BGA Preview: Jets “at” Dolphins

During the season, Bent’s Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets’ upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday…

London welcomes the Jets and Dolphins this morning (9:30pm ET) for a neutral site matchup that officially counts as a Dolphins home game. While on one hand this is viewed as a divisional match-up between two teams expected at the start of the season to push for the divisional crown, it’s also two teams that suffered a setback last week, as each of them trailed by 24 points late in the first half. While the Jets clawed their way back and ended up with a respectable scoreline (although the performance arguably fell some way short of respectability), things went from bad to worse for the Dolphins in their blow-out loss to the Bills. Who will bounce back in London?

After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for. To read more of this story, click here

Oct 2, 2015; London, United Kingdom; General view of Wembley Stadium in advance of the NFL International Series game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

BGA talks with a Monarch: The GM

I recapped the events of Friday’s Jets practice on the outskirts of London here. However, it was an unexpected encounter after practice had concluded that probably represented the highlight of my day.

As I detailed in my report, after the players had been made available to the media, NFL Play 60 had put on a terrific event for local schoolchildren. The players – literally every last one of them – were assigned eight to a station to put the kids through their paces on a series of drills. Watching this was way more entertaining than practice earlier had been.

As I stood watching this unfold, a familiar figure strolled alone across the field. With some of the media back inside at the podium, others taking pictures and the rest happy with the quotes they’d collected and headed inside to write them up, he went unnoticed as he walked alongside me and stopped to watch an obstacle course-style drill.

I had no real intention of talking to this person, who I assumed was probably off-limits to media but we acknowledged one another and I made some light-hearted quip about searching for new talent, assuming that would be our only interaction. Instead we would have a long, interesting conversation for probably about 20 minutes after he had introduced himself to me.

“Hi, I’m Mike Maccagnan.”

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Oct 2, 2015; Sunbury-on-Thames, United Kingdom; New York Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (96) participates in blocking drill with a youngster at NFL Play 60 clinic at the Hazelwood in advance of the NFL International Series game against the Miami Dolphins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

BGA: Talking ’bout practice

Sunbury-on-Thames, UK — Having endured London’s trademark “severe delays,” my arrival at the Hazelwood Centre (yes, centre, not center – you Americans don’t have a worldwide monopoly on spelling things incorrectly, you know) was met with a resounding “Your name’s not on the list.” Of course it was.

I didn’t pay £122 for my rail ticket to give up without a fight though. Fortunately, I had no need for one, because they pretty much decided to just let me have a media pass anyway, before letting me know five minutes later that I’d been on the list all along – they just didn’t realise (yes, realise, not realize) that there were more names on the other side of the page.

Hopefully, Jets practice would create a more organised (sic) first impression. To read more of this story, click here


BGA Wrap-up – Eagles at Jets

As you know, I usually like to move on from a loss and look ahead rather than dwell on it too much. History will remember this however it wants to, anyway. Whether this will be looked upon as a one-score defeat or a blowout with a flattering final scoreline down the road will probably depend upon how well the Jets play over the next month or so and what this does to people’s perception of the team. One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t a particularly well played game by either team, so they’ll both need to improve if they want to win most of their games going forwards.

London is calling! The Jets should arrive here early on Friday morning where they will prepare for the meeting with the Dolphins in a battle of two teams that were both 24-0 down in the second quarter of their previous game.

There will probably be more Dolphins fans than Jets fans at the game, which is unusual for a Miami home game against the Jets. Hopefully this will unsettle the Dolphins. Wouldn’t it be nice to beat the rival Dolphins and head to the bye (and Sheldon Richardson’s imminent return) with a 3-1 record? Don’t forget to set your alarm clocks!

If you have any questions or would like me to look at something more closely, please leave your questions here in the comments, email them to or tweet them to @bent_double and I’ll respond in BGA Extra later this week.

There are links to each BGA article or the option to read the offensive and/or defensive BGA in full after the jump.

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BGA: Sproled out across the field

I’ve registered my concern about the special teams units a few times since the start of preseason but, truth be told, they haven’t been that bad so far. However, one disastrous unit-wide breakdown proved to be a game-changer. Instead of a 3-0 game with the ball deep in their own territory and their offense stalling, the Eagles were gifted a 10-0 lead and, as we’re all painfully aware, this Jets team is not really built to come from behind.

Credit to Darren Sproles, I guess, who made a spectacular play on the return, but he left a litany of tacklers strewn across the field on his 89-yard punt runback. The guilty parties: Kellen Davis, Bilal Powell and Tanner Purdum, who missed tackles, Devin Smith and Erin Henderson, who overpursued, and Ryan Quigley, who out-kicked his coverage.

I guess the Jets figure that special teams won’t be a major factor most weeks, as indeed it was not in the first two games. However, a breakdown like this which puts added pressure on the offense does make you wonder if they perhaps should have made this unit a bigger priority.

To read more of this story, click here


BGA: Calvin fails to repeat prior performances

It had been an encouraging start to the season for Calvin Pryor, who of course had his first interception last week. Unfortunately, this game showed that he still has some considerable room for growth.

As noted in the previous article, Pryor had a blown coverage in a mix-up with Demario Davis, but he also took a bad angle on a couple of plays, a habit I was hoping he’d started to overcome. By far his biggest issue, however, was that he kept coming up towards the line of scrimmage on running plays but then getting blocked out of the play on the edge.

Pryor did have quite a few nice plays, including a tackle for a loss on a screen pass where he did well to avoid the block. However, if he’s going to improve upon his consistency, he needs to anticipate plays better and be careful not to underestimate the speed many players have at this level.

To read more of this story, click here


BGA: Choking in the clutch

The Jets would have got the ball back with about 30 seconds left had Quinton Coples not been called for an illegal hands to the face penalty on third down. Coples did have his hand up around the neck area of his blocker, although it was well away from the play.

The call was somewhat surprising, given the fact that linemen from both teams had been doing the same sort of thing throughout the game. On this particular play, Coples didn’t shove back his man with the same kind of aggression as Brandon Graham did earlier in the game when he looked like he was trying to snap D’Brickshaw Ferguson’s head back like a pez dispenser. This wasn’t even the most egregious example of Coples himself doing that, because he had done it earlier in much more aggressive fashion while double teamed on a stretch run.

Coples didn’t register much pressure, only once getting to Bradford when he stepped up, but it was hardly surprising because Coples only actually got a chance to rush the passer eight times. As I mentioned in the previous article, the Jets ran a lot of 3-3-5 personnel groupings which meant that Coples did not start and only played half of the snaps. Even when they went to 4-2-5 it was primarily with Calvin Pace and Muhammad Wilkerson as the ends. This wouldn’t be a match-up issue because although the Eagles have good tackles, Coples got plenty of reps – and did well – against two good tackles in Joe Thomas and Anthony Castonzo. I wonder if Coples was being punished because of comments he made during the week about how easy it is to slow down the Eagles’ offense.

To read more of this story, click here


BGA: Adjustin’ Leonard

Was this a good performance or a bad performance by the Jets defense? On one hand, they allowed a 100-yard rusher, had a couple of key breakdowns and left the offense with some catching up to do. However, on the other hand, they posted a second half shut-out, held the high-powered Eagles to just 231 yards and 14 of the points they gave up came on a punt return and after a turnover left the Eagles with a short field.

Often in this kind of game, the defense will still grade out well because they performed well for most of it. However, that wasn’t really the case in this one. That’s even true of the defensive line, who – despite helping to hold the Eagles to 3.2 yards per carry – were not able to dominate up front as you can usually rely on them to do.

Just three games into his career, I’m struggling to get a handle on how good Leonard Williams actually is. Much like I had to with every cornerback after Darrelle Revis was so good in the first few years of the Rex Ryan era, the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are so impressive that I probably need to recalibrate my scale. Williams is definitely good and hopefully destined for greatness, but at times I forget that he’s still a rookie and I shouldn’t judge him on the same criteria as I would a player like Wilkerson.

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BGA: Lateral thinking

I’ve often thought that if NFL teams started practicing lateral passes more often, it could revolutionize the league. Sure, it’s a risky play, but if players practiced it, used it at the appropriate time and were on the same page in terms of expecting it, this could stretch a defense and turn a lot of plays into big gains. Unfortunately, none of those things applied to the play Brandon Marshall tried to make in yesterday’s game.

Marshall called his ill-advised attempt to lateral the ball to Jeff Cumberland, the “worst play in NFL history”. He’s wrong, but at least he recognizes it was a reckless thing to do. The Jets were driving, down 17, at the time and seven plays later that lead swelled to a what-proved-to-be-insurmountable 24 points.

What was he thinking, though? Let’s take a look…

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