TOJ’s In The Trenches: New York Jets Defensive Line Review, Week Five

In our weekly In The Trenches series we’ll focus on the performances of the Jets’ offensive and defensive lines throughout the season. In this edition, Dan discusses the performance of the defensive line in the Jets’ week 5 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and discusses the overall performance of the unit so far and how they project the rest of the season.

Week 5 Summary

The Jets defense finally ran into a great offensive gameplan against the Falcons. Arthur Smith and Matt Ryan kept the defensive line at bay and carved them up in the passing game. The Falcons used a fast tempo, and the quick passing game, to neutralize the defense line and it worked to perfection.

Run Defense

The Jets did decent against the run against Atlanta. The Falcons managed 108 yards on 29 carries for just 3.7 yards per carry (league average is 4.3). The Falcons didn’t really bother much with the running game with their success through the air, though, but it was noticeable that they wouldn’t have success doing so on the ground.

Pass Rush

As mentioned earlier the Jets’ pass rush was kept at bay with an excellent game plan. The tempo tired out the unit, and the quick passing game and Matt Ryan’s veteran computer brain left this unit exhausted and frustrated. The amount of 3rd and long conversions that were allowed with the talent up front is a big problem. The Jets finished with 0 sacks and 8 QB hits.

Week 4 Standout: Bryce Huff

Bryce Huff was impressive once again against the Falcons. He didn’t have a crazy stat line with 3 tackles, and a QB hit, but he looked particularly impressive against the run. It’s an area that was a concern for him coming into this season and yet he seems to have made it a strength. Huff now ranks 4th in the NFL run stop win rate and 9th in pass rush win rate. As a starter, he’s answered the bell and looked the part.

Year so far

With the Jets’ bye next week, let’s look at how the defensive line has faired so far overall. As a team, the Jets are 7th in pass rush win rate, and 6th in run block win rate. They’re also 11th in adjusted sack rate, and tied for 5th in total sacks with 13.

All things considered, they certainly look the part of a top 10 defensive line. However, there are elements to the Falcons’ gameplan that could be a cause for concern going forward. Most of the elements are somewhat out of the defensive line’s control, though (as long as the coaching staff is done having JFM and Huff cover tight ends). With the quick passing game you need your DBs to be more sticky in coverage underneath. With tempo your defensive line will just have to be really well conditioned.

The defensive line will have continue to have favorable matchups most weeks the rest of the season, with their hardest tests against the Buccaneers and the Bills offensive lines. Let’s see if they can string together some strong performances and maintain or improve on their current form.