BGA is back…and this time it’s preseasonal (again)!
Coming up, part two of your breakdown of last night’s big loss to the Eagles with detailed analysis of the defensive performance and a few notes on special teams.
Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle.
This week, we're splitting the BGA into two and we're getting it up super-early because news of the final cuts should leak out during the day. We covered the offense late last night but now turn our attention to the defense and special teams.
The Jets had fewer players on defense that we can expect to be contributing this season than they did on offense and it showed. Philadelphia carved them up with 568 yards of offense and seven scoring drives.
In their defense, the Jets played about as vanilla as I've ever seen them in the Rex Ryan era. With limited resources at defensive end/outside linebacker, the Jets basically played a conventional nickel package all day, rarely blitzed or stunted and played what looked like a basic quarters coverage in the defensive secondary. We can't therefore read too much into how anyone played in this game, because it bore little resemblance to how any of these players would be expected to play during the season.
Still, let's recap how everyone fared...
Last year, defensive lineman Junior Aumavae had put together an impressive preseason campaign, with good consistency and a couple of "wow" plays. Entering the final preseason game, he had a good chance to lock down a practice squad spot and maybe even make a case for a roster spot. Unfortunately, he struggled badly and fell off the radar completely. I had that in mind with the so-far impressive TJ Barnes and Kerry Hyder both in more or less the same situation entering this game.
Happily, both held up pretty well, although neither was what you'd term dominant. Barnes was disruptive early with a couple of run stuffs, but then found himself getting blocked out of quite a few plays. He did manage one more run stuff before not playing much down the stretch. Hyder was also in on a couple of run stuffs in the first half but then found himself getting blocked off the line more consistently in the second half. He did beat his man once for a pressure. It looks likely that Barnes will be on the active roster and Hyder on the practice squad (if he clears waivers).
As noted in the offensive section, guard William Campbell also saw reps at defensive tackle. That's not a big deal for him, since that was the position he played in college, but it perhaps doesn't bode well for his future. He did assist on one stop near the line but was also forced inside on a short yardage conversion.
Tevita Finau has had a pretty good preseason and he was easily the Jets most effective pass rusher last night, as they lacked any real bite-. I had him down for four pressures and three run stuffs, including the 4th and one stop on a quarterback sneak. He was blocked out of a few plays though and also overpursued once.
Trevor Reilly was standing up at times, but was effectively employed as a defensive end most of the time. He seemed to be muscled out of quite a lot of plays due to his relative lack of size, but set the edge well a few times, had a couple of pressures and even dropped into coverage to break up a pass. If Reilly makes the final roster, this probably won't be particularly indicative of what you can expect his role to be.
With IK Enemkpali and Troy Davis both out injured, Zach Thompson was the only other defensive end the Jets had available. He was blocked out of a handful of plays, but did assist on one run play and dropped into the flat on an incomplete pass.
Garrett McIntyre also did not play, but I believe he was just rested because he's going to be on the team. Whether Davis makes it will depend on his injury status, I assume. Leger Douzable, Kenrick Ellis and the starters were all rested, despite the fact the official gamebook credits Douzable as being in the starting line-up.
Nick Bellore had to leave the game with a calf strain that we hear is nothing serious. Before he left, he blew up one run, made a good tackle after a short pass and had a pressure on a blitz. He did get blocked out of a couple of plays and missed a tackle too though.
AJ Edds started preseason off really well, but seems to have levelled off a bit over the last few weeks. He made a couple of important tackles and had one pressure, but was blocked out of too many plays and overpursued badly once.
It was a positive day for rookie Jeremiah George though. The last time George saw extended action was in the first preseason game where he looked overmatched. However, last night, he avoided any serious mistakes and was around the ball a lot, ending up with seven tackles, three close to the line and one for a loss on a short pass. He also made a play in coverage, although he was blocked out of one fourth quarter play at the second level. I'd basically written off George's chances at winning a roster spot, but if he'd played like this from the start, I'd have fancied his chances.
I would assume Bellore and Edds have done enough to make it, but I don't know if either will get many defensive reps unless there are injuries.
The cornerbacks would come under plenty of scrutiny here, but as noted above, the Jets played a pretty straightforward quarters coverage a lot of the time, leaving the corners to fend for themselves on the outside. Both starters, Ellis Lankster and LeQuan Lewis did make some good plays, but each got beaten several times.
Lewis got off to a good start when he jumped a route in the end zone for an interception. However, moments later he was apparently expecting safety help and let his man get behind him for an easy 43-yard score. Lewis gave up three more first downs, one as he missed a tackle in the flat, but was in a good position on one more incompletion. If Dimitri Patterson is going to be released as some people are predicting then that potentially creates an open roster spot for someone like Lewis, despite his struggles here. However, he might then be the first guy bumped off the roster if the Jets claim another cornerback to improve their depth.
Lankster disappointingly gave up a handful of first downs, although one of these was just before half time and he did make the tackle to force the Eagles to settle for a field goal. Lankster was targeted more often than Lewis and was also in good position on four incompletions, one of which he almost intercepted. He also made one good play against the run. He did also get penalized twice for holding though. Lankster was again employed mostly in off-coverage, whereas his strength is press coverage and that's most likely how they'd use him if he was given a role on the defense this year.
Starting in the slot was Johnny Patrick who made a couple of great plays in the backfield, but also missed two tackles and overpursued badly on one play. In coverage, he was beaten on third down but the receiver dropped the pass. Jeremy Reeves and Brandon Dixon also saw action. Dixon was blocked out of the play downfield on the late touchdown run.
At safety Rontez Miles stood out. He was constantly around the football, making a load of positive plays. He did miss a couple of tackles and overpursued once though. He also added a couple of pressures off the edge.
Like Miles, Jaiquawn Jarrett had nine tackles. However, he probably had the worst day out of all the anticipated regular season contributors to have suited up. When he didn't get into the game early, I had assumed he'd been rested, so I was surprised to see him entering the game late on. It's possible he wouldn't even have played if Josh Bush didn't injure his leg in the third quarter. Jarrett then didn't do himself any favors when he had a bad missed tackle and got beaten for two first downs and a touchdown in coverage in just over a quarter of work. Prior to this game, I'd have thought he was a lock for the roster. Now, I'm not so sure, especially after Miles' active display.
Bush could have been one to capitalize on Jarrett's struggles, but they kept targeting him down the seam for four first downs. He also almost gave up a touchdown as he didn't look back for the ball, but - with Miles' help - was able to force the receiver out of the end zone before he could get two feet down. Bush was also the safety on Lewis' side of the field when he was beaten for that touchdown, so it's likely Bush either should have been back there or should have done a better job of communicating where he would be. There were a few apparent communication issues in the secondary on the day, which Bush appeared to be in charge of.
Let's wrap up with some bullet point notes on the special teams:
- Nick Folk tuned up with one touchback and an extra point
- Once again, Ryan Quigley shanked a punt out of bounds and outkicked his coverage a few times (although there was a penalty to negate the longest return). He's been far from impressive this preseason
- Lewis made a couple of plays, with a tackle and a downed punt, helping his chances
- Saalim Hakim looked uncertain on kick returns all day and overpursued badly in punt coverage once. He did have one return past the 20 with a face mask penalty tacked on and made a great play to down a punt at the six yard line
- Jalen Saunders didn't exactly shine either, going backwards 10 yards on a punt return. He does look comfortable catching punts though
- Edds and Quincy Enunwa also made plays on special teams and Patrick drew a flag
- Zach Sudfeld had a bad missed tackle in the open field
- If Bush doesn't make the team, I wonder who the punt protector will be. It's been him most of the preseason.
That's it for the preseason. I'll be back with a BGA Preview, breakdowns for each position and a BGA Extra for each game during the season. One final reminder to close - if someone is reported to have "made the team" don't forget they could yet be displaced by a waiver claim between now and opening day.