TOJ New York Jets Film Room Breakdown – Week 1 vs. Buffalo

Joe Caporoso breaks down the film from the New York Jets week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills

Welcome to our weekly TOJ Film Room breakdown of the New York Jets. Unlike last year, when we focused solely on passing game breakdowns , we are going to expand to a wider range of coverage this year on both sides of the football. Each week, we will focus on a handful positives and negatives. Let’s dive into the #TAPE…

The Good 

Jamal Adams Debut 

The 6th overall pick in the NFL Draft had an impressive debut, bouncing around the field between safety, slot corner and linebacker. Adams demonstrated the explosiveness and versatility that has many believing he is a future All-Pro candidate.

Lined up at weak side linebacker below, Adams demonstrates immediate play recognition and hits the hole like missile, Most importantly, he goes low and lands a devastatingly effective tackle on one of the league’s best running backs.

On the next play, Adams recognizes the speed out from Charles Clay, shows off his closing speed and wraps up a solid tackle well in front of the first down marker. Adams is going to be a valuable weapon against tight ends and slot receivers, particularly if he is this reliable with his tackling and closing speed.

It wasn’t readily apparent when it first occurred but the primary reason for Juston Burris’ interception was Adams delivering a well timed hit to Clay on his out route, leading to a tipped ball right into Burris’ lap. This is a perfect example of how to avoid a head shot, interfere with the trajectory of the football and create a turnover.

We Found An Edge In A Hopeless Place 

In August, you would not have expected Kony Ealy and Josh Martin to be the Jets two best edge defenders in week one but here we are. Both players had consistent, disruptive performances in both the running and passing game.

In the Jets goal line defense, Martin sets the edge and disengages his blocker at the perfect time to drop LeSean McCoy for a huge loss. This is the type of edge setting that would bring a tear of pride to Calvin Pace’s eye.

Martin’s most impressive play of the day came below. Look at his play recognition on the screen pass to McCoy, he quickly sheds his blocker, redirects his path and drops McCoy in the open field for a big loss.

Darron Lee got credit for this sack on the stat sheet but Ealy is the reason it occurred. Thanks to a perfect outside set up, followed by an inside rip, Tyrod Taylor is forced outside the pocket to scramble for a short loss. Ealy is the Jets most gifted natural pass rusher and he showed why here.

One of the concerns about Ealy in New England was his ability to hold up against the running game. On the play below, he holds his position against his blocker and drops the runner after a short gain, showing good gap discipline and an ability to finish a play.

Anything Is Possible 

In August, you would not have expected Jermaine Kearse and Will Tye to be the recipients of the Jets two best looking passing plays in week one but here we are. It was an encouraging debut for two hold the fort players, highlighted by the connections below.

On 3rd and 12, the Jets go five wide. Kearse is the backside, outside receiver. He is working a “levels” concept with the slot receiver, who runs a pivot, out route to help clear space for Kearse’s deep dig route behind him. Josh McCown waits until the window opens in the Cover 1 zone and fires in a nice pass over the linebacker and in front of the corner who trails behind Kearse.

On the Jets only touchdown scoring drive of the game, they found Tye for their longest passing play of the game. Again, they are in a five wide look with Tye as the strong side H-Back. He runs a deep waggle route and beats his defender for inside position. McCown throws the ball on time, after the short crossing route from the weak side clears space, leading to the big gain.

The Bad 

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems 

Muhammad Wilkerson was dreadful in 2016 after receiving a big contract from the Jets. Many pointed to lingering effects from a season ending 2015 injury as the reason for his decline in performance, unfortunately it looks like that was not the case as Wilkerson had a lackadaisical, dispiriting debut to his 2017 season.

Below, Wilkerson is put on roller skates by a rookie offensive lineman, as he plays way too high and is eventually cut down, helping spring a huge McCoy run. The effort level and technique is both extremely poor here.

On this play, Wilkerson appears to be shadowing Tyrod Taylor on a 3rd and long. As he begins pursuit, he flails his arms in a half hearted attempt to knock down Taylor’s pass, rather than make a dive at him to make the tackle short of the fist down marker. Before you say Wilkerson has no chance pursuing Taylor no matter what the situation is, go back and watch his tape from 2015 on Thursday Night Football agains Taylor when he was playing for a contract.

Wilkerson struggles to keep contain on this big McCowy run and worse gives a half hearted effort in pursuit. He is the team’s highest paid player. When the rest of a young defense sees this level of effort, it trickles down to the rest of the unit.

Players Do Not Change 

There was a summer of hype about Demario Davis being a changed player. It turns out he is the same player he was in 2015 for the Jets, a below average inside linebacker who struggles in the passing game. Do not get lost in the box score stats, Davis and Darron Lee were the primary reasons Buffalo was able to move the ball up and down the field against the Jets. It was an ugly day for both of the Jets inside linebackers.

Lee is spun like a top on this play action and can’t keep up with Nick O’Leary, the Bills backup tight end, allowing a huge gain that helped the Bills put the game away.

On the game’s first third down, Demario Davis is easily beat by Charles Clay on a slot slant route. Davis lacks the route recognition and foot speed to keep up with most, if not all, NFL tight ends.

This play nicely encompasses three major problem spots for the Jets defense. Darron Lee is blocked out of position to make the initial tackle on McCoy’s screen, Davis is too slow to even make a tackle attempt and Wilkerson dives and misses his tackle attempt, allowing McCoy to zig zag across the field for a first down.

Look at how easily the Jets linebackers are moved out of position on these inside runs and how much Davis and Lee struggle to fill the gaps.

Growing Pains

Starting from day one is a tall order for a second round rookie. The Bills wisely isolated Marcus Maye in the slot here one on one vs Clay, who easily beats him with a simple out route for the game’s first touchdown. Maye is likely going to be put in this position a ton this season and he must learn how to better compete in these matchups.

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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