New York Jets – Week 7 Secondary Breakdown

Ben DiNapoli with his breakdown of the New York Jets secondary heading into week 8…

After two straight wins, the Jets came back down to earth in week 7, losing 37-17 to the Minnesota Vikings. In a game not many people thought New York could win, the Jets, with key injuries on both sides of the ball, actually kept it close into the second half. However, sloppy play and the inability to capitalize on mistakes led to the Vikings pulling away as the day unfolded. Speaking of injuries, the secondary was once again without Trumaine Johnson, Buster Skrine and Marcus Maye, but played better than expected for the majority of the afternoon.

Considering the Jets are so banged up on the backend of their defense, it was encouraging to see what’s left of New Jack City put forth a good performance against one of the best receiver duos in the league. Kirk Cousins had a decent, yet unspectacular game, throwing for 241 yards and 2 touchdowns. Almost half of Cousins’ yardage came from Adam Thielen, who, in the midst of a historic start to the season, had 9 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Outside of that, the Jets were able to contain the likes of Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph.

After the first drive of the game, Minnesota’s passing game struggled to do much of anything until later in the second half. With that being said, there were some huge missed opportunities by the secondary that could’ve given the offense some momentum and led to a more competitive outcome on the scoreboard. This failure to generate takeaways certainly contributed to the result, but it also didn’t help that the Vikings started with good field position on what felt like every drive.

Let’s take a look at some studs and duds from week 7:

 STUD: CB Darryl Roberts  

After giving up an early 34-yard touchdown to Adam Thielen, Roberts bounced back and wound up playing his best game of the season. On a day where he was heavily picked on, Roberts kept Diggs relatively quiet and made some nice plays in coverage. He finished with a team leading 11 tackles, 2 passes defended and 2 tackles for loss. Roberts looked more comfortable on the field and the hope is he continues to play at a similar level before he reverts back to a backup role once Trumaine Johnson returns.

DUD: CB Parry Nickerson

Overall, Nickerson looked better in coverage this past week but that being said, he had his fair share of missed opportunities. Nickerson dropped a would-be interception off a tipped pass by Leonard Williams that hit him right in the chest – that makes two weeks in a row where he couldn’t secure potential takeaways. The second play that stood out was in the 3rd quarter when Cousins threw a pass behind the line of scrimmage intended for Stefon Diggs. The incompletion was clearly a fumble and Nickerson was one of a few Jets that simply stared at the live ball until it was too late. With his speed, had he picked up the ball, the Jets would’ve had very good field position at the least, down only 10 points. 

STUD: S Jamal Adams

Adams continued his stellar sophomore season in week 7 as he paced the Jets with 3 tackles for loss and added in 9 total tackles, good for second on the team. It was a quiet day in coverage, as Cousins mostly picked on Nickerson and Roberts, rarely looking elsewhere. Adams continues to be a force in the backfield, applying pressure to the quarterback and assisting with stopping the run. That was all evident on Sunday and if he can start turning the hurries into consistent quarterback hits and sacks, that’ll add another element to Adams’ already impressive skill set.

 Week 8 Outlook 

The Jets travel to Chicago to take on Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears in week 8. After an uninspiring start to his professional career, Trubisky has found his groove as of late, throwing for 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in his last three games. The Bears boast an athletic group of pass catching weapons including Tarik Cohen out of the backfield, Trey Burton at tight end and Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel at wide receiver. Clearly, the Chicago passing attack can hit from all angles of the field, meaning everyone on defense, from the corners to the linebackers, will have to show up.

Unfortunately for New York, it looks like they’ll once again be without the aforementioned Johnson, Skrine and Maye. They’re also down to Terrence Brooks at safety, with Doug Middelton landing on IR because of a torn pectoral muscle. Although the Bears have a young, talented group of receiving options, they’re not on the same level as the Vikings. If the secondary can play at or near the level they did last week, I believe Trubisky will turn the ball over a few times, leading to a much closer outcome.