The Jets will face impressive rookie quarterbacks in each of the next two weeks, with Sunday’s game against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers perhaps their best chance at finally getting into the win column this season.
The Jets’ final six opponents — beginning next week against Tua Tagovailoa and the 6-3 Dolphins — enter this weekend with a combined record of 34-20 as the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes moves closer to completion.
“Definitely, it’s been frustrating. I look at every game, go into every game, figuring out the team game plan and look at where we can gain the advantage and try to win the game,” inside linebacker Neville Hewitt said Friday of the Jets’ 0-9 start. “This is another one that I feel like we can win.
“It’s gonna come down to the little things and stopping them from their explosive plays, because that’s where they have their success at. … As long as we can make our tackles and eliminate those explosive plays, we’ll have a chance to pull this one off.”
The six-year veteran believes “there’s definitely going to be opportunities” to create turnovers against Herbert, even though the former Oregon star has thrown 19 touchdowns against just six interceptions in his first eight NFL starts for the third-ranked offense in the NFL in yardage per game (403.7).
Coming out of their bye week, the Jets “can definitely feel the urgency to win,” Hewitt added, and avoid the first 0-10 start in franchise history.
“You feel it. We’ve been in close games and we’re not finishing. Or sometimes the game gets away from early,” said Hewitt, who is in his third season with the Jets after three with Miami. “Right now, we feel like we have to win. That’s the feeling you have, especially being 0-9.
“Especially, a lot of us come from different teams, but you’ve probably never been 0-9 in your life before. I mean, it’s tough, but I feel like we’ve got an opportunity to pull it off.”
The Jets’ banged-up secondary at least received some favorable injury news Friday, with Adam Gase revealing that cornerback Bless Austin might play Sunday after missing practice Thursday and undergoing an MRI exam on his neck.
Gase added he’s been “very impressed” with Herbert’s ability to avoid turnovers, while defensive coordinator Gregg Williams praised Chargers coach Anthony Lynn for game planning to his rookie quarterback’s strengths to get the ball downfield.
“I’ll tell you what, I didn’t do as much study on him in the offseason. I did a lot of study on Tua in the offseason,” Williams said. “Justin, he’s really, really having a good year. I think they’ve done a very good job of … manufacturing things for him that he’s familiar with offensively. And going around to matching things up to his skills set.
“I’ll tell you this, he’s like a lot of these other young gunslingers. He’s got a good, strong, deep arm that we’ve got to be very respectful for. He grows week by week by week. He’s not a person that you would say all of a sudden that he’s just a rookie. He’s got some very good play-time right now, and we as a staff have watched every single clip, every play he’s played multiple times. … Now we have to go out and play the way we’re supposed to play.”