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

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 4 win over the Tennessee Titans and previews the week 5 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.

Week 4 Summary
The Jets’ defensive line was the anchor of the defensive unit’s success on Sunday for all 4 quarters. They were dominant all over. Bryce Huff, Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, John Franklin-Myers all had great success in their matchups. The Titans’ offensive line struggled mightily to keep them out of the backfield.

Run Defense

Against one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, the Jets did a fair job but couldn’t hold Derrick Henry at all times. They gave up 177 yards on 37 carries for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. If there was an area that could’ve improved it was here. They could’ve stopped Henry from gaining momentum into the next level on a few occasions. However, they held up well when it mattered in the red zone. Titans were 2-5 in the RedZone, even with their strong rushing performance.

Pass Rush
This is where the Jets wrecked the game. The Jets finished with 7 sacks, and 15 QB hits. As stated above, the Jets were pressuring Tannehill on 37.5% of his dropbacks.  Everyone was getting in on the fun. They were collapsing the pocket from every direction.

The Jets have now totaled the 5th most sacks in the NFL through week 4. They are now ranked 7th in pass rush win rate, and 7th in adjusted sack rate as a team. The best part is that it looks like they are just now coming into their own. This is a mostly young group of defensive lineman starting to tap into their potential at the same time.

Week 4 Standout: John Franklin-Myers

There’s a state that defensive linemen get to in a game where they know for a fact that no one is stopping them. John Franklin-Myers got there on Sunday again. He was unblockable for large chunks of the game. JFM finished with 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, and 3 QB hits but his influence was much wider than that stat line. Most Jets defensive linemen had good games but when you watch the unit closely, John Franklin-Myers was the most consistent and effective force against the run and in the pass rush.

Week 5 Preview

The Jets face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in London and it presents another favorable matchup for the defensive line. The Falcons offensive line is 25th in team pass block win rate and 24th in team run block win rate. They’re also 16th in allowed adjusted sack rate.

The individual matchups also look good for the Jets. Right guard Chris Lindstrom presents the hardest challenge for the Jets on the inside. The Falcons will probably look to double anyone who is lined up over left guard Jalen Mayfield so Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins will have to win their one on ones with Lindstrom. On the outside, John Franklin-Myers and Bryce Huff should have the advantage, particularly when lined up against right tackle Kaleb McGary.

X-Factor: Bryce Huff

Bryce Huff has outperformed expectations as an emergency starter. He’s starting to string together impressive performances including his 1.5 sack game on Sunday. When he’s at his best, the entire unit is buoyed because there is truly no weak point. Huff will be a big factor on Sunday in his matchups against Kaleb McGary and Jake Matthews. Once again, a handful of pass rush wins from him can completely change the game.



TOJ’s Just Equal The Spread f/ Stephen Zantz