TOJ’s In The Trenches: New York Jets Defensive Line Review, Week 14

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 14 loss to the New Orleans Saints and preview their week 15 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

Week 14 Summary

The Jets defensive line had another throw away performances in the trenches against a beat up Saints offensive line. The Saints didn’t utilize any new wrinkles offensively that the Jets haven’t experienced this season. The Jets just can’t consistently stop any teams with the current state of the talent and health defensively. They had a decent first half defensively but then followed that up by allowing a 9 minute 3rd quarter drive and then the Saints put up 17 points in the 4th quarter. The defensive line is still the most talented unit on the team but they just aren’t making much a difference at all.

Run Defense

The entire Jets defense wasn’t showing great effort on Sunday. That clearly translated in the run defense. The Saints pounded the football, totaling 203 yards on 44 carries for an average of 4.6 yards per carry. The Jets had to know coming in they were going to see 40+ carries from the Saints on offense but it just didn’t matter. Like Mosley has said, teams don’t respect the Jets and until they show they can pass the bully exam, they’ll keep getting it every week. While the defensive line did flash a few times in run defense, the whole unit truly needs an mindset adjustment.

Pass Rush

The Jets had 3 sacks (1 where Taysom Hill just dropped the ball) and 3 QB hits but for the most part the pass rush had little impact on the game. Especially with the Saints only having 21 pass attempts in the game.  The Jets have now dropped to 15th pass rush win rate and 15th in adjusted sack rate. You just have to hope Bryce Huff is truly back this week because the pass rush desperately needs a spark.

Week 15 Preview

The Jets face off against the Miami Dolphins for the 2nd time this season. In their last matchup the defensive line had an average performance but should expect more from themselves against such a poor unit. The Dolphins hasn’t improved at all since then. They are 32nd in pass block win rate, and 21st in adjusted sack rate. In the run, while they ranked 9th in run block win rate, they are dead last in run blocking (adjusted line yards) according to Football Outsiders. Once again, it should be a favorable matchup if this unit plays up to their potential.

In the first matchup, the Dolphins limited the amount of straight drop-backs to keep the pass rush at bay. I expect a similar game-plan. Plenty of misdirection, screens, and play action on almost every pass. With the Dolphins potentially without few of their best offensive weapons, they will be forced to operate within a limit set of options. This should allow the Jets defensive line to play more freely.

X-Factor: Bryce Huff

Bryce Huff is actually back this week against Miami. The Jets have been completely depleted of juice off the edge since he’s been on the injury list. Huff is the best speed rusher they have, and his ability to get depth in his pass rush, perfectly compliments Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins ability to collapse the pocket inside. If Huff is truly healthy we should see a noticeable difference in the Jets pass rush.