TOJ Film Room – Secondary Grade Sheet (Week 4)

Mike O’Connor discusses how the secondary fared versus the Detroit Lions this past weekend.

The Jets’ loss versus Detroit this past weekend was just as maddening as the rest of the recent losses, of course, but it was definitely a weird game in hindsight. When reviewing the tape for the secondary, it wasn’t easy to pick out obvious mistakes players made like they have been prone to as of late. Instead, most of the clear faults were on Rex Ryan and the defensive gameplan.

David Harris covering Golden Tate, lots of zone coverage against a team with smart receivers, and ineffective blitzing at times. These are things we’ve become accustomed to from a confident Rex gameplan, but it was more frequent this week and as a result, no player from the secondary really fared too badly on a day where they were carved up pretty decently by Stafford and company without a healthy Calvin Johnson.

CORNERBACK

Antonio Allen
Snaps – 65 (100%)

If you read last week’s article from me, you could tell that I don’t think much of Allen at cornerback. He flashes really stellar play at times, but athletically, the wheels are going to slowly fall off and we are seeing that just a bit more each week. First, you have him taking full blame for the bomb touchdown over the top to Jeremy Ross in which it appeared that both him and Calvin Pryor should have ran with Ross deep but pulled up. Whether it’s true or not that it was all his fault, it wasn’t smart for him to render a deep zone coverage so late in the route anyway. To make matters worse, he missed the tackle on Ross badly, so he was guilty of it whether it was on Pryor or not.

When I picked at Allen last week, I claimed he would be limited at corner simply due to his athletic disadvantages versus receivers. This has been evident, but unfortunately I think it’s getting worse. Allen is not in his element. He even said his feet really hurt after the Lions match-up. He might be getting asked to do too much on his body. Take this example below.

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Rookie tight end Eric Ebron is a physical freak, but Allen has a history of effectively covering even the most athletic of tight ends. Late in the game he looked tired and worn down, and this play really exposed him. Highlighted at the top of the screen, Ebron blows by Allen fast enough where Allen feels the need to try and torque him back with his arms but just gets blown up. Totally off balance, he has to catch up to try and limit the allowed separation.

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Also noted last week: Allen is not an exceptionally fast player or quick in turning his hips. It was a dumb risk to try and jam Ebron that far downfield because of the potential of getting burned like he did or causing a penalty, but he did anyway and couldn’t catch up. Why Matt Stafford didn’t throw to Ebron running totally free instead of Ryan Broyles, the circled target, is beyond me. Allen would have probably let up another huge touchdown.

Grade: B-
Allen had his struggles and it’s getting concerning how he is trying to take shortcuts at the corner position, but he oddly wasn’t targeted this game as much as Darrin Walls and held up okay besides for this play and the long touchdown. He made some nice reads in the run game off the edge, too; I just wish we could be seeing him do that at safety instead.  ome back healthy please, Dee.

Darrin Walls
Snaps- 63 (97%)

Walls has already faced tougher challenges than Golden Tate and Corey Fuller this year, but he was thrown at quite a bit in this game for some reason. He let up a good amount of receptions, but none for more than 12 yards according to my charting. He did miss a tackle really badly on Tate on a screen, however. He also let Reggie Bush break that run to the outside late when he went in for the tackle and missed, therefore losing outside contain. Then again, tackling really wasn’t apart of Walls’ game until this year when he flashed it big time early in the season. Of course he’s going to suffer some lapses in that category. As for his coverage, it was disappointing to see him lose to Tate on the outside the number of times he did, but he still limited the gains and was understandably playing Tate with a bigger cushion because of his quickness and ability to run some really flashy deep routes. Not as impressive of a game from him as we’ve seen this season, but he still flashed why he’s the best pure cover corner on this team on a bomb to Fuller in the first half.
Grade: B-

Kyle Wilson
Snaps- 21 (32%)

It’s so hard to give Wilson the benefit of the doubt sometimes. He played pretty well besides for one play where he looked absolutely clueless, but he only played 21 defensive snaps. It’s hard to defend him heavily when he gets humiliated on a play when he’s only playing that few snaps. Anyway, here’s the play.

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Wilson is matched up with Tate in a total mismatch in the slot. Tate runs a really crafty out route in which he throws Wilson this dead leg sort of move that running backs often utilize. This makes Wilson think he’s going to extend this route in a different direction. Since he has no known ability to backpedal or face receivers and mirror them (all he does is run with them with his back turned), he has no idea that Tate is just going to give a little push and fall off completely to the sideline.

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Even more embarrassing, Wilson stumbles once he sees that Tate has broken off, but the ball is already well on its way. Since he can’t really change directions, he has to take the excruciatingly long path to circle around to defend Tate. If this way in open space where the sideline wasn’t playing a role and Tate made a clean catch, this could have gone for a touchdown.

Grade: C+
I can excuse Wilson if he’s just getting burned by Tate in the slot on a slant or something because of an obviously apparent mismatch, but not when he’s getting beat like this. This is men against boys type of play.

SAFETY

Dawan Landry
Snaps – 65 (100%)

Sigh. Another game of 100% snaps from Landry, and yes, he’s getting older and less capable with each one of them. Each week he gets visibly worse to me, at least.  Last year I could deal with him being average and not making some plays other safeties make, but at least making standard responsibilities look good. Well, he’s not really doing even that this year. He was victimized last week versus Chicago with Martellus Bennett, and this week he was throttled by Tate a couple of times in the slot, not to mention his consistently late safety help to David Harris trying to defend Ebron and Pettigrew. He no longer has the range to play center field or even an consistently efficient deep Cover 2, and Rex has seemed to realize that by handing over those responsibilities to the inexperienced Calvin Pryor. But with Landry sliding down more snaps, he’s getting targeted so often when he has a man coverage responsibility. This game was no different.  A bad missed tackle doesn’t hurt his cause this week, either.
Grade: C+

Jaiquawn Jarrett
Snaps- 40 (62%)

I think Jarrett surprised a lot of people after he came in for the injured Pryor mid-game, including myself. He performed quite well in a limited role last year, and he played very solid this game in relief. In fact, he looked substantially better than Pryor, so that’s pretty notable. While he wasn’t directly tested since he played the deeper coverage duties like Pryor often did, he applied consistent pressure to the pocket when asked to blitz (though he did miss a sack) and cracked down nicely on a Bush screen in the fourth quarter. If Pryor is ever over-matched in coverage by a really good quarterback, at least the Jets have a pretty reliable backup in Jarrett. He’s never going to be the best player in your secondary, but judging on this game and last year, he’s never going to have any major faults, either.
Grade: A-

Calvin Pryor
Snaps – 25 (38%)

It sucks that Pryor got injured in a game where he was playing his underneath coverages so well that the Lions simply started to only throw at Landry. I’m not going to give him a grade because he played less than half the game, but it was a pretty encouraging but short performance.

This overall unit needs a strong outing versus San Diego for the sake of the team and to help Rex Ryan get his defensive playcalling back in rhythm   The wagon is starting to break on this season already with frustrating losses, but that doesn’t mean the secondary can’t do its part to turn it around with some strong performances versus good quarterbacks.

  • John C

    I didn’t watch the tapes, so I’ll have to take your word, but my impression was that Pryor did not play all that well while in the game. I thought he missed a couple of tackles. Hope he comes around, but I haven’t seen anything to “write home about” early on in his career (other than he’s starting). If he could create a Turnover or two, I’ll feel a lot better about him though!