JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. Too many glitches: It's still early, but the Jeremy Bates-Sam Darnold offense has been slow-moving and out of sync at times.
The offense has burned seven timeouts in non-two-minute situations, and it has committed seven false-start penalties. Last week, there was a definite sense of frustration in the locker room with the game plan against the Browns. Individually, Robby Anderson is baffled because he rarely sees the ball. Quincy Enunwa, one of the Jets' most versatile players, is being pigeonholed into a small, specialized role.
Bottom line: They've scored only 29 points in the nine quarters since their 31-point third quarter in Week 1.
Welcome to life with a rookie quarterback.
The glitches probably wouldn't be occurring with Josh McCown in charge. Coach Todd Bowles knew the potential ramifications when he decided to make Darnold his starter, but he wanted his prized rookie to get on-the-job training, growing pains be damned. In many ways, this season is all about Darnold.
Ultimately, Darnold will benefit from this invaluable experience. In the meantime, the operation looks ragged and slow. The Jets are averaging 30.4 seconds per play on the game clock, seventh slowest in the league, per ESPN Stats & Information. In real time, the average is 41.6 seconds, second slowest only to the Carolina Panthers (42.0). Ideally, Bates wants an up-tempo attack. Right now, it's moving like a glacier.
Bates said faulty headsets contributed to some of the wasted timeouts, claiming occasional malfunctions in each of the three games caused problems with the coach-to-quarterback communication. Like every team, the Jets use hand signals when the headset isn't working, so there's really no excuse for persistent play-clock issues.
"We've come up with a system and we tried that system in Cleveland, and we had to call timeout," Bates said. "So we're still growing with that."
Darnold wears a wristband and refers to it in the huddle "when the plays are a little longer," Bates said. From what I can tell, Darnold relies on the wristband for third-down plays.
The Jets could be looking to streamline the system. This week on NFL Live, ESPN's Josina Anderson reported there's an "internal debate" within the organization on how to coach Darnold. A source told her the communication system needs to be simplified, inferring Darnold should call every play from his wristband.
Bates said he has no problems with the current setup or with Darnold, whom he described as "extremely bright. He can spit out the plays." Naturally, Bowles said there's no debate.
Everybody needs to get on the same page, because if the coaches can't agree on how to handle him, what chance does he have?
2. Brain game: Fox analyst Troy Aikman made an interesting comment about Darnold during last week's game, relating a story from Bates, who said the rookie didn't take notes in their early meetings in the spring. For the record, Darnold told me he does take notes -- some notes.
"I have a pretty good memory and I can remember stuff," he said. "I’m taking notes, but I’m not writing down everything he says. I feel like I can absorb a lot of information, but at the same time, I feel like if I write down literally everything, then that sometimes fogs my mind a little bit."
3. Happy return to the Ville: Sunday's game against the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field will bring back special memories for Enunwa, who capped his college career at Nebraska with a 99-yard touchdown reception in the 2013 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl.
With the nose of the ball almost touching the Nebraska goal line, Tommy Armstrong Jr. heaved a long pass to Enunwa, who caught it at the 45, shed a defender and raced 55 yards for the score. They were backed up because, on the previous play, Armstrong was sacked by Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who later became Enunwa's teammate with the Jets. Small world, right?
In Nebraska, Enunwa always will be remembered for that play. With the Jets, it's the exact opposite. He's developing a reputation as a possession receiver -- Mr. Bubble Screen. Of his 29 targets, 12 have come within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, including 9 behind the line. It was Darnold's only effective play last week: rapid-fire throws to Enunwa. Pretty soon, "Q," as he's known to teammates, will stand for "Quick."
When it was suggested that he has developed a nice chemistry with Darnold, Enunwa demurred.
"If you look at the last game, everything was manufactured," Enunwa said. "It was all manufactured. It wasn’t like I was getting open or anything. For me, the coaches are seeing I have the ability to get yards after the catch, so they're trying to get me the ball in those situations. In terms of chemistry, I can’t say this last game really showed we have much chemistry."
Obviously, Enunwa would like to have an expanded role. Stay tuned.
4. ASJ, the one that got away: I think some fans are wondering why the Jets didn't make a stronger effort to re-sign tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, whom they face Sunday. He signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Jaguars, including a $4 million guarantee -- a solid deal, but certainly not a bank-breaker. The Jets, who took him off the scrap heap and supported him through his well-documented battle with alcohol, refused to budge on a one-year offer. Clearly, they didn't see him as a big piece in their future.
"They don't feel I'm worth it," Seferian-Jenkins told me at the time. "It's OK. I'm going to prove it these next two years and hit the Pro Bowl and then I'll come back a free agent."
In an interview with ESPN Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco, Seferian-Jenkins spoke glowingly of the Jets, so it's easy why he'd want to return. Thing is, the Jets have four tight ends under the age of 27, making a reunion unlikely. They let Seferian-Jenkins walk, in part, because they had drafted Jordan Leggett, an ASJ clone. This year, they added Chris Herndon in the draft. They also felt Seferian-Jenkins had reached his ceiling.
So how's it going after three games? Neither side is tearing it up. The Jets' tight ends have combined for 10 catches, 101 yards and no touchdowns; ASJ has nine catches for 66 yards and one touchdown.
5: Rough calls: Like a lot of people around the league, coach Todd Bowles sounds confused by the new roughing-the-passer rules, saying, "I can't explain it. ... From my vantage point, the ones I've seen, those were very good plays. I don't know how to coach that in certain situations. It's very difficult to deal with."
A truly candid remark from Bowles, who usually doesn't do candid. Imagine how he'll feel if the Jets get flagged. That's right; they haven't been called for roughing the passer. Shocked, right? There have been 34 penalties leaguewide, the most through three weeks since at least 2001.
Roughing calls are damaging to the defense. Consider: The offense has scored on 63 percent of the drives in which roughing penalties are called, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"They have to rescind that rule because it's not fair to the players," said Jenkins, who was penalized and fined in the preseason for landing with his body weight on a quarterback. "I know it's an offensive league, but it's gotten to the point where people are getting hurt. I messed my knee up, but it wasn't as bad as [Miami's William] Hayes. We're risking our bodies to protect the quarterback. I know franchise quarterbacks make the league run, but there has to be some leeway."