BGA Extra: Bills at Jets

Bent ,

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. This column will hopefully run a lot earlier in the week for the rest of the season, but it’s been a bit of a crazy week for me, so apologies for that. After the jump, I respond to your questions about Sunday’s big win over the Bills. 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.

Miami Jet Fan

I probably have a million questions, but one that stands out more than the others. Its a concern I have going into the season. It pertains to the running game. It seems like we never got any consistent push when we ran. Greene and the rest of the RB’s never seemed to get clear lanes. Certainly no Ground and Pound…I would have thought with the way the O was moving the ball in the air would have loosened up the DL but it seems like our running game was slow and blocked the whole game. Was the OL to blame, RB’s, Buffalo’s front 7? With Pitt, SF and Houston around the corner, we need to run the ball better. The only other question was the terrible run defense that we displayed in the second half. Our LB’s are sssslllllloooowwww!

That wasn’t really a question about the run defense, but they took some time to adjust when Bryan Thomas went down last year. However, they DID eventually make that adjustment, so hopefully that will happen here. For what it’s worth, I didn’t see a lack of speed from the outside backers as being the reason behind any of the long runs the Bills had.

For your first question, the major statistic to note here is that 89 of the 118 yards gained by the Jets on the ground were AFTER contact. That means the Jets averaged less than one yard per carry before first contact, which is exactly how they started last season. They need to improve on that and, if they do, then the rushing average will increase accordingly. This is not only because the first contact be further downfield on average, but also the runner will be able to build up more momentum as he hits the hole. That proved to be the case last season and the Bills do have a formidable front four, so perhaps that was a factor.


Does anyone think if Pouha wasnt hurt Spiller goes for 169 yds?



Do you think part of Sanchez’s apparent comfortableness (is that a word?), really good play, and decisiveness could be because of Sparano’s system/philosophy? Shotty’s system seemed to be very confusing for a lot of players, and seemed to leave a lot to chance. If everybody from the line to the WRs to the QB are on the same page, it would seem that they would be much more effective. Just curious if I’m reading into too much of the OC change…(I know it’s one game, but it really was almost night and day from even their best game last year)

Surprisingly, comfortableness IS a word. However, its usage is rare and it’s more common to simply use “comfort” as a noun.

Anyway…I was going to say that it was perhaps too soon to say that Sparano’s system has had a positive effect on Sanchez and his comfort level, especially since he has performed like this in the past, especially in September. He often gets off to these poised starts but then starts to struggle as the season goes on. However, thinking more deeply about this, I wonder if the times that Sanchez started to struggle coincided with those times when Schottenheimer put too much on his plate. The Jets have often opened the season and then started adding different elements as they go along, whether that be responsibilities in changing a play or different blocking schemes. So, perhaps Schottenheimer tinkered too much with his offense and it had a detrimental effect. Sparano would be well advised to plot a steady course.


Are there any stats on the decision making of Sanchez’s passes? As in the secs to go through progressions or sacks. I would like to know what the average time for bills game was v/s last year or the last 3 yrs. I know its a small sample but still would be nice to see.

Nobody out there currently tracks time in the pocket and it’s difficult to do this accurately. It can also be flawed, because if you throw a lot of quick passes, that could be because you were forced to do so, or it could just be a product of your gameplan. What I discovered when I did a few studies on this last year was that Sanchez never had any time in the pocket against the Ravens (constantly 1.5 seconds or less before he either threw or was pressured), but against the Pats, he has more than three seconds to throw about as often as Tom Brady did. Brady just did more on those plays than Sanchez did on his.

In this game, the longest the pass protection had to hold up was on the flea-flicker to Steven Hill. Jason Smith and Konrad Reuland (who motioned over into a fullback position on the left side) both stayed in to block and they just about held up long enough (about four seconds) for Sanchez to get the throw off. Reuland was driven back into Sanchez as the pass was released. That shows how the Jets can still throw downfield even if they lack confidence in their offensive line to stay in front of their man one on one.

Jimmy Lambropoulos

Stephen Hill was touted as a good run blocker coming out of college, did you get to see any of that on display on Sunday?

Not really – the Jets only ran outside five times for 17 yards and Hill was never called upon to make a key block. I didn’t see too much evidence of it in preseason either, although the effort seemed to be there.


PLEASE watch the sequence before the half where we spiked the ball on 2nd and 3, then took a delay of game penalty on 3rd and 3 because sanchez was on the sidelines!! Did the clock start too quick?? Ended up 3rd and 8 and after an incompletion a 34 yard fg ended up a 39 yarder, which thankfully we made.

That was certainly weird. It’s almost as if they decided to spike the ball and then take the delay of game so they could discuss the play. If you look at the footage assuming it was deliberate then you see Sanchez telling someone in the huddle not to worry, as if they decided it’s third down and they’re in field goal range, so the five yards was less important than the extra time to regroup. However, if you assume it was just a mental error, then you see Sparano pointing Sanchez towards the huddle with about 10 on the play clock, moments after they had just been laughing it up on the sideline and then Sanchez goes about halfway before deciding not to bother while a few people in the background are reacting like they can’t believe what they’re seeing. Maybe Sparano was just directing Sanchez to tell someone on the field that they were taking the penalty on purpose.

I’m afraid it’s completely inconclusive. If you asked the Jets, they’d probably say it was deliberate, but even then I’m not sure I’d believe that.


Do you think we could see Bilal Powell start to take carries away from Greene? I like Greene, but I think Powell is more explosive.

Powell looks like a different player this year, for sure. He’ll get a lot of reps on third downs, but often in passing situations. Will he take carries away from Greene? We’ll have to wait and see, but if Greene fumbles again this week, then it will almost certainly happen.


It seemed like the Jets were running left a lot. Do you think that shows a lack in confidence in Slauson to pull? Or, do you think they were running away from Mario? Or, (more likely) I’m wrong and they ran to the left as much as they usually do.

I don’t think they lack confidence in Slauson to pull, because he does so more than anyone else and more often than he ever did under the Callahan scheme. In any case, in Sparano’s offense, the guards pull (or fold) to the outside almost as often as they pull across to the opposite side. So, the numbers themselves may not tell us too much about this. However, for what it’s worth they actually ran to the right more and had more success doing so. 20-81 going right and 16-37 going left. A 16:20 split is less than last year though, so you were right that they ran left more than they often would.

madbacker #57

Buffalo’s Oline is known for having weak Tackles and being Decent to Good at guard and center. Any chance you could break down how they were able to keep pressure off the edges? Also did Maybin or Davis play much, I vaguely if ever saw them on the field.

Their line always operates the same way: They block as a unit, move the pocket and throw a TON of quick passes to prevent pressure from having a chance to get there and frustrate would-be pass rushers. Toss in the fact that Fitzpatrick moves so well (and is smart) and it’s not easy to get a lot of pressure, despite the fact I don’t rate any of their individual linemen that highly. This game was no different. The biggest factor is the quick passes.

Revis Christ

From what anyone could tell did Super Mario look like he was in his prime form? Or were there obvious signs of rust from not playing last year?

It’s hard to say. He blew by Howard once and hammered Sanchez as hard as he was ever hit last year. On that play, he looked like his old self, but otherwise got handled pretty tidily. However, as frustrated as he obviously was, Howard never truly dominated him in the running game or anything. It will be interesting to see how Williams fares this week and how long he can stay healthy.


Don’t you think Coples was being held on that Spiller td? I know there’s holds on a lot of plays but that hold help create that huge initial hole.

Yes, there was a possible hold on Coples there. However, I still think the biggest problem with that run (apart from the obvious Scott/Landry missed tackle downfield) was that Marcus Dixon was driven eight yards off the line by a double team, which created a huge hole and when David Harris filled that hole, Spiller cut to the outside, leaving Harris caught inside. With Sione Pouha in the game, that doesn’t happen.


Did anyone catch Mark Sanchez run over to Tony Sparano and even removed Sparano’s headset after noticing he wasn’t being heard? I wonder how that conversation went. I believe it was after Tebow was sent in around the end of the 1st quarter after he started to get hot.

That was actually with three minutes left in the second quarter and when he returned he threw behind Kerley as he came up short of the marker. I have no idea how the conversation went, but neither of them looked too heated. I assume Sparano said “Kerley should be open in the flat – don’t whatever you do throw it behind him.”


What did you see from Cordy Glenn out there? I know the BGA is about the Jets, but I’m curious as I’m sure others might be…

He graded out pretty well, but remember that I am skeptical of the Bills line because I believe their scheme makes it a lot easier for their linemen to avoid mistakes. (I like to believe my skepticism was semi-proven when the Eagles gave Demetress Bell a $36m contract to replace the injured Jason Peters and he couldn’t even beat out role-player King Dunlap for the starting left tackle job). Perhaps his best run block of the day was the above-mentioned play where Coples was arguably held. The one pressure he gave up was a bad one as he was beaten on the outside by Coples, on the play where he roughed the passer. That play makes me think he might struggle when isolated one on one with speed rushers, but on the whole, Bills fans should be encouraged.

Lord Harry Latts

I was watching the game with a bunch of non-jets fans….and after a few plays by Cumberland and Hill….they said “when the hell did you get all of these guys?”

This is my weekly “not really a question and I don’t have anything to add, but I enjoyed it anyway so thought I’d highlight it here” comment.


Who do you think will take over the slot if Revis is out? Lankster or Trufant?

Now that we know Revis is out, I’d say that Lankster is definitely going to be the number three. Trufant started off getting dimeback reps ahead of Lankster last week, but I reasoned that this was due to Lankster having missed some time in preseason. Now Trufant is apparently questionable, but I think Lankster was already ahead of him. It was telling that when Revis got hurt, Lankster was the one to replace him (albeit that the game was over at that point).

However…being the number three doesn’t necessarily mean that Lankster would be the slot receiver. Maybe the Jets will use Wilson in the slot in his customary role for their nickel package and put Lankster on the outside. Alternatively, we could see the “big nickel” package – with Landry and/or Bell covering in the slot and Lankster, Josh Bush or Eric Smith as the deep safety. Knowing the Jets, they’ll mix things up on defense and they’ll probably play a lot of zone too, thereby rendering where everyone lines up less crucial.


Fortunately, one big difference between 2008 Jets and 2012 Jets is that Rex Ryan wipes his [backside] with Mangini’s defense. I believe our defense did get loose late in the game, a big reason why Buffalo continued to run the ball was because there was softer coverage (is that true)?

Definitely true. In the whole game, Landry and Bell lined up as an extra safety in the box less than 10 times each, so they were backed right off. The Jets tried to keep everything in front of them, especially after Revis went down. You saw how far off Stevie Johnson the safeties were on his touchdown.

Kevin T

Do you think Cumberland could be a nice weapon going forward? Seems like he usually is open.

Much like Jeremy Kerley, I think Cumberland’s injury in preseason made us forget about the promise he had shown last year. He’s still unproven, but I do think he has the ability to be a productive pass catcher. I still don’t rate him very highly as a blocker, although I think he’s probably better than Keller (and certainly better than Keller was a couple of years ago). Having said that, the Jets seem to be asking more of Cumberland as a blocker than they are from Keller, so if he has struggles as a blocker he might seem like more of a liability than Keller. What we haven’t seen a lot of is Cumberland as the only tight end on the field, so that’s one thing he’ll have to show he can do this week.


Do you feel Bart Scott is improved from last year or are you concerned? He sure looked slow to me. I’m pretty worried about our LBs covering good tight ends. Who do you think will cover Heath Miller Sunday?

I wouldn’t say he looked slow. He was absolutely fine in coverage, got pressure once as a pass rusher and exploded into the backfield to stuff a run in the fourth quarter. It was a bad game because he missed a series of tackles, although only one of those was particularly costly. If he made two of those tackles, it would have been a good performance overall. I’m not worried about missed tackles from him, because he didn’t have any in preseason and I’m not worried that he’s too slow, because he looks to be in better condition than last year (where he played well against the run).

The only concern I do have (other than the concern you would have for anyone of that age in terms of durability) is that he didn’t play as disciplined as he usually does in that game and I hope he corrects that. (Maybe it was something to do with being fired up by being in the lead and prepared to take risks due to that lead). It’s interesting that LaRon Landry made just as many mistakes as he did (more, actually) and yet Jets fans were praising his impact performance. Landry did balance out those mistakes with a couple of impact plays and brought a swagger to the defense that was sorely lacking last year – I just wonder if Bart got a little too caught up in that.

I’d expect Scott to bounce back with a better performance this week, but if he doesn’t then perhaps we can start to be concerned.

As for who will cover Miller, the Jets used Bart and the safeties to cover him in 2010 but they were basically always in quarters zone coverage at that stage of the season. I’d imagine they’ll mix it up.


I have no idea what Fitz was thinking when he threw that Cro pick-6…that one was really really bad. If Sanchez threw that he would’ve been killed on the sidelines.

This play just summed up how the Bills were outcoached, although if Fitzpatrick had made a better read, perhaps the trap coverage wouldn’t have worked. With the Bills constantly making the quick throws to mitigate pressure, the Jets anticipated that Fitzpatrick would throw a quick pass to the flat if Wilson gave his man too much cushion in the slot. So, Cromartie initially backpedalled like he was going to cover his man running a route down the sideline, then broke on the ball (which he obviously picked off and returned for a score). Fitzpatrick obviously read that Wilson was too far off and made that throw, but if he had instead read the fact that Cromartie was going to break on the ball, he could instead have thrown to Cromartie’s man down the sideline. The Jets obviously rotated their secondary, so it was Laron Landry who ran across to cut off the receiver’s route down the left sideline, but he was a beat late and there was definitely a window of opportunity to sneak the pass in there before Landry got over.


Was it Coples who got handled by the LT on one of Spiller’s big runs (his first I think)? He got pushed to the side and created a big hole along the line for Spiller. Though, he was blatantly held, which prevented him from getting back into the hole and making the tackle. Pretty sure it was Coples, but I couldn’t read numbers too well.

Yes, as touched on above, that was what happened to Coples on the touchdown run.


I read that Ellis was pulled down on Spiller’s long run – did you see that in your BGA?

Yes…although I’m not sure it was illegal. Ellis fought off a double team and had inside leverage at the point of attack, but Eric Wood recovered to drive him over from the side at the last moment as Spiller cut to avoid the contact. Again, the bigger issue here was that Dixon was driven off the line creating a big cutback lane and there was poor tackling downfield from the likes of Bell, Harris and Landry.

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back on Monday with BGA from the Steelers game. Have a good weekend!