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.