In a Thursday night match up that came down to the final seconds, the Jets lost a tight one once again. On the bright side, outside of a few brain lapses, the defense seems to be finding consistency. What has Rex Ryan changed since the Jets were blown out in San Diego a few weeks back? Let’s take a look…
Stand out play of the night: Darrin Walls stops Shane Vereen on 3rd and 5
As you can see above, the Jets are bringing a basic four man rush and dropping the other seven defenders into a zone. Not a single player is in man coverage on this 3rd and 5, a rare sight in the Rex Ryan era.
Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are lined up in the 3-tech on the defensive line to take advantage of the Patriots weak interior line. Each player attempts to shoot through the B gaps (between the tackle and guard). Jason Babin is rushing from the wide nine on the bottom, while Calvin Pace is in a traditional 5-tech rush from the top. As Antwan Barnes gets back in game shape, he would take Pace’s place as the 5-tech rusher.
Darrin Walls is responsible for the short zone on the bottom, while linebackers Demario Davis and David Harris hold down each hash on the 40 yard line (where the Patriots need to get to for a first down). Antonio Allen plays the ‘big nickel’, lined up across from Danny Amendola who is in the middle of the trips formation up top.
Calvin Pryor is the deep safety on the lower half, cornerback Phillip Adams will fall back and play as a deep safety in a zone on the upper half. Dawan Landry is the only player who will sit in between the hashes in his zone, right near the tip of the Patriots’ logo.
The Patriots want to work Rob Gronkowski (isolated wide out on the bottom) and Julian Edelman (outside of the trips bunch up top) in the middle of the field, outside of the hashes, in ‘hitch’ routes. The ‘hitch’ route has the target plant and turn sharply, specifically at the first down marker in this instance.
The Patriots expect the Jets to play man defense. They cross Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola, but the Jets are sitting in a true zone and do not fall into any ‘pick’ routes. Amendola will run a post towards the logo, attempting to fit in between the safeties and the linebackers. LaFell will run a quick out route. It seems as if both are decoys in the play, as Brady never looked their way.
Last but most importantly, running back Shane Vereen will run a ‘swing’ route out of the backfield. Brady assumes Walls will play man on Gronkowski, leaving Vereen free into the flat towards the sideline. Walls plays his zone brilliantly, first checking in on Gronkowski. As he sees Brady look off Gronkowski, he turns and sprints toward the flat where Vereen is running. He finishes the play with a thundering hit that pops the ball out, getting the Jets defense off the field:
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