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

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 11 loss to the Miami Dolphins and preview their week 12 matchup with the Houston Texans.

Week 11 Summary

The Jets defensive line looked more like themselves against the Dolphins but the absences in the rotation were still quite noticeable. The Dolphins had a similar approach to the Jets front as other teams have. They used a good amount of play action and misdirection to limit straight drop backs and attempt to protect their QB. The defensive line held up better than past weeks but not enough to carry the rest of the defensive struggles.

Run Defense

The Jets gave up 115 yards on 33 carries for an average of 3.5 yards per carry (league average is 4.3). So the Jets run defense wasn’t awful but still allowed the Dolphins almost 40 yards more than their season average rushing YPG (77.4). The Jets are really beat up at LB and at safety, so the run support behind the defensive line isn’t very good right now.

Pass Rush

The Jets pass rush looked better than it has in recent weeks against a terrible offensive line. The Jets forced a turnover as a result of pressure from John Franklin-Myers (Ashtyn Davis interception). However, there wasn’t enough in the pass rush to change the game. At the end of the day, the Jets had 2 QB hits and 0 sacks.

Week 11 Standout

I have to give a special shout-out to Kyle Phillips. After recently returning from injury, Phillips had an outstanding performance against the Dolphins that might earn him a few more snaps in the rotation. He finished with 4 tackles and 1 tackle for loss but almost every play he made was a splash play. He was playing with his head on fire.

Week 12 Preview

The Jets defensive line gets another favorable matchup on Sunday against the Houston Texans. The Texans offensive line is ranked 30th in pass block win rate, and 31st in run block win rate. Football Outsiders has them ranked dead last in run blocking (adjusted line yards), and 25th in pass protection (adjusted sack rate). The Jets should maul this offensive line on Sunday.

The individual matchups look just as tasty. Like most weeks, but even moreso this week, Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins have a significant advantage versus the interior against Tytus Howard, Jimmy Morrissey and Justin McCrary. In addition, John Franklin-Myers should have the advantage against either Geron Christian Sr. or Charlie Heck.

It has to start, however, with the Jets stopping the run. The Texans ran the ball 38 times in their surprise win against the Titans last week. They also used Tyrod Taylor’s mobility as a weapon. All of this neutralized the threat of Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons in the pass rush. They will likely try to repeat this type of strategy against the Jets.

X-Factor: Bryce Huff

The Jets are finally getting Bryce Huff back from injury and I think it could really boost this defensive line. They’ve been starved for speed off of the edge while he’s been out. With Rankins and Quinnen Williams playing well, and hopefully JFM coming back into form, Huff’s return could really come at the perfect time and against the perfect offensive line. Expect a noticeable difference in pass rush situations.