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

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 3 loss to the Broncos and previews the week 4 matchup with the Tennessee Titans.

Week 3 Summary

The Jets’ defensive line once again had a good week that was overshadowed by the negatives elsewhere. They were particularly dominant on the inside where they had their biggest matchup advantages.  The Broncos were boosted by the poise and sound decision-making from Teddy Bridgewater despite the Jets pressure. That helped Denver gain an early lead and maintain it with their defense.

Run Defense

The Jets gave up 120 yards rushing on 37 attempts for an average of 3.2 yards per attempt. Broncos, like other teams, had some success getting running to the outside and utilizing draws to take advantage of the Jets front being aggressive getting up the field. I know I say it every week but the Jets really need more support from the linebackers not named C.J Mosley.

Through 3 weeks the Jets defensive line is ranked 13th against run blocking according to Football Outsiders and 4th in run block win rate according to ESPN. Football Outsiders also has them ranked 6th in “stuffs” which are runs where the carrier is stopped before or at the line of scrimmage.

Pass Rush

The Jets were solid once again in pass rush with some room for improvement. They finished with 2 sacks and 4 QB hits but they also flushed Bridgewater out of the pocket a good amount of times. The Jets currently sit at 7th overall in pressure percentage according to Pro Football Reference and 4th in pass rush win rate according to ESPN. Football Outsiders also has them ranked 10th in adjusted sack rate.

Week 3 Standout: Quinnen Williams

Quinnen Williams might be starting to come around for the Jets. He showed some more familiar dominance against the run and relentlessness in pass rush. He finished with 4 tackles,  1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, and 2 QB hits. The Jets will hope to see a steady rise from him. Especially with those around him like Rankins, John Franklin-Myers, and Foley Fatukasi playing so well.

Week 4 Preview

In week 4 the Jets face the Tennessee Titans. The matchup against the Titans’ offensive line once again presents an advantage for the Jets on the inside. With the Titans’ best inside presence, Roger Saffold, questionable and returning from a neck/shoulder injury, the Jets should get good results with Rankins, Williams, and Fatukasi. Bryce Huff faired pretty well in a tough matchup against Garrett Bolles last week and this week faces a challenge with Taylor Lewan. His success there could go a long way.

X-Factor: Foley Fatukasi

The Titans are 3rd in the NFL in rushing attempts. With one of the premiere backs in the NFL in Derrick Henry, the Jets have a big challenge on their hands to stop in the running game. Foley Fatukasi, who has played very well in the time he’s had on the field, could have an extended role in what could likely be a low-scoring body shot type of game. If the Jets can keep the Titans behind the chains, they’ll have a shot this week.