New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 7 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the Jets/Patriots week 7 match-up

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It’s hard to believe that we are already heading into week 7 of the regular NFL season. For the New York Jets, to say it has been a roller coaster season up until this point would be an understatement. After a week 1 blowout of the Buffalo Bills, all looked extremely promising for Gang Green. Following that game, many felt as if the Jets were finally poised to be a legitimate threat to New England’s AFC East throne. However, since then, the Jets have suffered tough losses and injuries to their two most high profile players in Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. New York has responded well the last two weeks, though, with a tough effort against Houston and a blowout of the Indianapolis Colts to put them back to .500 and give them their current lead in the division.

The landscape for the remainder of the season still remains to be seen. This sudden group of low profile Jets seems to be starting to develop an attitude of camaraderie based around the notion that their season is dead in the water. Unlikely players like Chaz Schillens have stepped up into leadership roles by voicing out against the popular belief that this team doesn’t have a chance to make it out of the regular season with a winning record. This is something that we have yet to see in the Ryan era, but for this group of Jets, it could be a recipe for success.

This week will be a true test of how valid that idea may be. New England, although also .500, still remains the top dog in the AFC East. As Rex Ryan so eloquently put it, you need to beat the man if you wish to be the man. That’s exactly what this group will attempt to do this Sunday in Foxboro. Will the “us against the world” concept drive this team to be successful? Or was last week merely a mirage in a season poised for a serious let down? Come Sunday night, we should know a lot about where this team truly stands heading into the second half of the season.

For now, let’s breakdown some likely, and unlikely, scenarios that we expect to see in this week’s rivalry matchup in our latest edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

The Jets will do everything in their power to prepare for New England’s hurry up offense. Fact. We are already seeing the makings of a package designed specifically to defend the hurry up offense. Antonio Allen is active again, and the Jets recently activated LB/S Marcus Dowtin from the practice squad. As noted here earlier in the week, these guys are players who fit perfectly into the “big nickel” package. What this means is that Rex Ryan will try to put his most versatile players on the field at once. Allen and Dowtin have the size to line up in the box and defend the run, as well as the speed to get out in space and cover tight ends. There is a very good chance that Allen will see extended reps and that Dowtin will be thrown right into active duty, just days after being signed.

Also, expect to see a big game out of LaRon Landry. Landry has linebacker size, with safety speed, something that will make him a weapon against this type of offensive scheme. Rex has been getting extremely creative with his defenses this past week, and you can bet your bottom dollar that he has been up all week devising a package that he believes will be effective against the hurry up. Whether it proves to be truly effective remains to be seen.

Tom Brady will be sacked at least twice. Fact. The Jets are familiar with the formula for beating the Patriots, as their counterparts in New York have made it a point to set the blueprint on how to take down New England’s high powered offense. You want to beat the Patriots, you need to get Tom Brady to the ground and throwing out of the pocket. The last time the Jets beat New England, in the 2010 playoffs, they did a great job of pressuring and hitting Brady. Brady notoriously becomes frazzled when facing a premiere pass rush, but the key is to get pressure without having to use a surplus of blitzes.

Brady has made a name for himself torching blitz packages for years. The Giants have success against New England because their pass rush is good enough to get to him by rushing just 4. The Jets had similar success in the 2010 playoffs. This year, the Jets finally have some natural ability up front that will allow them to get pressure on Brady without having to blitz too frequently. Quinton Coples is finally coming into his own as a pass rusher, primarily from the interior, where he could be deadly against a struggling Patriots offensive line. Muhammad Wilkerson will surely bring pressure as well, and if Aaron Maybin can duplicate his play from last week, the Jets may have a real good chance to get to Brady numerous times.

Shonn Greene will run the ball for 100+ yards for the second consecutive week. False. Shonn Greene is coming off a career week against the Colts in which he rushed for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. While this is certainly an encouraging sign for the Jets rushing attack, don’t be fooled by these numbers. Yes, Greene looked more decisive, elusive, and powerful than he has in years, but the Colts rank in the bottom tier in rushing defense. New England, on the other hand, ranks 6th in that area, surrendering just 82.7 yards per contest on the ground.

With Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight out, the burden to carry the load will be on Greene. We know that he has struggled in such a role, but if the Jets can get yards from Tim Tebow and Jonathan Grimes, then Greene still has the potential to amass somewhere between 75-90 yards. As far as the century mark, don’t be disappointed looking at the box score after the game. Greene can be effective, but it is highly unlikely he surpasses 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks, which would be a career first.

Tim Tebow will see over 30% of the offensive snaps this week. Fact. It was one thing to expect to see more of Tebow with a depleted group of wide receivers. The popular thought was that, with little playmaking ability in the offensive arsenal, Tebow would be used more frequently to generate a spark for this offense. As we have seen, that has not been the case since losing Holmes in week 4. However, this week presents an entirely new set of obstacles for this offense.

Following a week where New York finally seemed to gel in terms of running back depth and rotation, two of the three most used backs were lost due to injury and are out this week. That leaves the Jets with Greene and a very untested Jonathan Grimes. New York seemingly has no choice but to use Tebow on the ground, if not in the wildcat, then in a running back role. Greene may struggle as the only proven running threat, and it is unclear what exactly Grimes will bring to the table at this point. Why not add another proven runner to that stable of backs and allow Tebow to carry the ball 10-15 times in any type of capacity? There is no reason for the Jets to avoid this, and it will certainly be in their best interest to include a heavy dose of TT in the run game this week.

THURSDAY NIGHT PICKS

  • Joe – SF (-7)
  • Chris G – Sea (+7)
  • Chris C – Sea (+7)
  • Mike – (-7)
  • Rob – SF (-7)

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 4

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets defensive film against the San Francisco 49ers

The New York Jets 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past week was undoubtedly one of the worst performances in the Rex Ryan era. New York’s brash head coach, the self proclaimed “best defensive mind in football,” watched helplessly from the sidelines as his unit was gashed for 245 yards by Frank Gore and company. The 49ers did to the Jets what the Jets wish they could do to every team on their schedule. They effectively ran the ball with a surplus of ball carriers – 9 to be exact – including an excellent demonstration of how to run the Wildcat, something the Jets were supposed to threaten the league with this season. 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for 50 yards on 5 carries, including a 7 yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Jim Harbaugh beat Rex Ryan at his own game, in dominating fashion.

But where did New York go wrong? What happened to a defense that has had great success in the past, and was regarded as one of the league’s best heading into week 1? A combination of poor technique, lack of speed, abysmal execution, and apparent conditioning issues all contributed to the Jets being laughed off the field in their own stadium. For our fourth edition of this column, we’ll once again start from the front and work our way back to dissect exactly what is wrong with the Jets defense.

Defensive Line – 

Muhammad Wilkerson – Wilkerson has been horribly inconsistent all season long, and that did not change this past week against San Francisco. Mo was relatively quiet all game, however he was going up against one of the best Offensive Tackles in the NFL in Joe Staley. Still, if Wilkerson wants to be regarded as one of the upper tier defensive lineman in this league, he will need to begin to prove he can compete with the elite offensive lineman.

What really stood out in terms of Wilkerson’s role from Sunday was how much he was moved around the defensive line. On passing situations, he was frequently lined up at the nose, with players like Mike DeVito and Quinton Coples lined up at the tackle and end positions. While Wilkerson is certainly versatile enough to play just about any position on the defensive line, he is best coming off of the edge as a pass rusher, rather than up the middle. For a defense that’s edge rush is virtually non-existent, it seems a bit curious that Wilkerson would be placed at the nose in those situations. Certainly, several NFL defenses have personnel packages designed specifically for passing situations, where they will line defensive ends up on the inside to increase the athleticism of the entire front, however the presence of Mike DeVito in these situations contradicts that due to how limited he is in rushing the passer.

Wilkerson’s natural abilities, combined with some recent poor performances by the other players on the defensive front, might be a reason for his expanded responsibilities, which could be a primary cause for his inconsistencies. As a second year player, it is important to get comfortable in one role, before taking on multiple roles. The Jets seemingly want to give Wilkerson a little taste of everything, in terms of alignment on the defensive line, so he may be struggling to find a rhythm.

Sione Pouha – Pouha continues to struggle since his return at Pittsburgh in week 2. He shows virtually no explosion off the ball, and can absolutely not take on a double team like he has done in the past. Against San Francisco, he was repeatedly driven off the ball, creating a number of problems for the Jets defense.

First, just the ground he is giving up is creating ample running room at the first level, something that causes serious problems for the Jets’ rather slow linebacker corps. Second, the ease at which he is being blocked allows for more single blocking rather than double teams. What this means is that, rather than occupying two blockers like he has in the past, Pouha is now getting chipped by one lineman, while another takes over the drive block, allowing the would-be double teamer to get a clear lane to the second level and seal the linebackers, creating running lanes all over the field.

It is clear that Pouha is not himself. Whether it is due to injury or age, he has become a serious liability for New York. He has never been great at rushing the passer, so combine his lack of ability in that area with his newly found struggles against the run, and he is ultimately useless to this defense. It is simply a matter of time before Kenrick Ellis replaces Pouha as the full time starter at NT this season.

Mike DeVito – No surprises on DeVito’s performance. Another average day in run defense, coupled with a disappearing act when it came to rushing the passer. DeVito is a very solid role player, and can be very effective as a reserve player, coming in fresh in run situations to clog gaps and occupy blockers. However, the Jets are seriously reaching with the every down role they currently have him in. Quinton Coples has proved to be effective against the run in the limited reps he has had so far this season, and inserting him as the starter in place of DeVito would help this line tremendously. DeVito certainly still holds value on this team, as a veteran leader who will give the team everything he has in any capacity. DeVito certainly does not get worse each week, but he also does not get better. At some point, New York needs to go with the youngster with tremendous upside and let him grow naturally, with DeVito serving in a reserve/mentor type role.

Quinton Coples – Coples likely saw more reps this past week than he has all year and his rate of growth from rep to rep was highly notable. Early in the game, Coples played rather familiarly in terms of his technique and execution. He began the game as a mismatch on inside stunts, as he has been all year due to his superior athleticism against opposing interior lineman. He did, however, struggle to use his hands, something that would make him a nightmare to opposing lineman because of his tremendous length. On a few particular plays, after showing great burst off the line, Coples would allow Staley and other 49ers lineman to get into him, rendering him completely useless with no counter move.

However, during the second half, Coples corrected this error, and the results were obvious. He became very violent with his hands, striking the opposing lineman quickly right out of his initial burst. What this allows defensive lineman to do is to dictate their own actions on that particular play. Coples repeatedly executed text book stack and shed technique as he would engage the lineman, occupy his gap responsibility, then shed the blocker and make the play. By my count, the improved technique resulted in Coples obtaining two tackles for loss, and multiple QB pressures.

Coples rate of growth from the first quarter to the fourth was the most encouraging aspect of the defensive performance on Sunday. With more reps, you can see him becoming more familiar with his opponents and more comfortable with his role within the defensive scheme. His ability to fix his mistakes within a game is a sign of coachability and attention to detail, part of the little things that will allow him to take his vast potential beyond its limit. Consistency will be key for him moving forward, assuming he will get the extended reps that he deserves.

Kenrick Ellis – Ellis continued to impress against San Francisco. Unlike Pouha, he is stellar against the double team, and is clearly a natural fit at the Nose Tackle position. He plays with amazing leverage, which as previously noted, is deadly when combined with his strength and athleticism. He simply cannot be blocked with one man, something that benefits not only the remaining defensive line, but the entire run defense, as it allows for the linebackers to run free after the ball carrier.

The only poor play Ellis had was late in the game. In the 4th quarter, Ellis was lined up as a 3-technique on the outside shade of the guard, where he was double teamed (by the guard and Joe Staley) and driven about 5 yards off the ball. However, at that point in the game, it is doubtful that even the best defensive linemen in the league would be able to withstand such a double team. Ellis, like Coples, needs to be the primary guy for New York, whether Pouha is healthy or not. He is a natural run stuffer, gets much more of a push in his pass rush, plays with an edge that is necessary for the position, and most importantly, is consistent week in and week out.

Aaron Maybin – Another quiet day for Maybin in what is turning out to be a very disappointing season for a player that led this team with 6 sacks just a season ago. Maybin continues to simply run up the field with no regard for where the quarterback actually is. The league has seemingly caught up to his tactics, as displayed again this past Sunday. Numerous times, Staley and the rest of the 49ers offensive line could allow Maybin to run by them, like he always does, and simply ride him past the quarterback, making him virtually useless.

Maybin did have a nice play on his sole tackle of the day, in which he strung out a sweep and made a leg swipe tackle. Maybin has been very disappointing, proving he is not working to add any type of pass rush moves. However, the true disappointment here is Karl Dunbar. Where on earth is the coaching for a player like this? Perhaps Dunbar is attempting to coach Maybin on these issues, but he is being insubordinate. If that is the case, there is no way he should even step on the field. Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed, or Maybin will undoubtedly finish without a single sack this season, and likely run his way right out of the league.

Calvin Pace – Pace, again, proved to be the most fundamentally sound of anyone in the front seven. However, Pace, again, proved to be too slow to do anything truly effective with that technique, other than his single sack of Alex Smith in the first half. While he is solid against the run, setting the edge, allowing virtually nothing to get outside of him, Pace is almost useless in the passing game at this point in his career. He has very little burst left in his pass rush, and continues to struggle in coverage. Still, he plays with the most confidence out of anyone in the front seven, and should continue to start due to the fact that, despite his flaws, he is still head and shoulders above the next player at his position.

Linebackers – The Linebackers had some serious issues this week. Both Bart Scott and Davis Harris had far too many missed tackles as a result of poor technique, poor pursuit angles, and improperly taking on lead blocks. Too often did each of them take on the fullback or wrapping offensive lineman with the wrong shoulder, creating a crease for the back to get through. There were countless plays that both Harris and Scott should have made for 0-2 yard gains that turned into 5-7 yard gains as a result of this poor technique. Take a look below.
Here, Bart Scott over ran the play in his pursuit, causing him to attempt to adjust back to Hunter and make an arm tackle, which Hunter would run through with ease. A proper pursuit angle would have stopped Hunter at about the 32 yard line.
Here, David Harris seems to be demonstrating exactly how not to tackle. His head is down and his feet are not underneath him, allowing Gore to run past him with ease. Again, a gain of about a yard turns into 6. Crucial mistakes that were made all game and certainly were a key factor to the 49ers 245 yard rushing performance.
DeMario Davis finally saw extended reps on third down as pass rushing outside linebacker, with a bit of coverage responsibilities sprinkled in. He was ineffective as a pass rusher, but did nothing to hurt the team in coverage.
Secondary – LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were relatively solid, however Landry did get beat a few times by Tight End Vernon Davis.
Antonio Cromartie was very solid filling in as the number one cornerback with Darrelle Revis out, despite giving up one medium range pass, that looked to be more of a result of zone coverage, rather than Cromartie getting beat.
Kyle Wilson will likely try to forget this performance, despite his antics throughout the game of celebrating overthrown wide receivers who were wide open as a result of beating the former first rounder out of Boise State in coverage. Wilson has been playing like a fourth round pick, rather than a first rounder so far this season, and that only became more apparent this past week.
What is really troubling is his lack of awareness. Early in the game, the outside and slot receivers ran crossing routes, with Wilson’s man running an out in the flat, and the inside receiver, seemingly belonging to Bart Scott, running deep. In what one would expect him to do, Scott switches to the receiver in the flat, while Wilson watches the inside man run right past him for a 26 yard completion.
At the top of the screen, you will notice Scott taking the receiver in the flat, with Wilson about five yards behind him realizing that he missed his assignment, Mario Manningham, who is wide open at the 42 yard line.
Wilson also joined the party of missed tackles on Sunday, with this horrible effort on Manningham’s 28 yard End Around.
Other than the lack of execution for the better part of 60 minutes on Sunday, what is very worrisome about this defense is what seems to be a lack of preparation. When San Francisco came out in the Wildcat, the formation the Jets were supposed to be specialists in, the defense was frantically screaming and adjusting their alignment as if they had never seen the formation before. One would think that a team that has been exposed to a formation in practice would have no problem defending it.
New York also showed absolutely no concept of assignment when San Francisco ran the option. On the first option play that brought the 49ers to the Jets 2 yard line, eventually setting up the 7 yard Kaepernick touchdown run, just about everyone on the defense bit on the dive, leaving Calvin Pace in the open field with both QB Alex Smith and the pitchman, WR Kyle Williams.
I am not sure if there is anyone in the league that can defend two guys with such athleticism, at once, in the open field, let alone Calvin Pace. Pace is forced to make a decision, going with Smith, and leaving Williams with no one within 10 yards of him, allowing the WR to make it to the Jets 2 yard line before he is touched.
Clearly, there are several issues with this defense. However, if there is anything positive to take from this performance, it is that the majority of these issues are fixable. The key moving forward will be how the personnel and coaching staff respond to this. The right pieces need to be put in the right places, and if the technique can be corrected, this unit can, at the least, be respectable again. If not, make no mistake, it is going to be a very ugly year for the New York Jets.

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 1

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets defensive film against the Buffalo Bills

To complement our new series of offensive film breakdown from Joe Caporoso each week, this column will provide a similar insight into each week’s game from the other side of the ball. Each position will be evaluated, with a primary focus on the defensive line. For this week, let’s take a look at what the eye in the sky told us about the Jets’ week 1 defensive performance against Buffalo,and what needs to be improved upon heading into the coming weeks.

The New York Jets defensive play this past Sunday was, for the most part, a very impressive, and dominating performance. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted three times, once returned for a touchdown, all within the first 3 quarters of play. While there is certainly an abundance of reasons to be excited about the way the Jets played, defensively,there is still room for a vast amount of improvement. The ceiling for this defense is limitless, but in order to reach its’ full potential, improvements need to be made all across the board, particularly up front.

First, let’s look at each part of the defense, and evaluate based on position group. Since this series will have a primary focus on the defensive line, each player who received playing time will be evaluated individually,while the remaining defensive groups will be evaluated as a whole. We will then look at some of Buffalo’s most positive offensive plays and break down exactly what went wrong.

Defensive Line:

Muhammed Wilkerson – After a full film evaluation, there is little doubt that Buffalo game planned around the second year pro out of Temple. Wilkerson was accounted for on every single play, as he was double teamed on the majority of run plays, while the protection on passing plays was shifted to him, nearly 100% of the time. With Sione Pouha out, Buffalo recognized Wilkerson as the Jets best defensive lineman, and drew up a nice protection scheme to keep him in check, which is why he had a relatively quiet day. However, in the small sample of plays that Wilkerson saw one on one protection, he was a clear mismatch to whoever was attempting to block him, whether it was a tight end or tackle.

One particular flaw that Wilkerson displayed, however, was a tendency to peak his head inside when he was lined up outside of the tackle or tight end as the edge player. He needs to trust that his teammates will execute their assignments properly, and worry about his job on each particular play. Nothing too negative came out of this during Sunday’s game, but teams could take notice of this and attack the outside on Wilkerson, which would become a problem if this tendency persists. Still, it is obvious that Wilkerson is beginning to command respect from opposing offensive lines. The return of Pouha will likely lead to more double teams on him, and less on Wilkerson, allowing the talented defensive end to make more plays.

Quinton Coples – Coples looked very much like a rookie in his NFL debut. He did some things great, while making some mistakes that are a clear sign of inexperience. The best play he made all game was his tackle for loss on Bills running back CJ Spiller in the 2nd Quarter. Coples was lined up as a 5 technique on the outside shade of the tackle, who down blocked in an effort to get to the second level on Linebacker David Harris. Not only was Coples quick enough in his steps and reaction time to prevent the Tight End from getting down on him, but he chipped the tackle’s shoulder just enough to prevent him from getting to Harris, allowing the linebacker to go unblocked. Even if Coples had missed the tackle in the backfield, Harris was waiting right behind him to make the play, a direct result of excellent hand work by Coples. This play in particular was a textbook defense of the down block.

While this was certainly an excellent display of instinct and technique by the Jets first round draft pick, there are still a number of things he showed he needs work on if he ever wants to achieve his full potential. One aspect, in particular, is his ability to take on the double team. Coples was repeatedly lined up on the interior, either as a 3 technique on the outside shade of the guard, or as a 5 technique, with a tight end to his side. He faced a great amount of double teams when he was lined up in these positions, and did not necessarily fare too well. He needs to realize, that if he is going to be shifted all around the line, he is certainly going to see a great number of these schemes on the interior, so he needs to do a better job of expecting and preparing for it.

While Coples is superbly talented in terms of athleticism and strength, he does tend to get locked up with his blockers at times. He too often took on the entire man this past Sunday, rather than working a shade and attacking half the man. Regardless of who you are or how strong you may be, it is nearly impossible to go directly through a 300 lb man, especially in the NFL, where the game speed is at an all time high. If he can work these kinks out, Coples’ natural abilities will allow him to develop nicely.

Calvin Pace – Pace was easily the most technically sound player in the front seven this past week. He was the veteran of the bunch, and it certainly showed through flawless foot and hand work, as well as an overall instinct and feel for the game. No one on the team showed the ability to set the edge better, and Pace actually displayed the greatest arsenal of pass rush moves as well. The problem is, he is just a step too slow at this point in his career to capitalize on his excellent technique and record multiple sacks, otherwise his annual sack total would be much higher than what it has been over the past couple of seasons.

Kenrick Ellis – Ellis played very well filling in for an injured Sione Pouha. He proved to be a very immovable force as both a two gap and one gap assignment player, as he was constantly in the backfield, and could not be driven off the ball, even when double teamed. Ellis also displayed excellent lateral quickness for a player his size, something that is vital to the position he plays. When Pouha returns, the Jets are going to have a very good rotation at the Nose Tackle position.

Mike DeVito – DeVito played how anyone who has watched the Jets for the past few seasons would expect him to play. He is extremely tough and smart, and he works very hard, while hardly ever making mental mistakes. DeVito, like Ellis, could not be moved off of the ball on run plays this past week. Although he did not split double teams and gain penetration like Ellis, he did a very good job of occupying two blockers and not allowing either of them to get to the linebackers on the second level.

Marcus Dixon – Dixon did not play particularly well this past week, which could just be a sign of rust since we was just recently resigned to the team following his release at the end of the preseason. Dixon did not show any type of explosion on Sunday, and struggled mightily against the double team. Many times, particularly on some of the big runs by Buffalo, Dixon would end up 8-10 yards down the field. This cannot happen on the defensive line, and if he wants to continue to get reps, Dixon is going to have to play like he has in the past, not like he did on Sunday.

Aaron Maybin – Maybin generally played how one would have expected him to play. He is extremely fast off the ball, and relentless in his pursuit, however his lack of body control caused him to get bumped around and knocked off balance too often. Maybin can be a very effective pass rusher, as we saw last year, however if he does not get his body under control, he is going to remain as a guy who will get 4-6 sporadic sacks per seasons, rather than the 10-12 that he has the potential for.

Linebackers – David Harris played as well as he normally does. He was very disciplined and seemed to have a great feel for what was coming from Buffalo on every play. A few times, he was hindered by a defensive lineman getting blocked into him, which blocked his line of vision, thus preventing him from making a play. Harris generally did a good job of shedding his blocks, but did allow the offensive lineman to get into him a few times,before he could get separation with his hands, obviously something that he needs to be more consistent with. Still, Harris was very effective, and remains one of the best players on the defense.

Bart Scott was very up and down. He certainly brought the tenacity of the Bart Scott of old that Jets fans have grown accustomed to. However, on several plays, he was a step too slow in his run angles and pursuit, which allowed the guard or tackle to get just enough of him to prevent him from making a play, which further allowed the running back to spring into the second level. Although, on other plays, Scott did beat the lineman across his face, taking him right to the play. His play was certainly decent, but needs to improve.

Secondary – The corners played the best out of any unit on the defense, as displayed by the interceptions obtained by Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson, and Antonio Cromartie.

The Safeties played excellent against the run. Both LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were extremely fast to come up and fill on run plays, the primary reason as to why they were involved in so many tackles. They still need to gel in coverage a bit, however. Landry did a great job of engaging the tight end on several plays, but would more often than not allow him to get a step ahead, which is why there were some plays of Scott Chandler reeling in a catchand being tackled immediately. Of the two, Landry saw much more time in the box, while Bell occupied more of a true free safety role. Once the coverage timing gets down between the two of these new additions, the Jets secondary could strike vast fear into opposing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks.

The Big Plays Allowed – The two biggest red flags from Sunday clearly came from CJ Spiller’s two runs of 40+ yards. These plays were caused by a number of things including missed assignments, mental breakdowns, and some defensive lineman just getting flat out beat. On Spiller’s first long touchdown run of 56 yards, the defensive line in the game consisted of Dixon, DeVito, and Coles. Dixon was double teamed and blown nearly ten yards off the ball, while DeVito,who was lined up at NT on the play, got blocked into David Harris’s line of sight, which caused the linebacker to vacate his gap in an attempt to regain his vision and make a play. Spiller did a great job of recognizing this as he hit the gap where Harris was supposed to be for a clear path to the end zone.

On the second of Spiller’s two long runs, there was seemingly a bad communication error. Buffalo ran a counter type play, with the back side guard pulling to kick out Garrett McIntyre, who was lined up at defensive end. McIntyre executed a spill technique, meaning he attacked the pulling guard’s inside shoulder with his outside shoulder, in an attempt to jam anything in the middle,and force the back to the outside. Normally, this technique is used in a cover 2 scheme, where the cornerback would remain in the flats, thus accounting for any leakage on the outside caused by a spill, or in defense where a linebacker is responsible for outside contain. Unfortunately for McIntyre, neither of the two were out there, so once Spiller hit the outside, he was alone with plenty of daylight ahead.

On the same play, Kenrick Ellis got excellent penetration in the backfield, but was tackled to the ground by the guard just before making the play, a call missed by the referee that was standing right there. Marcus Dixon was again doubled teamed, struggling mightily.

Overall this was a very solid effort by the defense. Outside of a few week 1 mistakes in technique and assignment, this unit put together a very impressive performance. Sione Pouha’s return will certainly help, as it will allow for a solid two man rotation at the nose, as well as freeing Mike DeVito from seeing time there, something he is clearly undersized to do. There is a lot to work on for the Jets defense as the season progresses, but there is also much to be excited about.

Turn On The Jets Roundtable – Jets vs. Giants Preview

The Turn On The Jets writers preview the New York Jets/New York Giants pre-season game

The Turn On The Jets writing staff breaks down what they are most looking forward to seeing in the New York Jets second pre-season game. Make sure to leave your comments below or on the Turn On The Jets Facebook Page

Joe Caporoso – I want to see the New York Jets offensive line find a way against this Giants pass rush. Give Mark Sanchez enough time to complete his drop back and get the football down the field. Beyond that, there is no reason this talked up “Ground and Pound” shouldn’t be able to grind out a productive night running the football. Shonn Green get the yards per carry over 4.0 and break a run over 5 yards for once in your life. Finally, let’s see Dustin Keller involved in the passing game. Tony Sparano needs to find a way to successfully keep him active every single week, no matter how vanilla the game plan is. And oh yeah…how about a touchdown?

Chris Gross – Is anyone going to step up and take the metaphorical bull that is the Jets Running Back job by the horns? I’d love to finally see Shonn Greene step up and put together a performance we can feel confident as we inch closer to the regular season. Bilal Powell has done well in pass protection, but his performance last week against Cincinnati (5 carries, 16 yards) certainly did not reflect the praise he has been receiving in practice. Joe McKnight showed signs of life last week with his 32 yards on only 7 carries, but it’s time that he became more consistent and reliable. The Jets seem to be holding onto hope that one of these three is suddenly going to breakout and be the answer to the ground and pound. It is certainly time for this unit to start playing to the identity of this team, otherwise Tim Tebow will be getting the majority of the carries this season. Whether Jets fans want to hear it or not, this team is built to run the football. If none of these backs can prove to do so, New York will likely turn to Tebow to carry the workload on the ground, either as a RB or by rolling out the “Wildcat” more than anyone wants to see.

Mike DonnellyWhat do I want to see? Well there are a few things I’m looking forward to seeing, such as Patrick Turner continuing to stake claim to a big role on offense, Quinton Coples and Mo Wilkerson continuing their excellent play up front against an overrated Giants offensive line, and for Demario Davis to get more reps with the first team defense. But this game is more about what I don’t want to see: I DON’T want to see the safeties struggle against Victor Cruz over the middle of the field; I DON’T want to see Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell struggle against a so-so Giants rush defense; And I mostly DON’T want to see Mark Sanchez get carted off the field as Wayne Hunter and his buddies on the offensive line struggles to block JPP, Tuck, and the rest of the Giants pass rushers. If we can avoid those three things, this game will be a success.

New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Linebacker Demario Davis

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets third round pick linebacker Demario Davis

When watching game film of New York Jets’ 3rd round pick DeMario Davis, one word comes to mind: Boom! The Linebacker from Arkansas State may very well be one of the hardest hitters in this entire draft class. Among that, Davis possesses a very balanced skill set that gives him the potential to be an absolute steal as a third round selection. The young man that has recently drawn comparisons to Ray Lewis from the Jets coaching staff, in terms of his demeanor, attitude, and leadership ability. He proved that he can excel in all aspects of the game during his career at Arkansas State.

Other than being a very tough, hard-hitting player, Davis also possesses the read and reaction skills needed in a good linebacker. One of the best traits in his game is that there is no hesitation in his reaction time whatsoever. When a hole opens on a run play, or a pass rush lane on a blitz, Davis is very fast to hit the seam, which gives him an immediate advantage in making plays. He is able to fly to the ball from anywhere on the field, aided partly by his impressive speed, but primarily from his instinct and vast knowledge of the game.

Davis also has elite speed and athleticism as a linebacker. He is extremely fast and explosive out of his breaks, and can transition between his movements very smoothly. He has shown the ability to rush the passer from both the interior and off the edge, which is going to make him a very versatile weapon for Rex Ryan and the Jets’ defensive coaching staff. He has a good arsenal of pass rush moves to couple with his tremendous speed, which should make him a valuable asset to a defense that had so much difficulty getting to the quarterback last year.

What Davis needs to work on the most, to truly be able to succeed at the next level, is his ability to shed blockers. He is usually fantastic at taking on the lead blocker in the hole, always using the correct shoulder and superior aggressiveness to blow up the fullback or wrapping guard as they come through, however he struggles to defend straight on blocks from offensive linemen. Davis too often allows linemen to get into him, making it virtually impossible for him to regroup in time to make a play. He needs to improve his hand action to be able to strike a quick move and get off the block immediately, rather than wasting time getting tangled up with the blocker. Effective handwork will also assist Davis in avoiding cut blocks, something that became frequent against him as last season progressed. When a linebacker plays with as much intensity and tenacity as Davis does, some offensive players tend to shy away from contact after a while throughout the course of a game. This may not necessarily happen at the next level, but in the event that it does, improved handwork will allow Davis to avoid this more often than not.

Davis’s coverage skills are not great, but decent. What works best for him in pass coverage is his physicality and speed. He is very aggressive against receivers coming over the middle, or backs out of the backfield. His technique in coverage is far from perfect, however he was able to mask that in college due to his outstanding speed. This is something that he will need to improve upon at the next level, where the majority of offensive backs and receivers are going to be faster than he is. These are simple coaching points that will be made once he gets into camp.

What is most impressive about DeMario Davis’s game film is his motor. He is constantly moving all over the field, sideline to sideline, regardless of the situation. He is very tough, and hits just as hard, if not harder than any defensive player that was taken this year. Davis was also a very good special teams contributor, as there were countless plays last season in which he blew up blockers and ball carriers alike during his time on the kickoff team. This will likely be a large part of his role with the Jets this season, so his experience here is extremely important.

Davis brings an intimidating presence to the field. While watching him on film, you can just feel the attitude he plays with. He is passionate, a natural leader, and seems to want it more than anyone else on the field at all times. He has been very productive during his time as a starter at Arkansas State. Since 2009, he has compiled 201 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions. Also, as previously stated, Davis is extremely fast. He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine, but was reportedly in the low 4.5 range at his pro day. Either way, his extreme tenacity, speed, leadership ability, and versatility make him a perfect fit for the Jets.

Davis is a Rex Ryan type player, and he should have a tremendous future in New York. As for this year, expect to see him in some sub packages, most likely on third downs as either a blitzer or in coverage. He should have a heavy role on special teams, something he will undoubtedly succeed at, while learning the defensive system behind David Harris and Bart Scott. Eventually, he will be the successor to Scott, and should form a very potent duo on the inside with Harris in the future.

Editor’s Note – Davis is a bit raw in some areas but I think he is a player Jets fans are going to fall in love with in the coming years. His motor and speed reminds me of what we saw from Aaron Maybin last year, except Davis has the tools to be a complete linebacker. Look for him to contribute in sub packages and be pushing Bart Scott heavily for playing time all season, until ultimately taking over for him next year.

NFL Draft: Jets Could Target Cornerback In The Later Rounds

Chris Gross looks at what cornerbacks the New York Jets could target in the middle and later rounds of the NFL Draft

With the departure of Donald Strickland and Marquice Cole, the New York Jets have a need to find more depth at the cornerback position. Here are some names to keep an eye on that Gang Green could target in the middle rounds.

1 – Trumaine Johnson, Montana – Of the bunch, Johnson is the least likely to be available past the second round. However his lack of elite top end speed, combined with the fact that he did not play his college football at the highest level of competition could cause him to fall into the early third. Johnson is a very big (6’2” 204 lbs) corner who has reportedly been in for a visit with the Jets. What could make Johnson so appealing to New York would be his ability to play both corner and safety. At 6’2” he certainly has the size to make the transition if necessary, while displaying impressive strength at the combine with 19 reps on the bench press. Johnson would give the Jets their fourth corner, while providing depth at the safety position, something that may be appealing enough for New York to spend their second rounder on him, depending on how everything plays out in front of them. On film, Johnson shows very good ball skills, with above average route recognition. He also played a big role in Montana’s return game, so there are a number of spots he could be utilized at.

2 – Brandon Boykin, Georgia – Boykin had a very impressive career at Georgia with 9 interceptions, 17 passes defended, and 143 tackles in his 4 seasons as a Bulldog. He proved to be very promising during his week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl, however a leg injury in that game has caused his draft stock to plummet. He was unable to participate in drills at the combine, and his lack of testing numbers, combined with concerns over how healthy his leg will be at the start of the season are causing Boykin to fall down draft boards. However, he could end up being a steal in the third round or later. He shows great range on film, and has proved to be a very versatile weapon, having seen time on both special teams and offense at Georgia.

3 – Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech – Hosley posted an above average 40 time (4.47), and decent numbers at Virginia Tech last season (59 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 Forced Fumbles). Although these numbers certainly aren’t head turners, they may be a result of his very impressive 2010 campaign. As a sophomore, Hosley had an impressive 9 interceptions and 7 passes defended, so quarterbacks most likely tried to stay away from him the majority of the time last season. At 5’10” 178 lbs, he has decent size and could be a nice fit as the Jets fourth CB, where he could develop tremendously under the tutelage of Darrelle Revis.

4 – Ron Brooks, LSU – Of the five players discussed here, Brooks is easily the most athletic. At 5’10” 190 lbs, he showed tremendous speed at the combine for his weight, running a 4.37 40 yard dash. Brooks had 2 interceptions at LSU last year, both of which were returned for touchdowns. Having played his entire career in the SEC, he has faced some of the best athletes in college football during his 4 years as a Tiger. Although his statistics aren’t mind blowing, Brooks’ elite speed combined with his decent size fit well with his impressive ball skills, giving him the potential to be a quality-starting corner down the road. With the Jets, he has the potential to play as the fourth cornerback right away, while contributing on special teams.

5 – Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina – Norman is an extremely impressive player who has had a very good career at Coastal Carolina (196 Tackles, 35 Passes Defended and 13 Interceptions). He is another big corner (6’0″ 197 lbs) with very impressive stats from a smaller school. He does not possess the elite speed (4.66 40), but like Johnson, his size gives him the versatility to line up at multiple positions in the secondary. He will likely have to improve his speed to be a starter in the future, but he could develop into a solid role player immediately. On film, Norman has arguably the most impressive ball skills out of the five players discussed here. He has remarkable closing speed, showed an excellent ability to locate and make a play on the ball, and displayed tremendous range. Norman also has 4 career blocked kicks, so he could be a special teams contributor right away as well.