TOJ’s In The Trenches: New York Jets Defensive Line Review, Week 15

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 15 loss to the Miami Dolphins and preview their week 16 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Week 15 Summary

The Jets defensive line played a decent game on Sunday but it sadly didn’t matter much in the end as the Dolphins offense got traction in the 2nd half and closed things out. The gameplan from the Dolphins on offense wasn’t really complicated. They just ran the ball a ton and tried to create easy quick throws for Tua Tagovailoa. The Jets defensive line was able to get consistent penetration throughout the game but couldn’t impact the game in a significant way.

Run Defense

The Dolphins finished with 183 yards on 42 carries for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. This is the 3rd straight week the Jets have given up over 180 yards rushing which is hard to fathom. There were some instances of the defensive line not getting off their blocks that they can’t have but overall they seemed to get in the backfield plenty but just had no support behind them.

Pass Rush

The pass rush was able to create a decent amount of pressure but didn’t cause much issues for Tua on Sunday. The Jets had a sack and 4 QB hits. They’d definitely hope for higher output against such a poor offensive line but the Dolphins did enough to give Tua just enough time. It was a pleasant sight, though, to see rookie Jonathan Marshall making an impact on a few pressures. The depth of this unit continues to impress. The Jets remain middle-of-the-pack in pass rush win rate after week 15 as they’re currently standing at 14th.

Week 16 Preview

In week 16, the Jets will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars offensive line ranks 20th in pass block win rate, and 20th in run block win rate. However, Football Outsiders has them ranked 10th in run blocking (adjusted line yards) and 10th in pass blocking (adjusted sack rate). So statistically they are basically an average offensive line. The Jets defensive line should still have the advantage. Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins are questionable but, if they are a go, they should be able to win the majority of their matchups with Bryce Huff hopefully creating occassional pressure off the edge.

With how poor the run defense has been for the defensive unit as a whole, the matchup advantages for the defensive line might not matter too much. If anyone is going to run the ball its Jaguars new interim coach Darrell Bevell and his OC Brian Schottenheimer. The last 3 games, the Jets have faced 40 or more carries. I expect that to continue as the Jaguars feature a relatively fresh James Robinson this week.

X-Factor: Kyle Phillips

With basically the entire starting defensive line statuses questionable on Sunday, Kyle Phillips could see extended time on Sunday. He’s been playing well since his return to the lineup. An extended look gives him an opportunity to impress and solidify a depth role on the roster next season. He’s our X-Factor as we head into one of the most uncertain weeks of the season.