Mike Nolan with his weekly breakdown of the New York Jets offensive line. The big uglies are coming off one of their more impressive performances in recent memory…
D’Brickashaw Ferguson: B-
Brick was pretty solid for the most part, looking a lot more comfortable with James Carpenter next to him instead of the swinging gate that was Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi last season. They passed off a couple nice twists in pass protection together. He did get beat inside a couple times but Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to get rid of the ball before the pressure got to him. Brick’s worst play in the game came on Tommy Bohanon’s first carry on 4th and 1 where he got tossed off the block and Bohanon was stuffed short of the 1st down.
Maybe a fresh start is all Carpenter needed to rebound from his recent struggles in Seattle. We all knew Carp was good in pass protection, and he was stout on Sunday, but he far exceeded expectations as a run blocker in this game. He did a really nice job in his combo blocks and was able to get on linebackers all day opening lanes for the Ivory/Powell combo.
Nick Mangold: C+
Surprisingly the Jets best offensive lineman had the worst day up front. Nick didn’t generate much movement in the run game as he was tasked with blocking rookie Danny Shelton all day, but he was good enough to give the backs running lanes. He really gets a poor grade because of his early snap which resulted in Fitzpatrick recovering the ball (still have no idea how he got on it) near the Jets own goal line. He also had a rough time in space, making a poor attempt to block in a screen that could have been a big play. I’m willing to bet the perennial Pro Bowler will rebound against the Colts.
Willie Colon: A
Big Willie had his best game as a Jet on Sunday. He was strong in pass protection as he usually is, but the fact that he dominated in the run game was a welcome surprise. Colon had several pancakes in this game. Many of us thought there would be a competition for the right guard spot this offseason since Colon has struggled with run blocking and penalties the last couple years, but maybe a change in offensive coordinators is all he needed to get back to the player we saw in Pittsburgh. It’s only week one, but hopefully this is a sign of what’s to come all season.
Another guy that seemed to struggle last season, Giac had a solid game. He didn’t do anything flashy; he just did his job. After watching the Browns game on the coaches’ tape you actually forget he is over there because nothing jumps off the tape. He didn’t allow any pressure with the exception of a hit on Fitzpatrick after he got rid of the ball and just did a good job staying on his blocks in the run game.
The Jets offensive line had a great first game. I gave them a B+ for the slow start, but they seemed to wear the Browns defense down as the game went on. The protection for Fitzpatrick was really good for the most part and not giving up any sacks is an incredible way to start the season against a solid defense. We need to understand, however, that Fitz getting rid of the football quicker and Gailey’s spread passing attack cut down the time the line has to hold their blocks. The most promising part of this game was how well this group blocked in the run game. The line (as well as Jeff Cumberland) blocked really well and gave Ivory and Powell room to run. Jets fans knew how good Chris Ivory could be. With good execution up front in this new scheme, we may get to see Ivory reach that potential