the worst team in NFL history. Through six games, the Jets had failed to even come within one score of their opponents by the end of 60 minutes. The 0-16 Detroit Lions did that four times in their first eight games. The 0-16 Cleveland Browns did it three times within their first seven games.
Even the woeful 0-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — a first-year expansion team — did that in three of their first seven games as well. The Jets hadn’t done it once until they somehow held the Bills to just 18 points courtesy of six field goals and two misses en route to an eight-point loss in Week 7. The Jets have looked competitive for maybe around three-quarters of a football game cumulative this season. Against the powerhouse Chiefs, this one will effectively be over by the end of the first quarter.
What’s your read on Sam Darnold’s ability to be a franchise face? How fair has his road been to date?
Few quarterbacks in recent history have been saddled with as poor of a situation as Sam Darnold through their first three NFL seasons. A bottom-two offensive line, a bottom-three receiving corps, and a league-worst offensive coaching staff derailed any progress he was starting to make last season. And now, as we sit here at the midway point of his third NFL campaign, it’s clear that Darnold isn’t going to work out with the Jets.
The Jets managed to take what was pretty unanimously an excellent quarterback prospect and set him up to fail every step of the way. Credit to Darnold for lasting three years in the abomination, but eventually it was going to catch up with him. Each subsequent season, Darnold has been placed in a worse situation than the last and, at this point, all we could do is hope that he finds success elsewhere. The Jets ruined him. Looking for a textbook example of how not to develop your young quarterback? Look no further than Sam Darnold’s tenure with the NY Jets.
Any final predictions?
The Chiefs are going to score a lot of points. The Jets will not. Kansas City will cruise to a dominant victory where Chad Henne is once again called upon to finish the game — perhaps as soon as the third quarter. Le’Veon Bell will score the first touchdown of the afternoon against his former team and it will be one of the few talking points coming out of the matchup. Once the initial excitement surrounding Bell’s touchdown wears off, the game will descend into a plodding, one-sided drumming where both teams just want to pack their bags and leave. That’s how virtually every Jets game has gone this season. Why expect this one to be any different?