The Jets don’t have the margin for error to withstand what first-year coach Robert Saleh described as the “silly” penalties they took over and over during Sunday’s 26-0 loss in Denver.
Saleh’s team was flagged eight times for 89 yards, including an inexcusable delay of game penalty on a field-goal attempt that knocked the Jets out of range in the second quarter and their first unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of the season for taunting by Justin Hardee in the third. Defensive end Shaq Lawson also was penalized for roughing Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the second half.
“Just silly penalties that don’t need to happen,” Saleh said after his team fell to 0-3 to start the season. “I’m with you on that one, and we know we’re better than that. And we’ll be better.”
Saleh took the blame for the delay call on what would have been a 56-yard field goal attempt by kicker Matt Ammendola with the Jets trailing 10-0 with 7:54 to go before halftime after rookie quarterback Zach Wilson had been unable to connect with Corey Davis downfield on the previous play.
“We’ve got to transition faster into [the] field goal,” Saleh said. “We were looking for a shot-clock reset, with the ball being way downfield and all that stuff. But obviously they’re not going to give it to us.
“We’ve still got to operate a lot faster. I’m going to start with the coaching on that one. We’ve got to get guys on and off the field faster and we’ve got to get the ball off.”
Rookie cornerback Brandin Echols also committed defensive pass interference on Courtland Sutton in the end zone late in the first half, leading to another Denver touchdown. Hardee’s taunting penalty came after covering a fair catch on a punt in the third.
The Jets had committed eight penalties for 77 yards in their Week 2 loss to the Patriots after only getting caught five times for 30 yards in their season-opening loss to the Panthers.
“Saleh always talks about this is a precision league. It’s hard enough to win as it is. But you can’t do things to help that cause for the opposing team,” defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. “You can’t put yourself in bad situations. You can’t have untimely penalties in key situations. But unfortunately that’s part of the growing process, right?
“You’re going to have to stumble a little bit and take those lumps. And then eventually you learn and eventually it gets better. Right now we’re kind of in the thick of things not going so well for us. But we’ll continue to grow from it all and continue to do things better. It’s not going to be easy. I think the sooner people realize that, the better it will be.”