BGA: Defensive Backs – I jam, therefore I am

Jets fans have been asking all season – especially since the Bengals (and to a lesser extent the Falcons and Titans prior to that) exposed the Jets’ frailties in terms of defending quick passes – why don’t they jam the receivers at the line more often?

My reasoning has been that the guys they had that were most effective at doing that (Darrelle Revis, Aaron Berry and Ellis Lankster) are all not playing for various reasons, so the players that remain might not be able to do it effectively.

Another factor has been Antonio Cromartie’s injured hip, which maybe has an effect upon how readily he can explode forward to jam the receiver and then turn his hips to run with him, so he almost has to play either off coverage or press bail technique to give himself enough of a head start to stay with his man. Cromartie is a particularly interesting study because in the past, the Jets coaches have said that they’ve tried to get him to put his hands on the receiver more often and that when he has, the results have been good. The injury may have scuppered that for this year though.

However, whether it’s a sign that Cromartie is feeling better, a last desperation attempt at something new or even a change in philosophy they hadn’t fully considered until now, Cromartie was in press coverage and jamming the receiver at the line on a regular basis in yesterday’s game. So, how did it go?

You can sum this up in two words: Mixed results. Let’s break down all of the main plays he was involved in:

- Playing off the receiver, closed to make the tackle short of the marker but missed the tackle and allowed the first down
- In press coverage, jammed the receiver at the snap, only to do that a beat early and get called for being offside
- In press coverage, jammed the receiver, delaying his route and causing the throw downfield to be harmlessly incomplete on 3rd and 17
- In press coverage, tried to jam the receiver, didn’t get a clean jam and gave up a first down catch
- Playing off his man with outside technique, the throw down the middle ended up being caught for a 48-yard touchdown as he collided with Ed Reed
- In press coverage, he didn’t jam at the line, but did make contact within five yards. However, the receiver tossed him aside and was wide open for the first down. I’d need to see the coaches film, but I suspect the receiver got away with offensive pass interference there
- Playing off-coverage, he tracked the receiver across the field and the throw to the end zone was low and away, although the receiver wanted a flag
- In press coverage on 4th and five, he didn’t jam at the line, but did make contact within five yards to try and slow the receiver’s route. The fade was still thrown over the top and Cromartie had blanket coverage but didn’t look back for the ball and made contact before it arrived to get hit with a pass interference call
- Finally, he lined up in press coverage, but bailed out and dropped off, then jumped the route and dropped a potential interception

Conclusions? Well, sometimes being in press coverage doesn’t work, Cromartie is equally capable of having successes or failures whether pressing or not and, finally, it probably is a good idea to mix things up, as long as Cromartie is capable of doing so physically.

Other than his ups and downs in coverage, Cromartie also over-pursued on the Reece touchdown run.

The other cornerback, Dee Milliner, responded with easily his best game as a pro. Milliner looked – dare I say – good when targeted and the Jets smartly used Reed to give him plenty of help and dissuade the Raiders from targeting him too often. Three times he was targeted in the end zone and all three were incomplete. He still had a missed tackle and was also guilty of over-pursuit on the Reece touchdown, but Milliner really does seem to have benefited from them forcing as much playing time as possible on him. Let’s hope this isn’t an aberration, because if he’s at last smashed through the rookie wall, this gives them a chance in each of their remaining games.

Reed played his part in Milliner’s solid performance and did intercept a wayward pass, but what will be remembered from this game is probably his collision with Cromartie that led to the Rod Streater touchdown. That was a bizarre play because it looked like the throw was intended for the slot receiver and Cromartie and Reed both jumped that route, only for the throw to by-pass everyone and end up in Steater’s hands on the back end. It was similar to the Jets’ first touchdown in that someone must have run the wrong route there.

Overall Reed is starting to look good. His range is far superior to anything the Jets have had back there in recent seasons and his comfort level is returning. He got there a hair late on two first down throws into zone coverage, but his closing speed was still impressive. The fact that they worked Antonio Allen into more packages so that Reed was only in the game 70% of the time may also have helped.

The other safety, Dawan Landry, made some good contributions in the running game, but again overpursued on the Reece touchdown run. He also gave up a couple of first downs in coverage for the second week in a row.

In Allen’s increased role he made a good play in run support and had a pressure off the edge. He did get beaten for a first down on one play but he was all over the receiver who made the catch.

Kyle Wilson had another quiet day in coverage, which of course is a good thing. He was in good position to make the tackle on a third down pass that was dropped anyway and should have drawn an offensive pass interference flag on a screen pass where he was being blocked with the ball still in the air.

Finally, Josh Bush and Jaiquawn Jarrett played 10 snaps between them and each contributed by helping to break up a pass.


Next up…a special moment for the special teams unit.

20 comments
NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

While you don't breakdown other teams like you do the jets, you see at least one other team a week when you breakdown our game. 


Have you seen any other teams that have penalties not called against them as often as the Jets? Maybe all fans of every team feel like this, but every week I feel like I see blatant calls (mostly holding but others as well) not go our way. Simply my bias?

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Brendan- did you notice this little comment.......Other than his ups and downs in coverage, Cromartie also over-pursued on the Reece touchdown run.

a57se
a57se

With as consistent as their run defense is, it’s curious that the Jets would employ such a boom or bust secondary. 

An interesting observation from PFF and something we have discussed on this site before. Could you break down the Jets coverages for this game and their relative success?

1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

"The other cornerback, Dee Milliner, responded with easily his best game as a pro. Milliner looked – dare I say – good when targeted and the Jets smartly used Reed to give him plenty of help and dissuade the Raiders from targeting him too often. Three times he was targeted in the end zone and all three were incomplete."


This can't be...I know I read somewhere that he  is a "bust" (and a wasted draft pick).

McGeorge
McGeorge

@jetfuel What has Idzik done?

This years draft was horrible.

Maybe he inherited bad front office personnel, but he still bears the responsibility.   


I really really dislike him forcing Winters to be played.  If I was Woody I'd privately tell him that I don't want to see that kind of behavior "play my guys, not Tanenbaums guys"


He did little to improve the receiving corps which has been weak for a while.


Having said all this give him another year.  If he has a year like this again, I'd fire him, else the Jets will end up as a 2-14 team as their players age out.


I like the trade for Ivory and the signing of Mike Goodson, you can't predict the injury, and had he not gotten hurt, he might have had a decent year, even with a 4 game suspension.


The Garrard signing was not a problem since there was no one else available.  He's not making much.


Now in this off season, if the Jets can get a mediocre QB like Jake Locker, I'd do it as a care taker QB, let Geno sit on the bench and improve, else he doesn't get to play again.   

Brendan
Brendan

@jetfuel So....you haven't been watching Coples lately...huh?

a57se
a57se

I'd fire Idzik for other reasons but not for drafting Milliner.

bharper42
bharper42

@a57se


of course he's sticking hs nose in.  He doesn't trust or like the coaches.  Neither do I.


They have to evaluate how the players are progressing and forcing ryan to do that is the only way.  they don't have 3 years to wait and see if winters, millner, richardson, smith will be any good.  they have to play them now.


imo

a57se
a57se

jetfuel basically says exactly what I was saying and you agree with himm but argue with me....OK!

juunit
juunit

I think the big problem with that is if Ducasse's fate was predetermined. I mean, what if he actually has figured it out and goes on to be a pro bowler somewhere else because we never gave him a real chance here? That definitely is also at odds with the competition mantra.

Brendan
Brendan

@jetfuel @Brendan @a57se


I agree with this, and it's the strategy Idzik employed at pretty much every other roster spot, which is why I don't think doing it at LG is a fireable offense when the alternative is better, but still not very good, 


I like Vlad, I wanted him to start, I still think he will end up being a good player in the NFL, but I don't blame the Jets for starting Winters' learning curve early. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Good thing you're not the owner, then. 


These "how would you like..." questions are not worth discussing. I'm not a private contractor being paid half a million bucks to play a game. If I was, you could compare my working situation to that of an NFL player. Your question also isn't even accurate. 


Idzik isn't telling players how to play, he's telling the coaches who to play (assuming this is a correct theory). The closest analogy would be if your boss' boss told your boss how to use his team (which you are a part of). Which, when laid out like that, doesn't sound that crazy, now does it? But, again, you can't compare office life to sports life. 

a57se
a57se

I said other playing time edicts as well. The point being, if the GM thinks he has the authority to decide who plays and who shouldn't, i would fire him immediately as that would and should not be his role. i thought I made myself clear. If it was Tanny last season insisting that Vlad should split reps, i would of canned his arse as well.

How would you like your boss telling the guys who work for you to do things differently then you want them done?

How would that impact your position in relation to your subordinates?

You can't have those things happening in a professional environment.......

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Oh, settle down, I was just making a joke. 


What if the team already decided to move on from Vlad? Damaged reputation, not the best fit with a zone blocking scheme, maybe Rex isn't a fan....whatever. Then they started him early, gave Winters a chance to recover the missed practices he lost in preseason due to injury and started him (which may have been the plan all along). If Winters is intended to be the long-term starting LG and Vlad was always going to be gone in 2014, is it really that egregious to start the guy you will be relying on for the foreseeable future? 


I don't see how that alone is a fireable offense. 

a57se
a57se

The last line of your comment was totally uncalled for.


I think it is a terrible way to run a team if the GM is sticking his nose into the coaches job. The Coaches determine who plays, NOT management. Any other arrangement only serves to undermine the authority of the HC.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se So, you would fire a new GM for telling his head coach to play a guy at LG they want to be a long-term starter? 


I think that's a terrible way to run the team, I'm not firing anyone because of it when we're starting rookies everywhere and the team would have needed a miracle to make any postseason noise. 


You are getting crankier in your old age. 

a57se
a57se

Well, it would depend on where the Winters playing time decision is coming from. If that is from Idzik or any other playing time edict, then I would kick his arse out the door so fast he wouldn't remember he had been with the Jets either.