The Jets pulled off a bounce back win at home against the Oakland Raiders in week 14. After witnessing an anemic offense produce zero touchdowns for two straight weeks, the defense slowly looked gassed. While the win against the Raiders was a step in the right direction, the once impenetrable run defense has taken a step back. They allowed a 63 yard touchdown run to fourth string running back Marcel Reece and let him run for over 120 yards on the day. Overall it was an up and down day for the linebacker crew, lets grade them out.
Grading System: For the 2013 season, I’ll use a simple grading scale when reviewing the linebackers. Each player will receiver a number 1-10, with 1 obviously being abysmal and 10 being outstanding. At the end of each review, I will nominate a linebacker poised to have an excellent game in the following week. Let’s get to it.
David Harris:Harris had one of his worst games of the season, which says a lot because he was not in any means terrible. On the positive side, he sniffed out a few screens and did not miss a lot of tackles. He finished the day with five solo tackles and two assisted. On the down side, he completely over pursued on Reece’s long touchdown run.
Harris and Reed (red circle) overshoot to the right and Reece (blue circle) bursts up the middle. Although Harris overplaying one side contributed to the home run touchdown, Dawan Landry (yellow circle) was embarrassingly blocked and thrown out of the play. Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner (purple circles) completely whiffed too. Safeties and corners can not get smoked on the back end of the defense in these situations, but it all started with Harris up front.
Once again Davis was left in coverage at times against wide receivers. He is a fast linebacker but this is an unfair assignment and a huge oversight by the defensive coaching staff. Overall Davis is a very active player, especially against the run. He is a sound tackler and seems to contain running quarterbacks really well (Tyrod Taylor, Terrell Pryor). The Jets have not had a ton of success in recent drafts, but Demario Davis seems to be a (very) bright spot.
Pace notched his eighth sack of the season on Sunday and appears to be on his way to a double digit sack total for the season. He even said after practice on Wednesday that the young studs up front are creating “one on one match ups” for him, which he has taken advantage of. He is quite average against the run and in coverage, but his pass rush ability against winnable match ups has made a difference. Another solid Sunday for Calvin Pace.
Coples is beginning to turn it on as he notched his third sack and has created more consistent pressure. He hits quarterbacks as hard as anyone in the front seven and looks more comfortable on the edges. He is officially no longer a liability against the run and had two big stops against Reece for no gain in the fourth quarter. Another impressive week for Coples as he is turning it on at the right time. He finished the day two solo tackles, one assisted, a sack, and a pass deflection.
McIntyre was placed into his usual depth role as Quinton Coples played a majority of the snaps, but excelled when on the field. He is a very limited player but he seals the edge hard at times. On one specific run to the left, he blew up the lead blocker, clearing a path for Demario Davis to wreak havoc. I’ve always been on board with McIntyre being used as a situational player and he has really showed his worth in this role. He finished the day with one solo tackle in limited playing time.
Linebacker Poised For Week 15 Success: While everyone seems to be clamoring Quinton Coples as the “X-factor” in this one, I am going with Demario Davis. He has sealed the edge and contained very well against mobile quarterbacks, making Cam Newton an interesting match up. Newton may be the best mobile quarterback the Jets play all season and Davis will have to shutdown his running game for any chance of a Jets upset.
Follow Connor on Twitter @Real_CR3