Note: Your feedback indicated you prefer me to divide BGA into two parts. Part One covered the offense and can be accessed here…
We’re recapping yesterday’s loss to the Texans. After the jump, Part Two looks at the performance by the defense and special teams and also draws final conclusions. Remember, if you want me to go back and look at anything, or have any other questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll respond in BGA Extra later in the week.
A glass half full viewpoint of this defensive performance would point to the second half numbers and suggest that hopefully the defense is turning things around. The Texans gained just 57 yards on 22 carries in the second half, with 10 of the last 13 carries netting one yard or less. They also limited Matt Schaub to just four second half completions, including none in the last 19 minutes. The Texans ended up with 23 points, their lowest output of the season, as the Jets even managed to limit their tackling issues, missing only two on the day.
However, there were some major breakdowns in the first half and I’m going to go over these before we get into the individual analysis.
First of all, there was the first drive, where the Texans moved downfield effortlessly and scored on a 34-yard pass to Owen Daniels. This was good gameplanning by the Texans, as they moved into position by exploiting the over-aggressiveness of the Jets front seven and the lack of speed from their outside linebackers. Matt Schaub twice targeted Pace in zone coverage and also caught out Bryan Thomas with a screen pass for another first down. They also picked up a first down on an end-around. The touchdown itself again exploited this aggressiveness, as Landry and Bell both bit on a play-action fake and Landry vacated the deep middle. Antonio Cromartie got beaten to the inside, but almost certainly would have been expecting help and his reaction seemed to indicate that was the case.
The next breakdown didn’t lead to a score, but hurt the Jets in terms of field position, as they had just tied the score and the Texans were backed up at their own four yard line. Arian Foster ran for a 46-yard gain that meant the Jets ended up getting the ball back at their 15 instead of in great field position. On this play, the Jets essentially had four defensive linemen and four linebackers, with Yeremiah Bell coming into the box alongside Harris. At the point of attack, Muhammad Wilkerson was double teamed and driven to the ground while Bryan Thomas and Bart Scott each took on a blocker on the outside. David Harris took on the lead-blocking fullback but that left a huge gap over left guard. Ordinarily Scott would be taking on that block and Harris would be cleaning up behind him, but Bell had stayed over on the left side. What turned it into a big gain was that Kyle Wilson came up too fast and overpursued, then Laron Landry compounded matters by getting turned around in the open field. It looked like the Jets were outschemed on that play – putting eight in the box and then getting burned when the Texans found an easy route to the second level.
The final major breakdown was on the second touchdown drive as the Texans went 42 yards on three running plays. The first saw Scott and Harris run blitzing up the middle on a cross-rushing stunt but Wilkerson got triple teamed on the edge and forced to the ground on the inside, allowing Foster to cut inside Bryan Thomas for eight. The second saw Foster bounce outside as Pace missed a tackle on the edge and Scott and Landry couldn’t get off blocks on the outside. Finally, he ran untouched for a score with Harris getting blown up in the hole, McIntyre driven out of the play with a kickout block and Wilson unable to get off a downfield block.
These were some well-designed plays from the league’s best running team, but the Jets did manage to make an adjustment in the second half.
There’s no question that the Jets missed Sione Po’uha, but – as the previous two games showed – if he’s not healthy then that’s not going to help much. Unfortunately, Kenrick Ellis is also injured now, so that will put pressure on him to return even if he’s not ready to do so. Like last week, Ellis was in for 40 snaps and I continue to believe that this might be too many for him. He played well in the first three games, where he averaged 24 snaps, but in the last two, he’s started off pretty well but then started to look worn down. He was in on a couple of run stuffs and pressured Schaub once, but also ended up on the ground a couple of times and lost a couple of battles at the point of attack, especially as the game wore on.
When Ellis got hurt, Damon Harrison came off the bench for the last five snaps and got some face time when he stood up his blocker on third and one and bottled up the run so the Jets got the ball back with a chance to win the game. While it was great to see him come in and make an impact, this is not a big enough sample to know whether he could handle more reps. He did come into the game fresh, so it’s impossible to know how his conditioning would be once he gets to 10-20 snaps and he did end up on the ground on his last two snaps. However, it’s exciting to see signs of promise from a young player at this juncture of the season.
The only other realistic option at nose tackle is Mike DeVito, who has filled in at the position in the past. DeVito’s performance last night was excellent, even in the face of some double teams. He was getting constant penetration, shedding blocks to make plays in the running game and standing his ground at the point of attack. He also had one pressure as a pass rusher, as he played over 75% of the snaps for the first time since Week 3 of last season. Other than on one short yardage play, he never really got blown off the line. Even if Po’uha is back next week, I’d expect DeVito to play plenty of snaps at the nose tackle spot.
Let’s make something clear about Muhammad Wilkerson’s impact in this game. He was constantly double-teamed, even on passing downs. Despite this he had a disruptive game, with one hit and three pressures as well as several plays where he got penetration to redirect a runner. He was only in on one run stuff and did get blocked to the ground on two of the bigger running plays, but held his ground the rest of the time. Considering he was facing mostly single-team blocks last year, there’s no doubting how far he’s come. I would love to see what he could do alongside a healthy Po’uha this year, but I’m not sure if that’s ever going to happen.
Finally, Quinton Coples stuffed one run and flushed the quarterback out of the pocket once, but that was the only impact he had. He almost made an impact play in the backfield, but missed the tackle. The good news is that there were only a couple of plays where his blocker got the better of him to take him out of the play. He’s someone else who isn’t being helped by the injuries in the front seven.
While Bart Scott didn’t miss any tackles for the first time this season, he was completely ineffective. Other than a big tackle for a loss in the last minute, Scott only had one tackle and he didn’t register any pressure as a pass rusher. Scott is always at his most effective when he’s attacking the line of scrimmage and he wasn’t doing that last night. This may be because of his toe/foot injury, which is obviously bothering him because Josh Mauga and Demario Davis each saw plenty of time spelling him. The Texans got most of their running yardage by running to Harris’ side and getting blockers to the second level to prevent Scott from getting across. Scott was, however, the only starting linebacker not to be exploited in coverage. As with Po’uha, the Jets need Scott to be healthy and taking on blockers, otherwise it not only affects his own impact on the game, but also put Harris under extra pressure.
Harris had a productive day, with seven stops in the running game. However, he was taken out at the key moment on a couple of big plays, notably Foster’s touchdown and on a screen pass to James Casey. He also got beaten on a key third down conversion.
Thomas performed reasonably well, before leaving with yet another injury. While he was involved in a couple of the big plays in the first half, he did stuff a couple of runs and drew a holding penalty as he stretched a run to the outside. If Thomas is unable to go this weekend, could this be where the Jets finally activate Ricky Sapp from the practice squad? They’ll probably have to release a healthy player to do so and it’s not easy to see who isn’t likely to be needed right now. Maybe Thomas himself could be released and re-signed, like before.
Pace had a couple of pressures and stuffed a couple of runs including a big one on third down. However, he got caught inside on one run and struggled in the passing game, giving up four catches, including one where a receiver got behind him in zone coverage for a costly first down and another where he was handled on a screen pass. He also had a key missed tackle in the first half. He played better this week than he did against the 49ers though.
Demario Davis was in on 11 snaps this week – three as an inside linebacker and eight on the outside. He only rushed the quarterback once and didn’t record a tackle. His best moment saw him force a run back inside on third down to force the Texans to settle for a field goal, but on the negative side of the ledger, he and LaRon Landry got mixed up in zone coverage, leaving Owen Daniels all alone for an easy third and long conversion.
Garrett McIntyre and Aaron Maybin each pressured Schaub once off the bench. While he was blocked out of a couple of key plays, McIntyre did assist on a stop for no gain. Maybin also assisted on a run stuff. Mauga had one key open field tackle as Foster cut back at the second level, but otherwise did not make much noise and now he’s injured as well. This will certainly mean more playing time for Davis, but could it mean Nick Bellore gets a role on defense too?
Let’s give Antonio Cromartie a ton of credit. He completely shut out Andre Johnson, even managing to pick a pass off. The Jets did mix in quite a lot of zone which meant that Johnson did manage to catch one pass when Cromartie wasn’t covering and also Cromartie was the nearest guy on three completions, one of which was the Daniels touchdown mentioned above. He continues to do a much better job of using his hands to get a jam in press coverage, almost to the point where you wonder why they ever bother to use him in a zone capacity.
Somehow, Wilson and Ellis Lankster managed to go the whole game without being targeted. A lot of that was a product of the zone defenses the Jets were employing, but after last week where Wilson was tested early and often, it was encouraging to see. Wilson did make a couple of bad plays against the run, whereas Lankster – limited to 15 snaps – made a good hit after a play where Pace gave up a first down. I think Wilson may have been at fault on the 12 men on the field penalty because the Jets went with a 4-4-3 run defense with Wilson out on the next two plays.
Aaron Berry did not get any snaps on defense and Isaiah Trufant hasn’t played on defense since week one.
At safety, Landry seemed to have been at fault on the Daniels touchdown, had the coverage mix-up with Davis and was blocked out of the play that set up Foster’s touchdown. He’s still playing more disciplined than he was at the start of the year though. It was noted that Landry was benched during the middle of the second quarter (on the series after Foster’s touchdown). I can’t really shed any light on why that was, because you couldn’t pin that drive on him.
He and Yeremiah Bell combined for 15 tackles, which is probably not a good thing, because it underlines how often runners were able to get past the front seven. Bell also took a bad angle on the end-around on the first drive and was slow to react on Foster’s big run. He gave up two first downs in coverage, whereas Landry gave up one.
Eric Smith also got beaten for a costly first down, but did break up a pass and was in good position on another. Smith was a guy who, in the past, only seemed to play well when he was in a full-time role, but so far he has responded well to being a sub-package player. Will the Jets be tempted to increase his role at some point? I know most of you would hope not.
Finally, Josh Bush got on the field on defense for the first time and had a pressure on an overload blitz.
Clearly, the star on special teams this week was McKnight, whose spectacular kickoff return really fired up the Jets and got them into the game. He also had one other good return, but there was also one that he muffed and had to fall on inside the 15. Give Reuland and Bellore credit for some good blocks on the touchdown. Reuland had one other good block on special teams too, on Tebow’s fake punt run. Hilliard also blocked well on that play and had three special teams tackles.
In coverage, Trufant committed one penalty and drew another. In his debut, Aaron Berry found himself blocked into Kerley on a punt return, almost causing a muff. Kerley had to fair catch or leave every single punt, so had zero return yards on the day. Cumberland was pancaked on a kick coverage.
Coach Westhoff was under the microscope here, as the Tebow fake punt was a calculated risk, but the onside kick immediately after the McKnight touchdown might have been a step too far. Just one play later, the Texans were back in field goal range, certain to make it a two-possession game. On the play, Schilens perhaps should have come up with the ball, but that catch was harder than it looked, because you could tell he was aware that the ball needed to travel ten yards before he could grab it. He would have been able to go up and get it a lot sooner if that had not been an issue, but he kind of had to wait for it to drop, by which time he was being knocked off balance. Obviously, you’re a genius when that works and look foolish when it fails. At that point of the game, it backfired badly and you’re left to wonder what would have happened if the Jets kicked away and then got a defensive stop.
Those two weren’t the only questionable special teams coaching decisions though. I take issue with going all out for a punt block at the end and leaving Kerley to come up and pick up the gunner to prevent an easy first down. Had Kerley stayed in to fair catch the ball inside the 10, the Jets would have had it at the five yard line with 12 seconds left. By leaving the downfield area empty, the ball was allowed to run to a halt with four seconds to go. While your chances of winning the game from that position are pretty slim, you could run a deep out (or two shorter ones) to get yourself close enough to have a realistic chance of setting up some kind of miracle on the last play. In my opinion, that wasn’t a good job of playing the percentages, there.
Finally, in the kicking game, punter
Tom Robert Malone was disappointing, although his numbers ended up being pretty good because of some penalties that helped restrict the Texans to three return yards on six kicks. Nick Folk remains perfect on the year, although he’s only attempted seven field goals all year.
During the week, people were talking about the Jets like they’re never going to win another game. Having gone toe-to-toe with the Texans, even though the better team won, the Jets have hopefully shown that they can still be competitive against anyone. Can they take care of business against weaker teams? We’ll have to wait and see, but there are plenty so-called weaker teams on their schedule over the second half, so maybe this team can remain in contention after all.
There were some positives this week and it will be interesting to see whether these will carry over to next week and beyond. It’s still concerning how many players are getting injured and that’s a problem that didn’t improve at all this week. However, if more young guys can take their opportunity for extra playing time and run with it like Harrison did this week, then perhaps that will give us some hope for the future.
The 49ers game was so bad, that it’s difficult to pinpoint any area where the Jets didn’t improve this week. Let’s hope they keep these things trending in the right direction.
Next up, Indianapolis. The Jets have already seen plenty of bad luck this season…let’s hope they see some bad Luck on Sunday.
Note: Your feedback indicated you prefer me to divide BGA into two parts. Part One covered the offense and can be accessed here…
In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the eight sacks the Jets' D laid on the Tennessee Titans, as well as Christian Hackenberg's performance. Later, the guys discuss the wide receivers, offensive line, and their expectations for this week's matchup with the Detroit Lions.
This preseason, I'll be spotlighting an under-the-radar player who impressed me in each game and assessing that player's chances of making the team. Today, we'll look at one of the top performers in the Jets' 16-6 loss to the Lions, cornerback Dexter McDougle.
Who is he?
Tags: Dexter McDougle
Remember all that progress that Christian Hackenberg appeared to make in the Jets' preseason opener? Well, by Week 2 it was gone.
Hackenberg, getting a surprise start over veteran Josh McCown, gave an ugly and unproductive performance in the Jets 16-6 loss to the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit. He was a miserable 2 of 6 for 14 yards, with both completions coming on dump-offs to running back Bilal Powell. In a full half of action he led the Jets to just two first downs and a total of 43 yards.
Christian Hackenberg could only complete two passes, the Jets' defense failed to contain Matthew Stafford, and the Lions beat the Jets, 16-6, in the second preseason game.
Hackenberg was sacked twice and completed two of his six passes. During the Jets' opening drive, Hackenberg fumbled after he was hit by Detroit's Cornelius Washington, but the Jets recovered. Bryce Petty completed 15 of his 24 passes for 160 yards and threw an interception for the Jets, who were 4-for-13 on third down.
Myles White led the Jets in receiving with three catches for 43 yards, while Jordan Leggett hauled in two catches for 40 yards. Bilil Powell carried the ball nine times for 32 yards as the Jets were unable to get much going in the running game.
Darron Lee and Morris Clairbone had five tackles to lead the Jets on defense, while Demario Davis, Josh Martin, and Corey Lemonier each had a sack. >> Box score
Tags: Christian Hackenberg
Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson has become more of a vocal leader this season as he has taken it upon himself to fill that void in the locker room.
Linebacker David Harris was the voice in the Jets' locker room for years. Now that he is gone, Wilkerson is the next man in line and he is embracing the new role.
"I've been here for a long time now," Wilkerson told The Post's Brian Costello, "I always looked up to older guys who are no longer here. I stepped into the footsteps into being a leader. I wasn't vocal [before], but I've always been a leader on this team. David Harris isn't here anymore, so I took it upon myself to speak up more and get out of my comfort zone."
Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
The Jets are undefeated, which at the moment is insignificant. But really, given all the predictions of doom and gloom, some people probably thought they wouldn't even end up with one preseason win.
They did, but it wasn't pretty (7-3 over the Tennessee Titans at home last Saturday), and they barely answered any of the many, many major question marks surrounding their season and long-term future. Maybe their game in Detroit against the Lions on Saturday night will provide a few more clues about the direction they're headed.
In the meantime, here are five things worth watching at Ford Field tonight:
Tags: Christian Hackenberg
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.
While New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles did name a starting quarterback for Saturday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions, he is expected to give Josh McCown more playing time.
McCown, who did not get receive any reps at Thursday's practice when the Jets did game-plan prep, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini, played the opening drive last week in New York's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans, but Christian Hackenberg then played the following eight possessions.
Bowles said he didn't anticipate any lineup changes, but left the door open to it by saying, "we'll discuss it."
New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin tweaked his back and sat out practice Thursday, leaving him uncertain for the preseason game at Detroit on Saturday night.
Mauldin had been dealing with a back issue earlier during training camp, but returned to the field Wednesday. Coach Todd Bowles said the third-year linebacker was inside receiving treatment during practice Thursday.
Bowles added that he was unsure how long Mauldin would be sidelined, but said that he would likely not play against the Lions.
Looking to gain a physical edge on the field, Jets linebacker Darron Lee gained nine pounds heading into training camp.
Lee, who was 227 pounds after minicamp ended, is now 236 at training camp.
"On my conditioning test, everybody was like, 'You look noticeably bigger,'" Lee said, according to the New York Daily News. "Hey, I put in that work."
Tags: Darron Lee
Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin showed up to a Manhattan court on Wednesday for his alleged assault of a Queens man, but the case has been delayed because prosecution wasn't ready to file paper work, according to multiple reports.
Mauldin had turned himself in to authorities in late June for his alleged role in the nightclub attack that took place on April 2. The New York Post reported on June 21 that Mauldin had been charged with misdemeanor assault, which carries a maximum sentence of year in jail.
Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - In the wake of the ugly riots in Charlottesville, Va., there's a possibility that more NFL players will decline to stand for the national anthem during preseason games this weekend, joining a protest started by Colin Kaepernick last year. So far there's no indication any Jets players will join them.
But if they do, their coach will have their back.
"We don't have a rule book on what's right to protest and not protest," Bowles said at Jets training camp on Wednesday. "You don't know those things until the course of time, whether it's sitting for the anthem, whether it's raising your fist, wither it's speaking out, a walk to Washington -- who's to say whose protest is good or bad?"
Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:
John Morton seemed to like everything he saw with Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg on Saturday night. He liked his poise, his decisiveness, the decisions he made. It was clearly a step in the right direction.
But was it a big step toward Hackenberg getting the starting job?
That's a question that Morton, the Jets new offensive coordinator, wasn't willing to answer on Tuesday. In fact, Morton made it sound like Hackenberg still has a long ways to go.
Jets WR Lucky Whitehead, who suffered a broken foot during Monday's practice, will have surgery for the injury, head coach Todd Bowles said on Wednesday.
Prior to deciding on surgery, Whitehead was expected to miss four-to-six weeks, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.
Whitehead joined the Jets after he was released by the Cowboys on July 24. He returend two punts and a kickoff in the Jets' preseason opener. Serving primarily as a returner, he caught three passes for 48 yards for the Cowboys in 2016.
Jets running back Matt Forte is missing time in the preseason and training camp due to a hamstring injury for the second year in a row, but told NJ.com's JJ Conrad he feels he is close to returning to the field.
"I'm feeling good, but not good enough to be in full practice yet," Forte said to Conrad on Monday. "I'm just going through what the trainers tell me, easing back in. I don't want to go back out there immediately and get injured again."
Forte, who did not play in Saturday's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans in the Jets' preseason opener, said he the trainers are being cautious with him given the nature of hamstring injuries and the fact the veteran running back underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus at the end of last season.
Tags: Matt Forte
The Jets have signed undrafted rookie WR Daniel Williams, and waived WR Deshon Foxx, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.
Williams spent time with the Oakland Raiders after going undrafted out of Jackson State (Miss.). Standing at 6-foot-2, 234 pounds, he totaled 184 receptions for 2,497 yards and 19 touchdowns in four years at college.
Foxx went undrafted as well out of UConn in 2016. He spent time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad before joining the Jets this offseason. The Jets waived him on May 9, but eventually resigned him on May 22.
With Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty still early in their NFL careers, Josh McCown is taking a leadership and mentorship role at quarterback in his first season with the Jets.
"Every quarterback goes out there and they want to finish each drive with a touchdown, so when those things are happening, there is kind of an inner fight of, man, do I need to do more?" McCown said, according to Newsday. "Things happen and you get kind of delayed, but the fight as a quarterback is to stay in the system, stay within the game and don't be greedy and force the ball. So my hat is off to both of them for not doing that."
Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
SNY's Jonas Schwartz and former NFL guard Willie Colon are live from Jets training camp in Florham Park. The guys open the show with SNY Jets reporter Jeane Coakley to discuss the biggest storylines from camp. Then, they welcome in tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who opens up about the troubled start to his NFL career, and how he is a changed man. Later, rookie safety Marcus Maye joins the show to give his thoughts on his first NFL training camp, and how he is adjusting to life in the New York area.
Click below to listen
Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The Jets signed former Atlanta Falcons defensive back Robenson Therezie after safety Doug Middleton reportedly suffered a torn pec.
Therezie, a 26-year-old free safety, recorded one interception, two passes defensed and 36 combined tackles in 25 games with Atlanta over the past two seasons. He was an undrafted free agent out of Auburn.
Middleton, who was competing for a backup role with New York, recorded six combined tackles and one pass defensed in four games as a Jet last season. He suffered the injury in the fourth quarter in Saturday's 7-3 preseason win over the Tennessee Titans and is expected to undergo surgery, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta.
The Jets also announced they waived fullback Algernon Brown, who appeared in eight offensive plays and two plays on special teams on Saturday. He recorded 1,310 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in four seasons with BYU.
This preseason, I'll be spotlighting an under-the-radar player who impressed me in each game and assessing that player's chances of making the team. Today we'll look at defensive lineman Claude Pelon, who was one of the top performers in the Jets' 7-3 win over the Titans in the preseason opener.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The last time anybody saw Christian Hackenberg in a game was the preseason finale almost a year ago. It was a disaster. He completed just 11 of 31 passes for 54 yards and threw an interception, too.
It was a much, much different and better Hackenberg that the Jets got to see on Saturday night.
Josh McCown threw the Jets' first touchdown of the preseason and the team's defense tallied eight sacks in a 7-3 win over the Titans on Saturday at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets kept the Titans out of the endzone for the duration of the game, allowing only a field goal on a five-play, 49-yard drive in the third quarter.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The good news is the Jets really have no choice but to play most of their starters in their preseason opener. Or maybe that's the bad news given the low expectations for this team.
But Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles have promised competition all summer long for almost every job on the roster, and the competition begins for real against the Tennessee Titans at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. Not all jobs are up for grabs, of course, but quite a few are.
Here's an inside look at some of the battles and 10 intriguing players to watch: