New York Jets – Week 13 Secondary Breakdown

Ben DiNapoli with his breakdown of the New York Jets secondary headed into week 14…

Following their latest meltdown against the Tennessee Titans, the Jets made it six losses in a row, falling 26-22. This looked like a different New York team in the first half, as the defense was playing hard en route to an early 16-6 lead while holding Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota to under 75 yards through the air. However, as soon as the teams came out for the second half, it was back to the same old Jets, starting with the secondary.

After throwing for only 62 yards and a late score in the first half, Mariota finished with 282 yards passing and added the winning touchdown with 36 seconds left in the game. The Jets broke their record tying takeaway drought after Trumaine Johnson secured a pick six on Tennessee’s second drive of the game. Aside from that, the Jets’ usual bend but don’t break defense wore down and completely collapsed in the 4th quarter. New York allowed 13 points and blew multiple coverages against the likes of Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe.

While it’s nice to see the secondary come down with an interception and put points on the board, you’re not going to win many games with so many lapses in coverage. Quite frankly, the Jets are lucky the Titans only scored 26 points, as Mariota had multiple misfires, most notably a would be walk-in touchdown to Taylor who got behind the secondary with no one in sight. As mentioned in previous weeks, this has become a consistent trend for the Jets.

Clearly, the secondary has yet to figure it out this season but with that being said, there were a handful of bright spots for this group in week 13. Let’s take a look at some studs and duds:

Stud: S Jamal Adams

Adams had yet another great game, finishing with a team leading 11 tackles to go along with 1 sack. He wasn’t tested much in coverage, but was constantly around the line of scrimmage either applying pressure to Mariota or making stops in the run game. It was nice to see Adams notch a sack, as he’s been close in a lot of the games this year. It’s also refreshing to see a player put forth this type of effort week-in and week-out. At this point, it’d be more of a surprise if Adams didn’t end up in the stud section each week.

Dud: CB Morris Claiborne

Claiborne’s hot start to the season seems like ages ago, especially after his latest performance. Taywan Taylor burnt Claiborne downfield on back-to-back drives where he simply just ran right by the Jets’ cornerback. On the first play, Mariota just missed the wide-open Taylor, costing his team an easy touchdown. The second time around Claiborne wasn’t so lucky, as the duo connected for 44 yards. He also was called for three defensive holdings, two of which were accepted.

Stud: CB Trumaine Johnson

Johnson has been the subject of criticism for essentially the whole season but this week showed a glimpse of the player the Jets thought they’d be getting in the offseason. Johnson played effective coverage, limiting any receiver that lined up across from him and had the aforementioned pick six. Though it wasn’t a perfect game, as he was bailed out by a couple errand throws and had a bad face-mask on the Titans’ winning drive. All things considered, Johnson was brought in to lock down opposing team’s top receivers and force turnovers, so week 13 was certainly a step in the right direction.

 Dud: S Darryl Roberts

Roberts, a natural cornerback, has struggled in the two games Todd Bowles has trotted him out at safety. On the long overthrow to Taylor, he was late getting into position, which gave Claiborne no over-the-top help. He also was beat in zone coverage for a 55 yard gain to Taylor – he misplayed the route and didn’t have enough speed to recover in time. Roberts has played well at cornerback when given the opportunity this season. As such, it’s time to end the experiment at safety and start getting him reps back at his natural position.

 Week 14 Outlook

The Jets will visit Buffalo in week 14 in a rematch against the Bills. In a season where New York is 3-9, their ugliest loss was without a doubt in week 11 versus Matt Barkley at home. After getting torched by Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the secondary, along with the entire defense, will be looking for revenge against a team the Jets really should beat.

The main difference this time around is Buffalo will have rookie Josh Allen back at quarterback. To his credit, the young signal caller has played better as of late and has been making plays with his legs. Although the Jets typically struggle against mobile quarterbacks, Allen still tries to force too many throws and is prone to mistakes. Because of this, I believe the secondary will force a few takeaways in a much better performance and help snap New York’s six game skid.