New York Jets Passing Game Breakdown – Week 1

Joe Caporoso breaks down the New York Jets passing game in week 2 and previews week 2…

Welcome to our weekly New York Jets passing game breakdown, where we take a closer look at the performance of the team’s quarterback and wide receivers, along with the tight ends and running backs when applicable. Let us know any plays you want to see going forward down in the comment section or on Twitter!


  • Geno Smith: 23/28 (82%), 221 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. 38 rushing yards, 1 lost fumble.
  • Mike Vick 0/1 (3 plays)

Wide Receiver

  • Eric Decker: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 74 yards, 65 snaps (3 receptions of 20 yards or longer)
  • Jeremy Kerley: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 38 yards, 45 snaps
  • Greg Salas: 2 targets, 1 reception, 12 yards, 10 snaps
  • David Nelson: 1 target, 1 reception, 17 yards, 57 snaps

Focus Player: Eric Decker

Target 1 – Z receiver. Curl route. Intercepted. See below for further analysis.

Target 2 – Z receiver. WR screen. 2 yard gain. Geno Smith appeared to check to this play at the line but there was minimal room for Decker to work with after catching the ball.

Target 3 – Z receiver. Deep curl route. 24 yard gain. Beautiful route by Decker as shown below, who also took advantage of one on one coverage and added YAC after the play with a strong stiff arm.

Target 4 – Z receiver. Drag route. Incomplete on attempt from Vick, on an off target throw in the back of the end-zone.

Target 5 – Z receiver. Hitch route. Incomplete on high pass from Geno Smith. Defensive holding away from the ball nullified this play.

Target 6 – X receiver. WR screen. 5 yard gain. Another check at the line from Smith. Decker got all the yardage available to him after the catch.

Target 7 – Slot receiver, after motioning there from halfback. Ran deep corner route as part of smash/fan route combination. 19 yard gain. Called back for offensive pass interference on a very questionable penalty.

Target 8 – X receiver. Drag Route. 21 yard gain. An excellent job by Decker working across the formation and turning up the field for a big gain. The Jets ran this out of a three tight end look with Decker as the only receiver.

Target 9 – Slot receiver. WR screen. 22 yard gain. Took advantage of good kick out block by D’Brickashaw Ferguson to rip off big gain.

Geno Smith – Worst Throw

The interception. Smith threw five incompletions all day. One was the interception shown below. One was a drop by Jace Amaro. One was a drop by Greg Salas. One was a pass he threw away under a heavy rush. The other was a play he slightly overshot Jeff Cumberland on, although if Cumberland kept running through the route it could have been a potential completion. Let’s take a closer look at the interception.

Oakland showed a two high look but were actually playing a three high robber coverage, with Charles Woodson as the “robber.” Smith thinks Eric Decker has curled into an open window in front of the corner and behind the linebacker, while failing to realize that Woodson is squatting and waiting to jump the route. Woodson makes a tremendous play and Decker should have worked back to the football more, however the mistake is on Geno for misreading where the safety was and trying to fit the curl route in. Expect to see plenty of robber coverage against the Jets in the coming weeks…

Geno Smith – Best Throw

You could argue for the dropped touchdown pass by Greg Salas but let’s go with a completion. Here, he fires a well timed bullet to Jeff Cumberland on a skinny post route for a big gain that brought the Jets inside the 5 yard line. Smith does a nice job standing tall in the pocket despite the approaching pass rush and is accurate so Cumberland can catch the ball on the run for a nice YAC pickup.

Player Reviews

Geno Smith – Night and day from last season in terms of accuracy, decisiveness and ability as a runner. He has three big minuses for his interception, fumble in the red-zone and taking a sack that knocked the Jets out of field goal range. All three plays either took away points from the Jets or gave points to Oakland. This is a much improved quarterback but the Jets won’t be a playoff team unless Smith cleans up his point-costing mistakes.

Eric Decker – A strong debut for the Jets big money acquisition, as he racked up three plays of 20 yards or longer, showed good YAC ability, route running and caught the ball well. The offensive pass interference penalty was a joke. His biggest negatives of the day were not working back to the football more on Smith’s interception and getting called for a holding on a screen to Jeremy Kerley.

Jeremy Kerley – A perfect 5/5 on targets to receptions and also had a 12 yard catch called back due to Decker’s holding penalty. Kerley had a 19 yard gain on a deep out route on a 3rd and 8. Beyond that, he worked underneath on screens and short crossing routes. Outside of Decker, the Jets made the most effort to get Kerley targets out of any eligible pass catcher. Kerley played as you would expect him to by this point, running crisp routes and catching the ball well. He avoided any notable negative plays.

David Nelson – Hauled in a 17 yard catch on the Jets first play of the season on a deep in-cut and wasn’t targeted the rest of the way. Nelson played the second most snaps at receiver behind Decker but ran mostly decoy/clear out routes and did plenty of blocking on screens and in the run game. This is likely what his role is going to look like in many games throughout 2014.

Greg Salas – Only 10 snaps but 2 targets, including a nice grab on a hitch route for a 12 yard gain. However, his game is stained by dropping a should have been touchdown from Smith, on a play that was perfectly executed by all involved except for him not coming down with the pass.

Thoughts on Green Bay

Look for the Jets to take more vertical shots against the Packers than they did against Oakland. Outside of Salas’ drop, the Jets basically only worked in the short to intermediate passing game and with a very screen heavy approach. We didn’t see Smith throw any deep posts or 9 routes, which won’t last long…particularly with Decker now on the roster. I’d anticipate the rep and target distribution to be relatively similar and it would be surprising to see Saalim Hakim or Jalen Saunders grab any offensive reps at this point, unless it was for a gadget play or two.

Sam Shields is Green Bay’s top corner, who is fresh off earning a well-deserved new contract. He was one of the few Packers to play well in their opener and is a dangerous player for Smith to target. First round safety Ha ha Clinton-Dix had a more difficult NFL debut and could be somebody the Jets look to pick on when given the opportunity. The Packers secondary allowed 191 passing yards in week 1 to Russell Wilson, including only 119 yards to wide receivers, with the bulk coming on quick passes or screens to Percy Harvin.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports