BGA: Defensive Line – Yah Mo Be There

After last week’s game, where Muhammad Wilkerson had probably his quietest game of the season and the Raiders were able to neutralize him by running away from him and hitting him with double teams, it was important for him to make more of an impact this week to demonstrate that you can’t take him out of the game and prove that he isn’t wearing down late in the season.

Wilkerson served early notice that you can’t keep a good man down with a spectacular play on the first series. Finding his path into the backfield blocked by tight end Greg Olsen, Wilkerson just lowered the boom, shoulder-barging Olsen over and then engulfing Cam Newton for a three yard loss as he tried to run up the middle.

Wilkerson ended up with a modest six tackles and got into the backfield to pressure Newton twice, although he tripped on one of these plays. However, he did blow up a handful of runs, including a couple near the goal line, and also displayed impressive lateral pursuit to chase two plays out to the sideline.

Wilkerson has gone three games without a sack and the run defense has given up a lot of yardage over the last two weeks, dropping them to third in the league, but it was good to see him getting back to making impact plays and the fact he’s down in 6th place in Pro Bowl voting remains one of the biggest farces in recent memory.

At nose tackle, Damon Harrison did his usual solid job. He was in on four tackles, all on running plays stopped for four yards or less, and blew up another run by getting good penetration near the goal line. He also got some good pressure to hit Newton’s arm as he threw and force an incompletion and was only caught inside twice on runs.

Backing him up – and often working with him in tandem – Kenrick Ellis had a season high snap count and, although he wasn’t credited with any tackles, he got some good penetration on two plays, stood up his man twice, drew a holding penalty and chased Newton out of the pocket once. He was driven off the line by a double team on one play though.

Rookie Sheldon “The Blast Chiller” Richardson seemed to get the better of fellow defensive rookie of the year candidate Star Lotulelei, further enhancing his credentials. Loutlelei only had two tackles, but did get some impressive penetration. However, Richardson had twice as many tackles and, in the first half, was as disruptive as he’s been all season as a pass rusher. He beat his man a handful of times to pressure Newton in that first half, leading to a sack and an attempted 3rd down scramble where Richardson himself spectacularly brought Newton down from behind. He also blew up a run with penetration. Aside from his offensive exploits, Richardson had a quiet second half, but he did a good job of showcasing his versatility.

Finally, Leger Douzable continues to make contributions off the bench. He broke into the backfield and almost sacked Newton, drawing a hold. Douzable did get forced inside on one run.


Next up…some disappointing signs from the linebacking corps.




10 comments
Brett
Brett

Man our Defensive line keeps dominating week after week. Hope we can keep this unit together next year and for a long time.

dylan_f
dylan_f

Ellis has looked great this year. The fact that he's a backup is scary. I'll be very interested to see if the Jets look to move one of them or lock one of them up long term this offseason, with both expiring next year. Obviously that partly depends on whether they stay in a 3-4.

__fense
__fense

I don't understand how sacks work. If Wilkerson tackled Cam Newton three yards behind the line of scrimmage, isn't that a sack? Does he just get counted as a running back if he's not actively trying the throw it?

a57se
a57se

The D'line did their job as usual. I really wish Rex would just unleash these guys and play cover two in the back end. The D'line is the strength of this team.

Brett
Brett

@dylan_f Ellis is a beast. Love to see his growth. We have a wealthy of Nose Tackles, for once, since the Pouha/Jenkins years

djf1
djf1

@__fense I had the same question. I guess when you don't even pretend to pass, you're a runner.

djf1
djf1

@a57se I wonder if Bent can compare effectiveness of plays when jets played a cover 2 vs less safety help.

Bent
Bent

@djf1 @__fense It's a designed run.  The blockers were run blocking.


A running back can be sacked if he tries to throw an option pass.

Bent
Bent

@djf1 


It's pretty obvious - I've never had an issue when charting games.  If the guy looks to pass and then decides to run, that's a passing play but if he just hesitates briefly or gives a token pump and then take off, you can easily identify whether it was designed as a pass or not.  Similarly if he rolls out and sprints for the line of scrimmage that's a run, but if he rolls out and is looking down the field as he does so, that's a pass. 


I suppose there could be a gray area and it really is a judgment call, but it's never really been an issue, because designed runs are easily identifiable.

djf1
djf1

@Bent@djf1@__fense but how is a designed run identified - is it ultimately a judgement call? 

what if you pass block at first as a fake?