New York Jets – Week 6 Secondary Breakdown

Ben DiNapoli with his week 6 New York Jets secondary breakdown…

The Jets were able to make it two wins in a row after beating the Colts 42-34 in a game where New York certainly didn’t play its best football. It was a strong day for the offense, which was able to mount long scoring drives all afternoon. On the other side of the ball, the defense struggled, but was able to come up with a few big turnovers that wound up being the difference in the game. When looking at the secondary, the group had a rough showing but made some timely plays and benefited from multiple Indianapolis drops. While it’s true the Jets were without Trumaine Johnson, Buster Skrine and also lost Marcus Maye in the 2nd half, the Colts were missing their top receiver in TY Hilton and Jack Doyle, one of Andrew Luck’s most trusted targets. Is there any hope heading into a week 7 matchup with Minnesota?

Throwing to the likes of Chester Rogers, Eric Ebron and Marcus Johnson, Andrew Luck finished 23/43 for 301 yards with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Luck was not as sharp as usual, but was the victim of some bad drops and yet was still able to move the ball pretty effectively throughout the afternoon. Because of the aforementioned injuries on the backend of the defense, the Jets have switched to a more zone heavy scheme. In theory, that makes sense with the lack of talent at cornerback, but blown coverage assignments led to all 4 touchdown passes for the Colts.

Clearly, it wasn’t pretty and you never want to give up 300 yards through the air, but in a game with key players out on both sides of the ball, the secondary was able to weather the storm, force key turnovers and hold onto the win. With that being said, let’s look at some studs and duds from week 6:

Stud: CB Morris Claiborne

Morris Claiborne got the secondary off to a hot start with a pick six on the Colts’ opening drive. Although the interception was a result of a couple deflections, Claiborne showed good awareness and hustle coming down with the ball and taking off for the end zone. He also deflected a pass that led to an Avery Williamson interception late in the 1st half. This wasn’t his best day in coverage, as he was bailed out by drops and looked to be responsible for a blown assignment that led to a Marcus Johnson touchdown. But, Claiborne was still able to positively impact the outcome of the game even on a day when he wasn’t on top of his game.

 Dud: CB Parry Nickerson

This was another tough day for the rookie, as he continues to struggle in expanded action. Nickerson looked lost in coverage, and was out of place on the touchdown to Eric Swoop and was late to get over on the short score to Chester Rogers. Granted, no one anticipated him playing this much as a rookie 6th rounder, and although the talent is still there and growing pains are expected, you’d like to see more awareness as he continues to get more reps.

 Stud: S Jamal Adams

Similar to Claiborne, on a day where Adams was not at his best in coverage, he was still able to make plays that helped lead the Jets to a win. He had a huge hit on Robert Turbin, forcing a big fumble, setting the Jets up in Indianapolis territory. The second year safety also had 3 passes defended, with one leading to the Claiborne pick six. Adams did give up a couple big gains to Ebron, but if he continues to force turnovers and the coverage mishaps don’t become a trend, this isn’t something that’ll be held against him. I’m interested to see how he bounces back against an elite group of pass catchers this coming weekend.

Week 7 Outlook

New Jack City faces its toughest challenge of the season in week 7 when the group welcomes Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings to MetLife Stadium. New York will likely once again be without Trumaine Johnson, Buster Skrine and Marcus Maye. This’ll make stopping a potent Vikings passing attack all the more difficult and places a lot of pressure on Morris Claiborne to lock down Adam Thielen, one of the best receivers in the NFL. To make matters worse, the Jets have been a bend but don’t break defense all season long and it’s mostly worked out to this point – that’s not a trend to rely on for an entire season, as it’ll backfire against teams like the Vikings.

Although not a favorable matchup on paper, New York needs to minimize controllable mistakes like miscommunications or blown assignments and pressure Cousins into bad decisions in order to stand any chance at slowing down one of the league’s best aerial attacks. We could be in for a long week, Jets fans – let’s hope the offense shows up once again…