BGA: Defensive Backs – Tackling the main issue

Despite Cam Newton’s productive day, with over 220 yards passing by halftime, the Jets didn’t actually do a bad job in coverage. As noted in the previous section, it was on short passes where they got carved apart and that comes down to tackling, avoiding blocks and taking good angles.

I actually disagree with Dan Dierdorf’s analysis on the DeAngelo Williams long touchdown pass. He criticized Ed Reed for taking a bad angle, but for me the fault there lies entirely with Dee Milliner. Milliner had plenty of time to get off the block, but Brandon LaFell did a good job. What was unforgivable is that if you can’t get off the block in that situation, you cannot allow the runner to get outside you. With the angle Reed took, he was obviously assuming Milliner would at least block off the sideline and force Williams back inside. If that happens, Reed makes the tackle at the 30. If Reed takes the conservative angle, he’s making the stop at about the 10 or 15 yard line, with Milliner being driven into his path the whole way.

Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen each also had a bad missed tackle that led to a first down, while Dawan Landry took a bad angle on one play and was blocked out of another at the second level and Milliner had another play where he wasn’t able to get off a block on a reverse. In terms of coverage, the Jets did a reasonable job of containing the Panthers, it’s just these plays where they make an open field mistake that turns a big gain into a bigger one or a short gain into a first down that sunk them yesterday.

In coverage, Milliner acquitted himself well, often going against veteran Steve Smith and tackling him for a short gain on one play. He did give up too much of a cushion on one play that picked up a first down, but other than that gave up just one short catch. He is absolutely getting better and is the Jets’ most-improved rookie over the second half of the season, but he does need to be able to get off those blocks otherwise teams will continue to exploit that. He’s also missed seven tackles since week eight, having only missed one in the first eight games.

Despite being a gametime decision, Antonio Cromartie wasn’t picked on much by the Panthers. He gave up one first down on a play where he was too far off and was hit with a defensive holding call, but made a good tackle in the flat on a screen pass and wasn’t otherwise targeted. He also deserves credit for calling a timeout when the Jets had a defensive mismatch near the goal line.

Other than his “bad angle”, Reed had another quiet game as teams continue to avoid throwing his way. His influence still seems to be mostly reflected in Milliner’s improvements since his arrival (five passes defensed since Reed arrived, only two prior to that).

Landry had a couple of hits that nearly knocked the ball loose and made a couple of good contributions in run support but did give up a big first down and, as noted, had some issues in the open field.

In the slot, Kyle Wilson was beaten for a couple of first downs, but did get in on a tackle in run support.

Allen did have a couple of good plays in coverage, Jaiquawn Jarrett had a tackle for a loss on a running play stretched out wide and Josh Bush saw action again in the goal line package. The Walls missed tackle came on his only snap, while Ellis Lankster – who apparently would have started if Cromartie couldn’t play, saw no action and injured his jaw on special teams.


Next up…after last week’s blocked punt, the Jets get a taste of their own medicine.




18 comments
Ron Alexander
Ron Alexander

BENT, not that you need my opinions but you did a great job here! I agree 100% Milliner's biggest mistake was giving up the outside on that play.Reed was clearly expecting him to do that and his angle was correct to cover the inside.What amazes me is how wrong Dierdorf was in his assessment and how frequently the so-called "expert announcers' make similar mistakes. Dude, some one at CBS,NBC or Fox is gonna steal you away from us! 

metjetnet
metjetnet

(miketaliaferro) Landry is clearly a stopgap; not part of the future. Reed is gone after Miami, as should that bust Wilson be. I'm tired of his strutting & posing after his man falls down trying to reach another overthrown pass, as if Wilson himself had broken it up; and then he gets torched on the next play when the receiver CAN reach the pass. How many times have we seen Wilson trailing behind a receiver by 3+ yards up the middle of the field as the guy scores?

greggreen
greggreen

really nice to see improvement from milner. cant wait to see the guy after a full offseaon.

BDarc23
BDarc23

The team seems to have good talent in the secondary but I feel like the young player's growing pains and Cromartie's crappy play (possibly due to injury) have made it seem like an overhaul is required.  With the expected improvement from Milliner and Allen next year, can this secondary be "good"  if the Jets get a healthy Cromartie at a much reduced price?

dylan_f
dylan_f

I thought that Millner looked terrific outside of the screen pass (which was clearly on him and not Reed, I don't love Reed but he took the right angle). And while his defense on the screen was bad, it would be a non-issue of Harris got there, that's the bigger issue to me than Millner. I think his performance recently has been very encouraging, more good signs than bad. Cro looked decent too.

a57se
a57se

FWIW, Jonathan Banks leads the NFL with missed tackles in the passing game with 11. He was a second round pick of the Bucs....

a57se
a57se

Good call on the poor secondary tackling, that has been driving me nuts all frickin' year. Teams throw bubble screens and we can't defend them most of the time. Our secondary seems to go for the hit instead of wrapping guys up and they end up leaving their feet too early. MacDonald and Thurman have to do a better job coaching these guys or they should be shown the door.

jaym
jaym

Did Milliner have tackling issues when he was at Alabama? He looks horrible on almost any tackle he attempts to make, and to not be able to get off a block is embarrassing for a #9 pick

__fense
__fense

I like how you threw the word 'actually' into the sentence "I actually disagree with Dan Dierdorf’s analysis on the DeAngelo Williams long touchdown pass." As if Dierdorf said anything worthwhile the whole game.

juunit
juunit

Yeah, it is kind of dumb to criticize Reed on that play. I mean, he was the last line of defense, and if he made the play it would've already been at least a 30 yard gain. There was clearly something that went wrong before the play got to that point.

NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

@metjetnet c'mon man, wilson is not a bust, he's a very good slot corner.

Is it that every first round pick who is not a superstar is a bust?

juunit
juunit

@jaym 

He's actually a good tackler for a CB. Have you seen Cromartie try to tackle somebody? 

jaym
jaym

@juunit

REALLY? He does not look good to me, he wiffed on the Wallace play against the Dolphins when all he had to do was knock him out of bounds and there have been other misses too.

juunit
juunit

@jaym@juunit 

And he's got 43 tackles. So, if he's had 50 opportunities and missed 7, that's really not that bad for a CB, especially one who is a rookie. 

Sure, I'd love to see him miss zero, but it just doesn't happen with CBs. 

juunit
juunit

@jaym@juunit 

Like I said, he's good for a CB. Almost every CB is a terrible tackler. Revis is one of the best, and he still missed plenty of them in a season. Charles Woodson might be the best there is, and he misses plenty as well.

Against the Dolphins, they were targeting Cromartie's lack of physicality with a bunch of screens in his direction. They didn't do that in Milliner's direction because they know he's actually good for a CB.