Week Seven Jets Defensive Snap Count Analysis

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Just like last week, I spent way too much time in front of the computer notching detailed snap counts from the New York Jets wonderful win versus the Patriots on Sunday. But hey, the statistics are informative to all and I enjoy being in the know. Here they are for this week (on the second sheet of the document). I do a lot of work to gather them, so I’d not only recommend it but highly appreciate it if you checked them out before reading these observations. Now, let’s see what was up in the always entertaining Rex Ryan defense this week.

Remember – Any questions about things on the chart or just overall comments on how to improve the charts will be answered and acknowledged.

Dee Milliner didn’t just make an appearance in his return to the lineup, he started and played a whole lot (88% of overall snaps). I was wrong in thinking that Darrin Walls would still start and Milliner would be regulated to the fourth corner role. An interesting statistic to note was that Milliner showed some versatility, as he notched 8 of his 68 snaps in the slot. While that isn’t a lot, it still means that Rex Ryan doesn’t consider him as strictly an outside corner like he obviously does with Antonio Cromartie and Walls.

Speaking of the Jets’ three most talented corners, there is a bit of a controversy brewing here. Kyle Wilson has been scrapping together a pretty passable season, so it’s possible that he can hang on in New York by snatching on to the slot corner role he has become accustomed to (96% of his snaps taken there), even if the Jets could use an upgrade there at times. If Wilson is going to stick there not only for the rest of 2013 but beyond, the Jets are basically benching Walls, who I’d argue is their best overall cover corner. It’s no secret that it took Ryan too long to give Walls the snaps he deserved, so it might come down to him leaving him in the fourth corner spot while he grooms Milliner early.

Walls played 10% of the defenses’ snaps versus the Patriots as the fourth corner after not missing a snap as the starter with Cromartie versus the Steelers. However, even the measly 10% is skewed. Walls only played when Milliner was injured (bout 7 snaps) and on the one drive when Rex decided to play him over Milliner. In short, Walls and Milliner were never on the field at the same time.  I know for me, this is concerning, because it means Walls will hardly see the field (barring another Milliner injury).

There was actually a lot of different shades in the secondary this week due to the Patriots’ still dangerous offense, and not all of it was highlighted by the cornerbacks. Antonio Allen was finally given his starting role back without having to battle for it mid-game, but it was an interesting start. While he played 92% of snaps (would have more if not for minor injury mid-game), he didn’t necessarily beat out Jaiquawn Jarrett for the free safety job. It is safe to say that Allen is the better overall safety, but Jarrett’s skillset still let him see the field versus Tom Brady 39% of the time, meaning yes, he was on the field with both Dawan Landry and Allen for numerous occasions. It was a sight to see with Allen taking on Rob Gronkowski in the box or directly in the slot while Jarrett would line up deep with Landry. This allowed Allen to play in his more comfortable role while allowing Jarrett to roam in zone for most of the time.

Maybe I’m just a football geek, but I am literally excited to see Allen and even Jarrett used in such sporadic ways on defense. Out of Allen’s 71 snaps, only 27 of them were as a standard deep safety. As you can see from the charting, he saw heavy snaps from the box and slot, and even as an outside corner in direct man to man coverage with Rob Gronkowski when he lined up out wide.  he Pats’ gameplan was clearly to try and mix and match Gronk with multiple Jets defenders, but Rex Ryan did a fantastic job of doing whatever it took to keep Allen on him.  The Jets would slide Milliner into the slot when Gronk lined up out wide.

Unlike last week, there wasn’t much to take particular note of on the defensive line and their snap details. I was a little curious when Muhammad Wilkerson saw so many snaps as a traditional 0-technique nose tackle. The weirdest part? Out of these 19 snaps Wilkerson lined up directly across of Ryan Wendell, the Patriots’ center, a whopping 13 of them came on second down. I wish I could provide some reasoning for that, but I’ve got nothing. Rex does like his patterns, and I guess he liked this specific pattern for Big Mo on second down.

I feel proud to say I’ve only gotten more into my original idea of trading Kenrick Ellis, much to most of our readers’ dismay. Ellis only saw one snap on Sunday, and even the dominant Damon Harrison only saw 19% of snaps. Granted, Tom Brady had the Jets lineman on their toes and the Jets needed more pure pass rushing ability for a passing offense, but that is just such a low number. With the Jets proving that they can get by without a traditional nose tackle on all likely passing downs, I think the need to find more value out of the talented Ellis is increasingly crucial. I think the Jets’ recent usage of Ellis has proven every single desire of keeping Ellis illogical besides fear of Harrison going down. Even then, I think the trade is still a big gain for the Jets, but it’s really a topic for another day.

Last week, I bounced from analyzing the past week’s defensive snap counts towards looking at what they can tell us about how the Jets will mix and match the next week.  I won’t be doing so this week, however, because I’ll leave that for my Secondary Grade Sheet, which yes, is making its return.

  • um sorry but darrin walls is not the best overall corner on this team. i would say he is third best as an outside cornerback. look i think ur forgetting that dee was the 9th overall player selected and that he is a rookie and it will take time. he missed most off the offseason so the jets r trying to get him some experience that he needs. i love darrin walls but at the end of the day dee will be the better player of the two

  • Thanks for reading, E Star.

    I never said that Walls will have a better career than Milliner like you’re inferring, because I’d disagree with that anyway. As for right now, however, the Jets are winning but developing Milliner by starting him and benching the better player (at the time) might hurt the secondary.

  • KAsh

    The thing I noticed in Frank Giasone’s breakdown of the d-line was that two of the Jets’s four sacks came against Wendell. The staff must have singled him out as the weak link in the NE line, which would explain Wilkerson lining up against him so much.

  • Good point, Kash. He’s easily the weakest player on their offensive line. The patterns were still very peculiar, though.

  • kilbasar

    “…besides fear of Harrison going down.”

    As I mentioned in your Trade Ellis article, that is a HUGE concern, and is the #1 reason to keep him. NTs are very frequently injured, and are very hard to replace. 5th round picks are not nearly that valuable.

  • Some value injury-replacements more than others, and that’s all I can say. And I wasn’t downplaying that fear that some have, I was simply stating that all other opinions of keeping him have been all but eliminated at this point.

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  • kilbasar

    I hear ya, Michael. Anyway, thanks for the article, was a great read and very interesting to see how Rex is using his chess pieces.

  • KAsh

    I have not really paid attention, but how do the Jets divide duties between strong safety and free safety this year? I thought Landry was supposed to be our free safety while Allen and Jarett compete for the strong safety spot. Their skills seemed much better suited for strong safety.

  • Frank Antonelli

    You should be sober when writing these articles. That’s the only explanation I can come up with when you stated that Walls is our best cover corner. Step away from the table and the bottle and get some sleep.

  • Well I’m very underage, so yeah there’s that. Walls is a very good corner who has played well in every game he’s started in. Cromartie has seen a massive dip in consistency, so I don’t even think it’s to shocking to claim him the best pure cover corner.

  • John C

    I love Walls, but it would be great if Milliner develops into a better CB. Maybe then, they could try to work Walls in as a Slot corner next year. He might be their best cover CB (Cromartie lays off sometimes and can rely on his speed and length to cover late). Even Wilson is actually not a bad cover guy, but he has the worst ball skills (seeing or feeling where the pass is coming from).

  • Joe Caporoso

    Cromartie is ranked 106 out of 107 on PFF out of eligible corners for all those PFF Bible Thumpers here.

  • Mark Phelan

    CB’s not perfect but find it hard to believe Cromartie is the worst in NFL. Other than that deep TD two games ago I think our CBs have kept opponents in check.

    Don’t share your love of Walls. He is an interference play waiting to happen. Please Walls, play the ball not the receiver.

  • JetOrange

    When I saw Brady dive for the turf on the Snacks Sack, it became clear that Brady and most QB’s hate pressure up the middle. It may also be the only way you can pressure a QB with an expectional short passing game..Putting Mo over Wendall, the weakest link, puts fear into Brady and causes an automatic double team from the Guards, which creates one on one opprotunitieas, and dynamic inside blitz situations. When Mo is over center,it’s a good thing..