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…
Top quarterback prospect Josh Rosen isn't going to make any assumptions as to why the Jets traded up to No. 3. At least not publicly.
The UCLA product spoke on "The Rich Eisen Show," and admitted working out for the Jets privately on Thursday. He also said that he found out New York traded up from No. 6 to No. 3 in the NFL Draft via Instagram.
Eisen points out that the team traded up the day after viewing Rosen's skills at his UCLA Pro Day. However, Rosen stayed quiet when asked if he sees a connection there.
Wyoming QB Josh Allen was the last of the "Big Four" quarterback prospects to participate in his Pro Day on Friday.
Sixteen teams traveled to Laramie, Wyoming to take a gander at Allen and his famed cannon arm. Among them were the Giants, who had head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula, and senior vice president of player evaluation Chris Mara in attendance.
Allen's accuracy issue that arose in college (threw 56 perent over his three-year career) was the main question heading into the Pro Day. He did have a few throws that went awry, but reports said he was on target with most of the 60 tosses he had on the day.
The Jets have the biggest offer out to free agent DT Ndamukong Suh, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who says Suh would need to take less money to go to another team -- and is considering doing so.
Suh told Jordan Schultz of Yahoo! that the Jets are a "serious contender" for his services, along with the Titans, Rams, and Saints.
Additionally, Jets head coach Todd Bowles has told Suh how the Jets envision utilizing him should he sign, according to Schultz...
The Jets will sign WR Andre Roberts, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Roberts, 30, had one reception for 12 yards while playing 16 games and mainly serving in a special teams capacity last season for the Falcons.
He had 14 receptions for 188 yards and one touchdown in 16 games for the Lions in 2016.
Free agent WR Allen Hurns will sign with the Cowboys, he told Josina Anderson of ESPN.
Wednesday's snowstorm in New York City has forced him to delay his visit with the Jets, and the team signed Terrelle Pryor the next day.
After the storm delayed his Jets visit, Hurns instead visited the Cowboys on Wednesday, according to Anderson.
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: With Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson coming off career-years and 2016 standout Quincy Enunwa set to return from a neck injury that caused him to miss the entire season, it's worth considering how the newest Jet, Terrelle Pryor, will fit into the Jets' plans for 2018.
Some are already speculating that this signing could make Kearse expendable. Trading Kearse would save the team $5 million and could enable them to recoup some of the value they surrendered in last week's trade up to No.3 in the Draft.
With Enunwa's availability uncertain and Anderson's ongoing off-field issues, Pryor's inclusion means the team doesn't have to depend on both players being available all year. Pryor is coming off an ankle surgery himself. Given the uncertainty here, it seems more pragmatic to retain Kearse and decide after the season who to build around. None of the four are under contract for 2019, although Anderson will be a restricted free agent...
Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson
The Jets' big move from No. 6 to No. 3 in the draft has certainly shaken up the Top Five, where there is almost certain now to be a run on quarterbacks. The consensus around the league is that at least two, probably three, and maybe four quarterbacks will go in the first five picks.
Of course, there are just over four weeks until the NFL Draft begins on April 26, so a lot can still change. For now, here's a projection of how the first 10 picks will go...
The Jets appear to be closing in on a big-name receiver.
Former Redskins and Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is expected to sign a deal with the Jets, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed. Pryor reportedly had the Seahawks on his list, as he visited them as well. However, the Jets clearly had the better deal in place.
Pryor, who turns 29 in June, began his career as a quarterback with the Raiders, but shifted to receiver in 2015 with the Browns and took off the following year, reeling in 77 catches for 1,007 yards.
Here is the most up-to-date information on whom the Jets have added and lost during free agency, including contract details and salary cap information. The official signing period begins Wednesday at 4 p.m., so be sure to bookmark this page and check back for frequent updates.
JETS SALARY CAP SPACE
It's not a lock yet, but buzz is growing regarding the likelihood of the Browns selecting USC QB Sam Darnold with the No. 1 pick in next month's Draft, reports Albert Breer of SI.com.
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano had Darnold to the Browns in his Mini Mock Draft earlier this week.
Darnold's pro day was yesterday, with the Giants, Jets, and Browns among the teams in attendance.
"He's going number one," an AFC executive told Breer. "Everyone out there today saw the Browns' franchise quarterback."
The Jets are holding a private workout with UCLA QB Josh Rosen in Southern California on Tuesday, per The Post's Brian Costello.
This comes a day after Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, HC Todd Bowles, OC Jeremy Bates, and more were present at USC for Sam Darnold's Pro Day in the rain.
The Jets currently hold the No. 3 pick after working a trade with the Colts to swap picks. The move indicates that New York wants one of the top quarterbacks in this year's draft. Rosen is called the most pro-ready quarterback by many experts.
The Jets are reportedly one of two finalists for the services of WR Terrelle Pryor, reports Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. The Seahawks are the other team Pryor is considering signing with.
The 28-year-old was a big free-agent target last offseason after producing a 1,000-yard season on 77 receptions with the Browns in 2016. He eventually signed a one-year, $6 million pact with the Redskins, but his production fell drastically due to injury.
New Jets QB Teddy Bridgewater said during a conference call on Wednesday that he's not sure if he'll be participating in offseason practices.
"That's not something I'm comfortable talking about right now," Bridgewater said. "I'm pretty sure that will be a discussion I have with the training staff and we'll come up with a plan moving forward."
Bridgewater also sidestepped a question about whether he would be comfortable backing up Josh McCown, instead focusing on his eagerness to embrace competition.
Back in January, we wrote about how the Jets' 2018 offense might differ from last year's, in light of the coaching changes. We concluded that the main difference between John Morton's west coast-style offense and that of Jeremy Bates would probably be in terms of the running game, which is expected to become more of a zone-based system. At its heart, the scheme would still be a west coast style offense.
With the Jets having moved into prime position to take one of the top quarterback prospects in this year's draft, it's well worth considering how each of them might fit into the current system.
Ideally, a west coast quarterback needs to exhibit quick decision making, precise accuracy and ball security. A strong arm isn't essential - as Chad Pennington showed when running Paul Hackett's overly conservative scheme for the majority of his career.
Jets OLB Dylan Donahue checked into rehab following a DUI arrest last month, a source confirmed to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.
Tags: Dylan Donahue
Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon discuss Mike Maccagnan's surprising trade that sent the Jets up the draft board to No. 3. The guys debate whether the move was a wise one, and react to last week's biggest free agent signings. Later, Connor Hughes of The Athletic joins the show to talk about the trade and what offensive weapons the team will have heading into next season.
Click below to listen
The Jets newest LB Avery Williamson didn't really know what he was walking into in New York. But, after taking a step back and officially inking his new deal, his excitement for next season is through the roof.
"It's a lot of excitement. New team, new city, new fans. A whole lot of excitement," Williamson said in a conference call with the media on Tuesday.
Williamson, a 26-year-old middle linebacker, had several suitors this offseason. However, the Jets simply presented the best deal in his eyes.
Tags: Demario Davis, Scott Thompson
Top quarterback prospect Josh Allen loves the Jets' trade to get the No. 3 pick in this year's draft.
Speaking to SiriusXM NFL Radio, Allen believes the Jets made the right deal based on who they want to pick come April.
"If they find the guy that they fall in love with, I think that's a team's job to go get him," Allen said. "If they feel like that's the future of their program, I think what they did -- they only traded, what, three second-round picks?...To keep their first-round pick next year was pretty big...I think they still got some good quality there."
The Jets signed linebacker Brandon Copeland, who missed last season with a torn pec, to a contract on Monday night. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
Copeland, 26, recorded 30 combined tackles, half a sack and one forced fumble in 32 games with the Detroit Lions from 2015 and 2016.
The Jets are bringing back DL Xavier Cooper on a one-year deal for next season, per Daily News' Manish Mehta.
Cooper began the 2017 season with the 49ers before becoming cut in late October. The Jets scooped him up on Halloween, and he ended up playing eight games, totaling 10 tackles and one sack in the process.
The 26-year-old filled in during Muhammad Wilkerson's suspenion, and impressed as a fill-in. He will likely be vying for a depth role on the defensive front as well this season.
Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
Now that the first and second waves of free agency are winding down, NFL teams are fairly limited in their options. There may still be upgrades available, but most players still on the market are damaged goods in one way or another.
However, with plenty of cap space still remaining and, let's face it, several positions at which they could still upgrade, perhaps the Jets are in a position whereby they could explore the trade market instead.
The Jets just gave up three second-round picks to move up in the draft, probably taking them out of contention if a star player like Dez Bryant became available. Perhaps they could trade for someone without reducing their total number of picks by way of a pick exchange or even deal a veteran player from a position of strength. Would they be prepared to trade Bilal Powell, Jermaine Kearse or one of their young backup receivers or cornerbacks?
The Jets' newest QB Teddy Bridgewater can't wait to be a part of what his new team is building.
The 25-year-old made his move to the Jets official on Sunday when he signed a one-year, $6 million deal that has $9 million in incentives tied to it. He becomes another young asset for the Jets, and he couldn't be any happier to try and revitalize his career in this environment.
"I'm excited about the direction we're headed in," Bridgewater told Jets.com's Ethan Greenberg. "I'm excited to be a part of something that can be very special and I just look forward to getting to work with the guys and a great year."
The Jets may be looking to bring in more offensive help as free-agent WR Terrelle Pryor is expected to visit the team on Tuesday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.
Pryor, who is currently meeting with the Seahawks Monday, will fly directly to the east coast for his meeting tomorrow.
He was a big free-agent target last offseason after producing a 1,000-yard season on 77 receptions with the Browns in 2016. He eventually signed a one-year, $6 million pact with the Redskins, but his production fell drastically due to injury.
The Jets made a solid offer, but it wasn't enough to land one a dynamic weapon in RB Jerick McKinnon this offseason.
McKinnon was high on the Jets' list of players they sought with their generous cap space this offseason, according to the Daily News' Manish Mehta. However, he eventually signed a four-year, $30 million deal with the 49ers that includes $12 million guaranteed for next season.
Like the Jets, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan understood how versatile McKinnon's skill set could be in his offense, which is why he made such a hard push for him. Jets' OC Jeremy Bates and run-game coordinator Rick Dennison both worked under Kyle's father, Mike Shanahan, so it isn't surprising a player like McKinnon was high on their radar.
Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire
Armed with $90 million-plus in salary cap space and extra draft picks, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has been a busy man the last few days. He's reshaped his roster, reset the quarterback position, and possibly put his franchise in contention for the next few years.
The Jets are expected to sign LB Kevin Pierre-Louis to a two-year deal worth $6 million, a source confirmed to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.
Ernie Accorsi knew back in 2004 that he would always be remembered as the GM that brought Eli Manning to the Giants. Whether it worked out or not, that would be his legacy, regardless of everything else he accomplished in his career.
That's the way it now is for Mike Maccagnan. He began to define his legacy as the Jets GM with the bold trade he made on Saturday to ship three second-round picks to Indianapolis to move up from 6 to 3 in the NFL draft. And in less than six weeks, on April 26, he will further define it when he picks the player he expects will be the Jets' long-awaited franchise quarterback.
Now he just better be right...