Through the first two weeks of the NFL season, the New York Jets have been one of the worst teams in football. Not only are they 0-2, but their two losses haven't really even been close. In Week 1, they fell behind 21-0 before losing 27-17. In Week 2, they got blown out 31-13 by a 49ers team that was missing roughly half its roster due to injuries. In both losses, the Jets got off to a slow start, and apparently there's an explanation for why that's been happening.
According to safety Bradley McDougald, the team's lack of success this season can be attributed to the fact that they haven't looked good in practice.
"It all goes back to practice," McDougald said told SNY this week, via the New York Post. "We've had some slow practices and it correlates to the game. We need to have a complete, full week of just great practices. I don't think we've had that yet. As soon as we realize that and hone on in to how important practice is and come out and win at practice then it will translate to the games on Sunday."
That's about as close as you'll hear a player get to calling out his coaching staff without actually calling them out. McDougald, who knows a thing or two about success after spending the past three seasons in Seattle, claims the Jets haven't had a "dominating week" of practice since he's been there, and since you're probably wondering, he was traded to New York in July in the deal that sent Jamal Adams to the Seahawks.
"We've yet to have one complete dominating week in practice," McDougald said. "Until we can dominate in practice Wednesday, Thursday [and] Friday, Sunday is going to be a toss-up."
It's one thing for one player to have that opinion, but there are multiple Jets players who basically said the same thing this week. During an interview on Tuesday with WFAN in New York, linebacker Avery Williamson was asked about McDougald's comments and he agreed with the safety's sentiment.
"I definitely can agree with him at times; sometimes in practice, guys are missing tackles or we're not doing things right, we haven't been as crisp as we should be at times," Williamson said, via the Post. "Or starting fast -- he's definitely correct that at times, we don't start fast at practice. We haven't the last two weeks, but that's something we have to fix ourselves, because you can't come out sluggish in games and expect to win. It's tough to recover when a team you're playing is that good."
That's a damning indictment on head coach Adam Gase. If a team isn't practicing well, that falls squarely on the coach's shoulders. Apparently, Gase hasn't been attending the same practices as Williamson and McDougald, because he doesn't feel the same way as his two players.
"I haven't necessarily felt that," Gase said, via the Post. "When I watch our guys, I feel like guys are flying around. They're chasing the ball. You're always looking to improve in practice with everything from how you feel the speed of individual goes, all the drills that you're doing, the routes versus air, team period, 7-on-7, scout team stuff, all those types of things. You're always looking for ways to improve not only the speed and the tempo, it's the execution as well. Everything is built to get better every day."
If the team is getting better every day, as Gase claims, then you would think it would start to show on the field. But that hasn't happened so far, which seems to add to the merit of the players' claims. For Gase, the two complaints apparently came out of nowhere because he had no idea that there were multiple players who thought the team was loafing at practice.
"Nobody said anything during the week," Gase said. "I felt like we had really good tempo to practice. Sometimes an individual guy, if he wants to change something, we talk about it every week. It's not like it's not an open forum. If somebody doesn't like the way something is going, we can easily speak up."
The complaints by McDougald and Williamson just add more drama to a Jets season that it's already seen plenty of it. If the drama continues in New York and the Jets keep losing, there's a chance that Gase might not make it through the season.