The Jets' fourth-quarter breakdown on defense has been well publicized since the team's tough Opening Day loss to the Bills on Sunday. You can place blame where you want when analyzing what caused the defensive mishap, whether it be C.J. Mosley's absence or not enough pressure on Josh Allen.
However, a recurring theme throughout the game was the Jets' struggling cornerbacks.
Bills WR John Brown was a nuisance all day toward Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts -- the Jets' starting corners on the outside. He had seven receptions for 123 yards and the game-winning touchdown on his stat sheet at the end of the day, as they couldn't keep up with his blazing speed.
In total, Brown had three of his seven catches go for 25 yards or more, including his touchdown that was 38 yards for the win. Roberts was in coverage on that play and even committed a pass interference that was waved off after the score. Zay Jones, whom the Jets held to two catches for 18 yards, did break off a 20-yard gain with Johnson in coverage to set up Brown's touchdown on that drive as well.
The Jets' cornerback situation was highlighted throughout the preseason, as former GM Mike Maccagnan only brought in a nickel corner in Brian Poole during the offseason before Joe Douglas took over. Their lack of depth had Douglas bring in Nate Hairston and Marcus Cooper, but Hairston didn't record a stat in his very limited playing time and Cooper didn't make it on the field at all Sunday.
But if this group couldn't control the Bills' receiving corps, Jets fans may not want to look at what they'll be going up against in the next few weeks.
Here's a breakdown of the receivers these corners will have to matchup against in their next five games:
- Week 2: Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, David Njoku
- Week 3: Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman
- Week 5: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb
- Week 6: Alshon Jeffrey, Desean Jackson, Zach Ertz
- Week 7: Patriots Round Two
There are a few playmakers there to say the least, which means this unit is going to need to step up their game. This Monday night against the Browns kicks it off with two of the fastest, most elusive receivers in the game in Beckham and Landry. Njoku is also a big red zone threat and can go deep, too.
It's also pretty daunting that the Patriots have to be played twice this early in the season. And Brown just signed his deal to officially join New England on Monday. Because they needed another offensive threat...
The Jets defense as a whole can improve, but DC Gregg Williams needs better coverage from his starting corners going forward if this unit wishes to be successful against some pretty potent offenses. Better coverage will lead to more time for the pass rushers to get to the quarterback, something the team also needs to improve on.
It'll be a tough task, and after watching what happened with the Bills, it will be interesting to see if these corners can raise their play to match even better receivers in the coming weeks.