BGA Extra: 49ers at Jets
Bent , theJetsBlog.com
This analysis is based on watching and re-watching TV footage. As such, it is not always possible to accurately determine everything that was going on. However, every effort has been made to ensure that the information below is as complete and correct as possible. For the purposes of BGA Extra (but not BGA, since that is too early in the week), I have also reviewed the coaches film, which was available for every play (whereas last year, it was only available for big plays). Statistics from PFF which are not available to subscribers were used in the completion of this article and we thank them for providing us with exclusive access to these.
Welcome to BGA Extra, where I draw a line under the previous weekend’s game by responding to your questions from BGA during the week. After the jump, I respond to your questions about Sunday’s game against the 49ers. If you would like your questions answered in future, remember to read my BGA game breakdowns every Monday and leave your question in the comments section.
Can you email the analysis to the front office? They need all the help they can get!
I’m not sure how it will help them to read an account of how badly virtually everyone played. If they don’t realize that already, there’s no hope for them.
jmac the man
It looked like Sanchez had enough time in the pocket to make plays if plays were there. In pass coverage, it looks like the line did OK. Is Sanchez not seeing open receivers, or are receivers not getting open?
The 49ers had so much faith in their pass rush to generate pressure with a four man rush, that they only blitzed seven times. This meant there were a lot of guys dropped into coverage, virtually all the time. The Jets dealt well with the initial four on five rush: Sanchez was only under pressure ten times, according to PFF’s numbers, but if you include plays where Sanchez kept hold of the ball and the protection actually broke down, that goes up to 17.
I see this as smart gameplanning by the 49ers. By manning up on the top targets and flooding the rest of the intermediate zone with defenders, it forced Sanchez to read the field and that may have been why he was a little gun shy in the pocket because there’s been so many plays recently where he saw his receiver get separation only for another defender to be lurking nearby ready to jump the route. So, yes, there were gaps that most quarterbacks in the league (or even Sanchez when he’s playing well) would be able to exploit, but Sanchez seems to be too unsure of himself in those situations and needs to get back to being decisive.
Were the receivers open though? I’d like to know what the tape shows on that. Did Sanchez have anyone to throw to?
With all the players dropping into coverage, there weren’t many obvious examples of wide open receivers, but the receivers were constantly getting half a step to the point where a perfect throw would have been completed. The Niners secondary are renowned for being able to stay with their man for a few seconds, but struggle to stay with them beyond that. This was shown on the play early on which Sanchez extended and then found Schilens for a first down, having flirted with crossing the line of scrimmage. Also, Santonio Holmes got some separation downfield on the play where Sanchez lost his sack (if you look in the background of the second image of this terrific analysis from PFF you can see him with two steps on his man heading for the pylon). By then, the protection had broken down, though.
Anyone have any idea what happened on the “Tebow timeout”? Where Tebow was in at QB looking at the sideline in the huddle. They called TO and Sanchez came in and they ended up punting. How could Tebow get sent in as QB and they don’t know what play they want to run? Did the 49ers put in a Tebow package or something?
I’m not sure, but I noticed that Tebow didn’t have a headset helmet on, so was looking for signals from the sideline. Maybe that was a mistake. I know Brad Smith used to have two separate helmets – one with a headset – which he would only be able to wear when Sanchez was out of the game.
You say the Jets are overcomplicating things with Tebow, but to me it looks like they are running the same two or three plays over and over again. Wouldn’t it be better for them to run some plays that actually could fool the defense instead of running him up the middle or faking a reverse every time?
My point is that they’re not going to fool the defense until they’ve run it up the gut a few times and established that the defense will need to stack the box or keep guys inside to prevent some easy yardage. They’ve done that five times – a 22 yard gain on one play and four other plays totalling 10 yards. That’s not enough. I’m also not a fan of the wildcat formation with the back running parallel to the line of scrimmage as the ball is snapped. I think defenses have figured that out and that a more straightforward read option would be a more effective staple from which they could then go to the wildcat or some other variations.
I’m not sure if you can stomach watching this game again, but when you get the coaches film, could you look at every incompletion and try to determine who is most at fault. I know sometimes it’s hard to tell, but it would go a long way towards determining whether the main problem is Sanchez or the receivers around him. Just try to see if the incompletion was the result of a poor throw, a poor route, a miscommunication, poor blocking, etc.
1. Miscommunication with Holmes. Timing was off
2. Conner drop. Would only have been a short gain with Willis all over him.
3. Holmes found a gap in the zone. Very inaccurate pass (high and wide) was broken up.
4. Turner drop. Unrelated penalty at the end of the play gave the Jets a first down.
5. Pass to Holmes coming back to the ball deflected over his head.
6. Interception on screen pass. Would have been a good gain, but Howard’s man beat him and tipped it.
7. Horrible throw to Cumberland down the seam who was not open. Dropped pick. (See PFF link above for breakdown).
8. Out pattern to Holmes, who got separation. Too early and well wide of the target.
9. Checkdown to Powell, hit as he threw. Short hopped the throw.
10. Overthrew Powell as he tried to get open across the field. Threw behind him on the same play last week.
11. Rolled out and threw deep to Holmes. Broken up. Some have suggested this was underthrown and that Holmes would have been open, but actually Goldson was in perfect position and played the ball the whole way.
12. Desperation throw underneath as he was knocked down in the pocket. Basically thrown at Powell’s feet.
13. Over the middle to Turner who wasn’t open and got nailed (again see PFF link above for breakdown).
14. Not even sure if this was intended for Turner or Cumberland but neither was open and it bounced nowhere near either of them.
15. Pressured again and his throw was deflected at the line.
16. Throw down seam to Turner who had inside position and half a step was too high.
I’d have to conclude that Sanchez’s accuracy and decision making is the biggest problem. Well, it was on Sunday.
Were you being sarcastic when you said the Jets have more talent then most NFL teams?
No…but you weren’t the only person to take issue with that statement, as we’ll see.
Where is all this talent you speak of? Can you list more then four teams the jets are currently more talented then? Why are they in shotgun formation on third and two in the first quarter and later in the 1st half it was 3rd and 1 and they were passing? I thought we were ground and pound looks like Schotty’s playbook to me, can we stop blaming him now?
A lot of the talent I was talking about is on the injured list or under-performing for various reasons. Mangold had a nightmare on Sunday, but that doesn’t stop him being talented (for example). However, when everyone plays bad on the same day, your talent level looks a lot worse than it is. As for four less talented teams, I have the pleasure of watching some pretty bad teams every week, so I’ll nominate the Browns, Jags, Raiders and Cheifs as the four worst in the AFC off the top of my head. Of course, you will now list out all the most talented players on those teams and tell me how much more talented than the Jets that makes them, but it’s all good fun.
The Jets haven’t been a good short yardage team over the last few seasons. It’s interesting that everyone go annoyed with the Jets never running the ball on 3rd and short over the last couple of years and now a guy that used to just give it to his fullback every time (with a 95% success rate) is passing with a struggling quarterback in those situations. That shows an alarming lack of faith in the personnel. Schottenheimer was never going to be successful with personnel that was ill-suited to his system and seems to be having much more success with the Rams. As I’d been saying for two years, while Schottenheimer was a problem, the issues on offense ran a lot deeper and wouldn’t magically be fixed once he left.
When the Jets called their second timeout of the first half, it was right before the 49ers snapped the ball. If I saw it correctly on my TV, the reason the Jets called TO is because a 49ers WR was completely uncovered on the left side. I mean completely. Closest defender was maybe a safety shaded just outside the LT. I would like confirmation on this, and if you can see who was to blame.
It’s difficult to say who was to blame because it wasn’t an official play so there is no coaches film, but the Jets got very lucky as Colin Kaepernick had snuck out to the sideline as if he was leaving the game and stayed out by the sideline. LaRon Landry was the nearest defender and didn’t seem to have noticed him at all when the play was blown dead.
Is the Superbowl out of the question?
No, but we can calculate the exact probability based on the Jets’ decision to IR Santonio Holmes but not Darrelle Revis. Rex Ryan didn’t IR Revis because of the “0.0002% chance” he could play in the Superbowl. However, it was reported that Holmes was 99% done for the season. So there was a 1% chance he could play in the Superbowl. This would mean there’s a 0.000002% chance or a 1 in 50,000,000 chance that both could play. So, if Rex is conceding that there’s NO chance of Holmes AND Revis being able to play in the Superbowl, then the chance of them both being in the Superbowl must have been less than 1 in 999,999,999 to be classed as infinite on a modern calculator. So, that would mean there’s a 5% chance of them reaching the Superbowl. Having said that, this obviously reduces if you take Holmes out of the equation.
Alternate answer: Yes.
I remember one play, I think in the 3rd quarter, in which they ran a draw, with Powell getting the ball. It looked like he had miles of space, but instead of cutting to his right, he cut to his left, directly in to the ONE defender who had a chance of stopping him. If he goes to his right, he gets at least 8 yards and probably a first down. If you could review that play I would love any confirmation.
You’ll like this:
Here’s where Powell takes the handoff. As you can see, the blocks are about to develop in front of him so he has a chance to make a read. The guys on the left are set to make kick out blocks to the outside and the guys on the right are tempted into rushing off the edge so that the draw play is effective. There’s clearly a lane right up the middle. As I mentioned in BGA, this is the same play where Powell made a nice run in overtime in Miami, but going over the left side. In order for that lane to open up the Jets would need Mangold to make a difficult reach block on the formidable Navarro Bowman, to get to his right shoulder and turn him back to the inside. It would also require Cumberland to make his block at the second level. So, let’s see how it played out as Powell hit the hole.
As you can see, this was the moment where Powell committed to going left by making a hard step in that direction. However, if he looked up, he should have been able to see that Mangold and Cumberland didn’t have outside leverage. However, they each had inside leverage. Look at the lane to the right if Powell had made a cutback at this moment or after taking one step to the left. Mangold ending up driving Bowman to the left and into Powell’s path, whereas if Powell had cut back to the right, that would have taken him completely out of the play. While the play design obviously relies on Mangold making that reach block, there should also be a secondary read whereby if he doesn’t get that leverage, then there should be an open lane to the right instead. Mangold’s initial step before making the reach block was to the right, as if he was going to help out the right side of the line in pass protection. That tells me it’s probably a crucial step to try and sell the pass action before the ball is handed off. However, it also makes the block that much more difficult, especially if the linebacker is not fooled. Bowman made a hop-step to his right, perhaps reading the play and ensuring Mangold didn’t have the angle to get the leverage on him. Clearly, Powell missed a chance to cut back to the right, but what about once he went left?
What happened was that Powell started off to the outside, perhaps read the fact that Kerley had enabled his man to get outside leverage and more upfield and cut back directly into where Bowman (and Patrick Willis, who had sidestepped Jeff Cumberland’s block at the second level) were able to stuff him for a short gain. However, had Powell continued to the outside, Chaz Schilens had his man blocked and it looked like he would have been able to turn the corner for a good 8-10 yards. Even if he didn’t turn the corner, he’d have been one on one with Carlos Rogers and should have been able to fall forward to at least get a couple more yards than the one and a half he ended up with.
Describing the Jets as having more talent then most teams in the NFL seems a little hopeful to say the least. Where is all the talent you are referring to? I see a team with no explosive offensive weapons, a bad QB, and a Defense that can’t stop the run or rush the passer.
Yes, by saying they had a lot of talent, I was talking more about the number of talented players on the team than the overall talent and I appreciate that they have guys that have been disappointing at some key spots. When you consider just how important the QB position is in terms of what it means for every other offensive player then maybe I was underestimating the importance of that spot in particular. Even when Sanchez has played well in the past, it’s been clear he was not the finished article and now he’s slumping again.
Ironically, there are several players on this team that I think a lot of Jets fans overrate: Landry, Howard, Moore and Harris spring to mind. Not that they are all bad players, but they are often considered to be better than they are by Jets fans. However, even despite this, I still think the team has talent. We’ll revisit this again in a bit.
How is it possible to throw a interception on a screen pass? Sanchez could use a real QB coach.
It’s difficult to defend anything from Sanchez’s performance on Sunday, but if Howard didn’t get badly beaten on that play, it likely would have gone for a big gain. As for the QB coach, how do we know he’s part of the problem? Sanchez might have been even worse if not for his input. Doesn’t seem likely, but what happens if they replace the QB coach with someone considered to be a proven QB coach and nothing changes…or Sanchez gets even worse? Food for thought.
You said you think the Jets have more talent than most of the league (or something to that effect). I don’t see that at all. Can you comment on my assessments (this assumes Revis and Holmes out although we don’t know how long the latter will be missing) QB: Not in the top half. RB: Near the bottom. WR: Average to slightly below. Hill has potential, not down on him, but he’s not there. Kerley’s pretty good as a slot/3rd guy. The rest? Not much. TE: I guess above average with Keller there. OL: As a group, middling. DL: Middling. LB: Below average. DB: I’ll go above average but maybe I’m kidding myself. Specials: Average to slightly above. Where am I off? And, if I’m not off, doesn’t it seem that the Jets talent level is below average?
Well, the first thing I’d note is that if you remove Revis and Holmes, the talent on the team does take a big hit, if I’m going to have to take them out of the equation then I’ll acknowledge that will bump them down the list because it’s two of their most talented players. However, in terms of your assessments, I would make the following comments: QB – I’d probably go lower than that. My point is that having a bad QB makes players that have talent less effective. RB – I think Greene is talented, just a poor fit for this system. WR – Again, I think some of these guys have talent, but haven’t been as effective as they might be because of the quarterback’s slow development. OL – Yes, they aren’t doing well as a group, but individually there are talented players there. Again, this underlines what I was saying about how badly the team is playing, but I believe they have talent. If they’re being ineffective, it’s not because they don’t have talent, it’s because they’re being used wrongly, let down by teammates or are struggling uncharacteristically for some reason. DL – I still think they have great talent on the defensive line. Are they playing well? No. But they can stop the run, as they showed in week two. I think Po’uha’s back is still a big factor here and Ellis doesn’t have the conditioning to take on more reps. LB – they definitely seem to be aging all at once, but maybe the defensive line play has been a factor. Harris is definitely a guy who is very good when those around him play well, but his limitations are exposed when he is forced to take on blocks or chase plays down in space. DB – Even with Revis out, this unit has a lot of talent and has played well most of the year.
I can see why people would take umbrage at what I said because it makes no sense for a roster filled with talented players to be playing so poorly. I guess what I’m saying is that talented players don’t generally all lose it overnight, so the reason for their poor play (which I’m not denying) is something else. Coaching? Injuries? Lack of motivation? Poor chemistry? Whatever it is, probably a combination of all of these combined with me overrating some of the talent which may indeed have fallen off overnight, hopefully some of that is fixable and the team can get back on the right track.
In baseball, there are a lot of statistical analyses that look at the contribution of the individual to the team success (in terms of runs scored/allowed or wins above replacement) and players generally follow a trajectory with catchers (the most physically demanding position) having the steepest fall off of any position after age 32 … It would seem much harder, but Is there anything similar in football? Or any rules of thumb of performance fall off due to age (by position)? Considering Pace, Scott, Thomas and Pouha are all 32+, the defense could just be hitting an inflection point. What looks like a team quitting could just be an inability to execute (shed blocks, chase down players, wrap up tackles). I hope this isn’t the case, but have you read anything statistical about age vs performance or do you have any thoughts?
This builds nicely on what I was just saying about the Jets apparently dwindling talent base. I haven’t seen a specific study, but it’s not like there are no good players aged over 32 in the NFL. Peppers, Justin Smith, Urlacher, Abraham, Lewis are examples of front seven players that continue to be productive at or beyond that age. Po’uha didn’t play regularly until 2008, so he shouldn’t be as worn down as anyone else his age would be. Scott had a few years on the bench too, although I can see how his style of play could wear him down (although actually he looks fresher than last year). Hopefully there are other reasons for their recent downturn in form, which would mean they have more to offer.
Could you break down the defensive stats before Sanchez’ fumble and after? What I am looking for is not so much numbers but who might have played worse or better after the fumble…
Of 379 total yards and 245 rushing yards, 225 and 129 came after the fumble. Obviously as the game slipped away, they became more tired and demoralized, but they did still give up 116 rushing yards before that, even if much of it was on gadget plays, so it’s not like the defense was playing well until he fumbled. As I already noted, Ellis played worse in the second half and Po’uha actually was better after halftime. Everyone else was consistently bad or average.
Brendan and I both speculated that we thought the Jets might play a lot of 46 fronts against the 49′ers. I don’t recall seeing them use it much, if at all yesterday. If they did, how much success if any, did they have with it and what was the personnel group they used?
They didn’t use the conventional 46 with a safety in the box and two OLBs outside the left tackle’s shoulder, but they used plenty of the hybrid front which is a variation on that. San Francisco runs a lot of bunch formations and multiple receiver sets that force you to match up and make it difficult to align yourselves in a classic 46 look, so perhaps that was a factor.
Who were the CB’s on the 85 Bears?
Mike Richardson and Leslie Frazier.
Oh, sorry, I now see that you were making a point about how the 46 defense can be effective without big name cornerbacks.
Doesn’t Cumberland seem to be a step or two behind everything thats happening around him?
Didn’t really see too many bad plays or examples of hesitation from him, but I’ll keep an eye out next week. He had one or two nice moments, but really hasn’t emerged yet with Keller out.
Can you comment on why Kerley looked so scared and hesitant to catch any punts within the 10? I get that he was hoping they would go in the endzone for a touchback, but I think he did it three times!
I don’t really know, other than perhaps he still has the yips following his fumble in Pittsburgh.
I dont understand how basically the whole team can play bad collectively. It leads me to believe it’s all in the preparation and that falls on the coaches’ shoulders. I understand the secondary should have suffered after losing Revis but why can’t they stop the run? I didn’t expect they would beat San Fran but it didnt have to be an embarrassment. Monday night against Houston does not seem like a game they will get it together for either. So what do they do if Sanchez refuses to protect the football? They can’t continue to start him if he plays that horribly again. So who is to blame for the run defense? How much blitzing did they do and did it work?
Your first point is kind of where I was coming from when I made my controversial comments about the talent on the team. They CAN stop the run, as they showed in Pittsburgh. Hopefully this will be fixed. The 49ers, like Miami, did a good job on the offensive line and they missed too many tackles with the chief culprit being David Harris. Smith was 4-for-10 with one sack when blitzed. The Jets sent an average of 4.3 rushers per dropback, a pretty low number compared with some of Rex Ryan’s more aggressive games.
Why is tackling a problem with a defensive head coached team?
Jason (from NYJetsCap) has an interesting theory on this. He thinks the Jets’ tackling is suffering due to the reduction in full contact practices.
Simply Simon (via E-mail)
Is Sanchez’s lower back injury affecting his play?
Maybe…but we seem to be having this conversation every year. If he’s going to be constantly hurt, then I get fed up of using that as an excuse for him, because what good is it if he can only play well when he’s healthy…but then never is?
What is the story with the Jets being 31st in the NFL against the run? I though Pouha, Harris, Devito etc could tackle? What is up with this?
They can tackle…they just didn’t on Sunday. Harris had five missed tackles and DeVito had a bad one on the Manningham run. Po’uha had one too, but it was not that costly. The Jets can stop the run, as they proved with a disciplined display in Pittsburgh. Hopefully this can be fixed.
Slauson and Vlad went to a 65/35 split last week (I believe they were 80/20 the week prior). Vlad actually played solidly against a defense that was destroying the offense. Do you think Vlad creeps up to almost an even split this week?
I don’t know. Maybe they’ll ramp that up, or maybe they’ll continue to do it slowly. Ducasse actually got the best overall grade on the offense this week on PFF in just 20 snaps, which is a sign of how poor the execution was by everyone else. Slauson was poor and if he has another game like that then sitting him for Ducasse might be wise.
Did anyone play well (receive a positive grade or continued to play hard after the game was really over)?
Cromartie was excellent. However, given his tendency to be inconsistent, I hope this is a sign of things to come and not just a case of him wasting one of his better performances on a game they had no chance of winning.
Did the Jets run any screen plays that essentially work like a running play or put Sanchez in a position to make an easy completion (even though his accuracy was awful)?
The first play of the game was a quick toss to Holmes on the outside for a nice gain. However, the defensive end was ready for it and got a hand up in the lane so that was a very dangerous pass that easily could have been tipped and intercepted. Later on, they tried the screen to Greene which was a good call, at the right time and Howard blew his assignment forcing Sanchez to throw off his backfoot and it was tipped and intercepted.
Okay, guys, that’s it for another week. Let us never speak of this again. I’ll be back to do the usual in respect of the Texans game on Tuesday. Hey, maybe the Jets will win! Wouldn’t that be something?