Welcome back to New York Jets Playbook. Today, we are going to look at a pair of consecutive red-zone plays from the first half of the team’s week 14 match-up against the Oakland Raiders. These plays show offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s ongoing love of the bunch formation and where some of the Jets redzone struggles came from. Here are links to our previous editions of “Playbook”
The Personnel/Formation – Santonio Holmes backside as the X receiver. Jeremy Kerley motions across the formation and hits the bunch in stride as the slot. Kellen Winslow Jr is the point man on the bunch. David Nelson is the outside receiver on the bunch. Geno Smith is in a shotgun with Bilal Powell as the single back to his right.
Geno Smith is immediately flushed from the pocket and forced to roll right when a Raiders blitzer is unaccounted for off the left edge, while Powell flares to the flat. Backside, Santonio Holmes runs a fade route, outside on the bunch David Nelson runs a drag route over the middle, they are both taken out of the play since Smith is flushed to the right. Kellen Winslow Jr runs a curl route a few yards into the endzone, while Jeremy Kerely (who the play is designed for) runs a pivot/angle route.
What Went Wrong/Right – This play is designed for Kerley to sell that he is a running a speed out to the pylon after coming across the formation in motion, which is a very common play used to utilize a receiver’s speed around the end-zone. The twist is that Kerley is going to plant around the 2 yard line and angle inside, hopefully breaking the defender’s leverage as he is expecting an outside route. This play is a little congested around the end-zone with Winslow’s curl route but they do a nice job of maintaining spacing and it isn’t much unlike the play the Jets scored on in week 1 against the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The blame on this play mostly falls on Geno Smith. The unaccounted for rusher off the left edge is what moves Geno from the pocket and throws off the play’s timing. As the quarterback, it is on Smith to recognize the front, move Bilal Powell to his left and have him stay in to pass protect. You can say Powell should have recognized this himself but ultimately this is the quarterback’s responsibility, rookie or not. Smith then compounds his mistake by failing to recognize linebacker Nick Roach dropping off the line and into coverage, who nearly intercepts his off balance pass. Not a pretty play for Geno, who is lucky to escape here without a turnover.
Hopefully, in 2014 Geno’s awareness improves to have this blitz picked up properly. If it had been picked up, Smith could have sat in the pocket, saw Roach drift by Winslow to undercut Kerley’s route and fired in a touchdown to an open Winslow.
Bilal Powell motions from the backfield to out wide on the backside of the formation, where the Jets run a Z fade combination for Santonio Holmes. This is a very common red-zone play, where the slot receiver runs a run fade directly to the back pylon and the outside receiver runs a route with an inside release. Frontside, the Jets are again in a bunch, this time with Kerley on the point, Winslow inside and Nelson outside. Kerley and Winslow run pivot routes along the goal-line while Nelson runs a drag route. However, this play is designed to go to Santonio Holmes pretty much all the way.
What Went Wrong/Right – This is a simple one, Holmes executes the route to perfection and Geno throws the ball in the right spot but the pass is dropped. A quick look at the Jets wide receiver’s reception to target percentages from 2013 is staggering:
- David Nelson – 60%
- Jeremy Kerley – 60%
- Stephen Hill – 40%
- Santonio Holmes – 39%
Whether it was injury or age, 39% is an outright atrocious number, especially for a veteran. This play will remain a staple in the Jets red-zone playbook (and most other team’s redzone playbook) but next year it will likely be Eric Decker running this route, instead of Holmes.