BGA is back…and this time it’s preseasonal (again)!
Coming up, part three of your breakdown of last night’s 13-10 win over the Colts with detailed analysis of how the front seven played on defense.
Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle. It's good to be back!
We're so used to seeing the defensive line being dominant that a performance such as yesterday's can come as a bit of a letdown. There were no sacks or pressure from the starting line and, although they did pretty well against the run, a lack of flashy plays from the group expected to carry the Jets as they did for much of last season. However, I wouldn't get too excited over this lack of production. The Colts released plenty of quick passes. According to PFF, Luck's time to throw was 2.06 on average and the two backups were 2.07 and 2.29 respectively. For context, Vick's was 3.28, Geno's was 2.89 and Simms' was 2.83.
As he alluded to himself in his sideline interview during the second half, Sheldon Richardson was a little disappointed with his performance because he didn't make enough plays. One play that summed his day up well saw him initially driven back off the line, then he shed the block and burst into the hole, but then he let the runner slip though this tackle for a five yard gain. So, he lost, won and then lost again on that play. Another play saw him jump offside. There was one play where he was double teamed in the running game and driven well off the line, something we could expect to see happening to him a lot more this year. However, the run was stuffed for a short gain, so maybe he played his part by occupying those two blockers.
Muhammad Wilkerson got blocked out of a couple of plays early, but still had a couple of disruptive moments. His best play saw him shed the initial block and then stand up the next blocker to blow up a run for no gain. He was also in on a tackle near the line of scrimmage and did beat his man a couple of times as a pass rusher, although the pass was released before he could get to the quarterback.
Damon Harrison was only in for 15 snaps, but did manage to perform a signature penetrate, shed and stuff for no gain. He was blocked out of one play in the running game but, as a pass rusher, did shed a double team to get into the backfield and almost generate a pressure.
Kenrick Ellis was dominant in a short stint against backups. Hopefully he can get some first unit reps at some point during preseason. On one play, he drove back a double team to collapse the pocket and lead to a sack. He also shed a block and stuffed a run for a short gain. Interestingly, they left him in the game on some pass rushing situations. Maybe they intend to investigate increasing his role there.
Leger Douzable definitely had some good moments, again mostly against backups. He actually dropped into coverage quite a few times, which is again interesting. He had a tackle for a loss (two, if you count the one where there was a bad snap) and was in on another run stuff near the line. However, he had one of my favorite plays of the game when he slapped the left guard to the outside with his left hand and then the center to the inside with his right hand to get a clean run up the middle, although again the pass was released too early for him to get credit for a pressure.
In terms of the backups, I was really impressed. TJ Barnes was listed as a second stringer behind Richardson rather than as the third string nose, which raised eyebrows, but that was the role he played (with Ellis at nose) with the second unit. He instantly made waves, collecting an easy sack on a stunt after Ellis collapsed the pocket, but perhaps more impressively than that, driving his man into the quarterback on a bullrush. He also stood up his man, bottling up a run and was in on two tackles behind the line, showing surprising quickness to shoot a gap on one.
Kerry Hyder also displayed some impressive quickness to beat his man outside for a pressure. He also had a good run stuff and made a third down tackle to force a punt. There was one double team that drove him back a good seven or eight yards, so he needs to work on handling those, but on the whole, he jumped out just the way Rex Ryan has said he's been doing.
Tevita Finau is a dependable backup too and he had a couple of tackles in the backfield in a solid performance with no obvious negatives. Anthony Grady and Zach Thompson got in the game right at the end for some reps on the line.
Interestingly Quinton Coples, with all the talk about him doing this extra work at being a linebacker was deployed exactly the same as last year. He was standing up on just 11 of 26 snaps and the only time he didn't rush the passer on a pass play, he dropped off about a yard and then a quick pass was thrown the other way. He got in Luck's face on one play after coming underneath on a stunt unblocked, but his best contribution in the passing game was a sharp interior rush which created a lane for David Harris to stunt behind him unblocked for a sack. He did get credit for three tackles, one off the edge to stuff a run for a short gain, one gift after a bad snap for a big loss and one where he showed impressive speed to chase down a running back from behind after a pass to the flat. I had a lump in my throat on that play where he chased down the bad snap because it looked identical to the one on which he broke his ankle last year.
Calvin Pace looked pretty sharp, generating a couple of pressures on outside speed rushes. He also had a tackle for a loss as he came unblocked off the edge and held up well on the edge against a double team to force a run back inside. He did jump offside though.
Jason Babin did a good job in the pass rush, with one good bullrush and one good speed rush off the edge. However, in the running game he lost contain on a third down run to the outside and on another play was blown back off the line. It's clear where his strengths lie these days and I expect the Jets will use him accordingly, although that first run was in a pass rush situation so he can't afford to get caught out like that.
Garrett McIntyre gave up a catch on a play where he was called for defensive holding, but had a good moment as a pass rusher, spinning off his blocker to generate a pressure low on the quarterback.
Troy Davis saw some brief action and beat his blocker outside once. He also nearly blew up a running play in the backfield and although the runner broke his tackle, it still ended up getting stopped for a short gain. He had a horse collar tackle penalty on a dump-off to the flat though.
Rookie Trevor Reilly made a couple of nice contributions. He twice came unblocked up the middle on a stunt to pressure the quarterback and although he had two missed tackles, one of these came as he shed his blocker and then slowed the runner up enough for someone else to finish up. He looked at home out there.
Fellow rookie IK Enemkpali flashed right at the end with a strip sack on an outside rush. He was only in for five snaps.
Tim Fugger didn't get into the game.
Harris looked sharp too, adding to his sack with a handful of run stuffs and a good stop on a short pass. He did start last year looking particularly good as well, of course, so it remains to be seen how long he can sustain it. He was badly exposed on one pass play where TJ Hilton burned him on a crosser, but that might not have been his fault. Let's break down the first coverage mix-up of the season:
Here we see Antonio Allen matched up with Hilton in the slot. Harris is looking into the backfield, suggesting his primary responsibility is to spy the back.
Allen very demonstrably passes the receiver off to Harris at this moment. Harris is caught a bit flat-footed as his momentum is going forwards. Allen obviously thinks Harris is responsible for the underneath zone.
Harris does collect Hilton, who heads for the outside as the two receivers on that side clear out. Allen drops off to the middle.
As Hilton exploits the speed mismatch, Harris is easily beaten to the outside and Luck is able to complete the throw so he can turn upfield. Something's definitely wrong here though because Allen ends up covering tight end Coby Fleener, who was already being covered. More telling is the fact that had Luck not made the throw to Hilton, Trent Richardson is leaking out for a dump-off and would have half a field's worth of daylight ahead of him. You can never tell who was at fault here and obviously it's a well designed play by the Colts. It might not be as simple as Harris getting burned though, even though that's how it looked at the time. It's possible that was Harris' responsibility and he just reacted too late, but I doubt that because you wouldn't leave him isolated against someone like Hilton (who was excellent yesterday, by the way), if you could avoid it.
Demario Davis looked sharp early, getting in on a tackle in the flat on the first play of the game. However, he was replaced pretty early by AJ Edds, which made me wonder if Davis might be hurt. Apparently not, so perhaps this is just a sign of how close Edds is to cracking the gameday rotation.
Edds led the team in tackles, many of them close to the line of scrimmage and recovered the late fumble. He's definitely turning some heads. The only negative was that he gave up a short catch and his only pressure came as he was unblocked.
Jeremiah George surprisingly got into the game ahead of Nick Bellore, but looked a little out of his depth. It reminded me of when the Jets used Marcus Dowtin at inside linebacker two years ago. Of course Dowtin did improve and got to play at the NFL level, so all is not lost for George. However, he was beaten for a touchdown, driven back on a first down run and missed a tackle in the backfield. It was interesting that they gave him seven snaps with the second unit but then he didn't play in the second half. Clearly that wanted a look at him at that level.
When Bellore did get in, things improved, although he did miss a couple of tackles early on. He helped blow up a short yardage run, made a solid open field tackle, did well in coverage and drew a hold on a pass rush. He also took out a lead blocker on one running play, something we haven't seen much of since Bart Scott's departure.
Steele Divitto did not see any time on defense.
Part four will cover the secondary and special teams. This will be posted later today.