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

Dan Essien previews the Jets’ defensive line against an incredibly talented Eagles OL.

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 12 win over the Houston Texans and preview their week 13 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The New York Jets defensive line finally returned to the form they showed earlier this season on Sunday as they whooped the Texans offensive line for 4 quarters on Sunday. The Texans had limited success running the ball and most of their success came mainly from a few incredible plays from Tyrod Taylor. For the most part, the Jets imposed their will defensively and shut the door in the second half.

Run Defense

The Texans had 96 yards rushing on 24 carries for average of 4.0 yards per carry (league average is 4.3). Almost a third of those yards came on a 30 yard scramble from Tyrod Taylor. So the Jets run defense was solid and the defensive line was a big part of that, particularly on the interior. After 12 weeks, Foley Fatukasi leads the NFL in run stop win rate amongst interior defensive linemen and the Jets are 10th in team run stop win rate.

Pass Rush

The Jets pass rush was outstanding. Sheldon Rankins, Quinnen Williams, and John Franklin-Myers dominated their matchups and had Tyrod Taylor under pressure all game long. The Jets finished with 5 sacks and 8 QB hits. The most encouraging part in all of this is that they were able to achieve this still without Bryce Huff off the edge opposite of John Franklin-Myers. Huff was expected to be back by this game but we can only hope he returns next week against the Eagles without much further information from the team.

Week 12 Standout: John Franklin-Myers

Honestly, it was harder to pick JFM over Rankins after looking at the tape because they both played outstanding football on Sunday. However, JFM made the game changing plays. He finished the game with 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and an interception. JFM seems to have worked himself back into this early season form at a great time. He now has 6 sacks on the season and hopefully the rest will continue to come in bunches.

Week 13 Preview

The Jets defensive line faces a big challenge against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles offensive line is responsible for one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL and have boasted solid pass protection as well. The Eagles’ offensive line ranks 2nd in team run block win rate and 5th in team pass block win rate. They’re also ranked 5th best in run blocking (adjusted line yards) according to Football Outsiders. It’s going to be perhaps the Jets defensive line’s hardest test since the Colts matchup.

Individually, the matchups are intriguing. On the outside, the Eagles have the advantage on paper with Jordan Mailata at left tackle and Lane Johnson at right tackle. It’s going to be a tough assignment for John Franklin-Myers and whoever starts opposite him at edge. Inside, the Jets should have a chance, particularly if they are able to get Sheldon Rankins or Quinnen Williams isolated against right guard Nate Herbig. They won’t have as much success against center Jason Kelce, and left guard Landon Dickerson. Kelce is still playing at a high level despite his age. He ranks 3rd amongst centers in run block win rate and 7th in pass block win rate. Dickerson, the rookie 2nd round draft pick, ranks 2nd in run block win rate amongst guards.

X-Factor: Quinnen Williams

The Eagles will no doubt attempt to impose their will on the Jets front with the run game. This is a big attitude game for the Jets and in these kind of matchups you really see what your best players are made of. The Jets need Quinnen Williams to stand out on Sunday. The last thing you want to see is a repeat of what happened to this unit in Indianapolis. Q needs to lead by example on Sunday.