BGA Extra: Bills at Jets

Welcome to BGA Extra, where I draw a line under the previous weekend’s game by responding to your questions from Bent’s Game Analysis during the week. After the jump, I respond to your questions about the 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.

Around the time Vlad got two flags we ran the ball to the left side and I think on that run Bilal got 20 something yards but there was a brutal block at the line of scrimmage, I mean brutal. I thought it was Vlad during the game but they barely showed any replays during the broadcast, would you be able to identify this player and create a GIF?

I think you must be referring to Ducasse, who pulled to the outside and clattered into Manny Lawson coming off the edge. However, it’s not really worthy of a GIF, because the best part of it was the sound.

Was lack of TE productivity due to extra blocking duties? Hard to tell live. I would expect that TE had more responsibilty given the relative lack of pressure on Geno.

Well, Kellen Winslow made comments yesterday about how they were chipping Mario Williams to slow him down. Also, Rex made comments about how the tight ends were drawing defensive attention over the middle, which is why the Jets had one-on-one matchups on the outside. I think teams will continue to do this, to try and force Geno to beat them downfield, until he proves he can and forces them to pick their poison (phrase of the week).

It seemed like we ran on 1st down non-stop. What are the stats on 1st down calls & effectiveness? I always thought 1st down generally was the best passing down (next to 3rd & short).

They passed five times on first and 10 and had one play blown dead because of a defensive offsides. Geno had a seven yard completion, an incompletion and an interception, plus two plays negated by offensive penalties. When running on first and 10, the Jets had three plays negated by penalties. On the plays that counted, they gained 94 yards on 23 carries.

Rich Gannon commented on how the Jets ran quite a bit hurry up offense against the Bills. I don’t remember a lot of hurry up with Sanchez as the QB. Maybe in 2 minute situations, but not otherwise. Does this mean that Geno is maturing quickly? Do you have any stats on Jets running hurry up under Sanchez?

I don’t have any specific stats, but my abiding memory is the Jets coming out against the Patriots in 2010 and opening up in the no-huddle. They trailed 3-0 after holding the Pats to a field goal and then drove down inside the 40 with the no-huddle, but the drive stalled and they were forced to settle for a long field goal. The field goal missed and things went downhill from there…eventually culminating in a 45-3 Jets loss.

After that experience, I can understand why they didn’t return to that, even though it was actually going pretty well and wasn’t the reason for their failure that day. The Jets had a similar experience when they came out in the spread against Oakland in 2008 and marched down the field for a field goal, but then never returned to it and lost in overtime. I wonder if Mornhinweg will return to ideas that didn’t work first time, or will he be like Brian Schottenheimer and only try these things once, no matter why they failed. In the past, I’ve compared this to Wile E. Coyote.

Mornhinweg is certainly showing faith in Smith by getting him to do this and he has responded well…so far.

Noticed with 6:30 min left in the game, with the Jets trying to convert a 3rd and 5, that the Bills DB (Rogers?) was playing very soft on Holmes. Seemed to me that if Geno saw this and simply led Tone with a 2 yard pass that his momentum would’ve likely got him a first down, if not more. What does the coaches file show?

That seems to be true – more to the point, Holmes ran downfield and then stopped his route well beyond the marker as Rogers continued to backpedal and would have easily been open for a back shoulder throw. However, it’s pretty clear Holmes was not a primary option on that play as Smith never looked to his right and had to get rid of the ball over the middle as the Bills sent seven and collapsed the pocket. Maybe Smith should have recognized the blitz and spied Rogers backing off just before the snap. Hopefully that sort of thing will come in time.

What do you think are Geno Smith’s best attributes as a QB through the first 3 games?

It’s too early to say. I was impressed with his decisiveness, poise and running ability in the first game, but all of these things deserted him at times in the second game.

By the same token, I thought his downfield accuracy and holding the ball too long were major negatives over the first two games, but he did better in both disciplines this week.

I’ll be looking for consistent development. What I don’t want to see is him making the same mistakes over and over again or regressing in areas where he showed short term improvements.

Thoughts on how/whether we can improve the return game? Would Jeremy Ross be an upgrade?

Ross doesn’t have a ton of experience and, as disappointing as they’ve been, the one thing the Jets returners haven’t been guilty of is fumbling. I think Goodson will be the kick returner when he returns. Hopefully he’ll do a good job. The team has used Ellis Lankster there in practice too, so he might be another option. It would be a shame to dump or deactivate a potential contributor just to bring aboard a specialist, but I can see the value in doing so.

Chris Regnier
Is it common to accept holding call at end of game rather then force 4th down at end of game?

No, not really, although I do recall Rex doing the same thing at least once or twice in the past. You’d think that being one play away from a turnover would be more valuable than the yards, but the offense would still need a first down to ice the game and I think Rex has more faith in his defense forcing a turnover by making the other team throw downfield twice than relying on the offense to convert. It did use up five seconds, I guess.

Matt M
What do you think of the Jets going into hurry-up for the whole game?

It’s an interesting idea, but I think the team would need to have a lot more confidence in their offense to make that kind of move.

In terms of reviewing the game, it would make the offensive analysis more time consuming due to the increased volume of plays, but it can actually make charting the game easier, because the offensive personnel will be identical on consecutive plays a lot more often.

Can you comment on the Geno v. EJ aspect. I believe we got the better QB in the draft, at a much better value, but what are your thoughts coming out of this game?

Obviously it’s too soon to call this one too, but I was pleased with Smith’s performance for the most part. The offense did kind of grind to a halt in the second half at times (Smith completed just six passes), but I give credit to the offensive staff for dialing up some big plays. Six of the ten biggest plays were in the second half.

I commented on Smith’s strengths and weaknesses above. As for Manuel, his performance was kind of underwhelming because they didn’t take too many chances and nearly all the big plays they had in the passing game saw a receiver wide open due to some kind of coverage breakdown. Clearly he was under pressure a lot, but perhaps the most impressive thing he did was some of his running, which could be a good weapon.

How much did the long passes to Hill in the first half contribute to the performance of the running game in the second half? What happened to Hill in the second half? Did the Bills change their defense to make sure he didn’t get open?

I’m sure that played a part, but they didn’t have an extra man in the box any more often in the second half (which I expected would be the case) and while he drew extra defensive attention from the safeties on some of the plays in the second half, this was not always the case. If you re-watch the Holmes touchdown, for example, you’ll see him burning the defender on the opposite side in one-on-one coverage.

If you’re wondering if he simply played a lot less, Hill actually played 76 snaps – a career high.

I saw Santonio trying to fire up the crowd, however I do not recall hearing the J E T S cheer. Did I miss it or has it been shelved?

They do still apparently do it, with the drumline signifying its imminence. However, I’m not sure if they’ve been doing it on the kickoff following a Jets touchdown, which was historically when it would be at its loudest. On the three kickoffs after the three Jets touchdowns, the chant was not audible on TV.

Love the way we used the wildcat, especially on the opening drive. Also loved the way we no-huddled a ton in this one. Would love to know what percentage of plays we no-huddled (or quick-huddled).

Per, the Jets went without a huddle just five times. The Bills did it 20 times.

At tight end…What do you suspect was the reasoning for targeting mostly of WR’s over TE’s this game? Specific to to Bills weak secondary? I was surprised. Isn’t MM’s scheme TE friendly?

As noted above, Rex spoke about this. Here’s the actual quote: “I’ll tell you, a guy that didn’t show up on the stats but they certainly knew where he was was Kellen Winslow. I don’t know if he even had a catch, but they knew where he was. I think on the touchdown to Stephen Hill, I believe, you’ll see him, the outside linebacker hits him, the inside linebacker hits him and the safety sits on him, and that allows Stephen to go 1-on-1. So I think those are some things that are unselfish. Run the route as hard as you can. He drew the attention of guys. That was the plan of the route, and then we were able to make the big play down the field.”

Give B.E. The Damn Ball
I feel like we run EVERY time Geno is under center. is there any truth to that?

They ran 22 times and passed eight times when Smith was under center. That includes seven runs in a row to end the game.

Is there really a defensive back on the bills named after two different girl characters from Game of Thrones? I could have sworn that I heard the name “Daenerys Cersei” get called at least twice. Am I going crazy? First days of Autumn, so I guess Winter is coming…

You must mean Da’Norris Searcy, but that’s nothing … the Titans have a backup nose tackle called Tyrion Drogo.

A GIF of Barnes leapfrogging over a blocker would be greatly appreciated.


It looked to me like on the last series of the game, will the bills having 1st & 10 from their own 1, one of the Jets pass rushers was held in the end zone which should have resulted in a safety. Did you see it?

Not this time. I can see why you might have thought Muhammad Wilkerson was held, as he drove Colin Brown backwards and then leveraged around him to approach Manuel, but I felt Brown let go of him in time. The other three rushers were certainly not held.

The Jets have struggled with covering the TE position in the past and I wasn’t shocked that it was Chandler who scored the only TD for the bills, the Titans feature tons of multiple TE formations do you think the Jets issues with TE’s is due to the scheme or the player’s inabilities?

Perhaps surprisingly, the Titans only ran eight two-TE sets against the Chargers on Sunday, in 70 snaps. There were two tight ends on the field more often than that, but the second one was employed as a full back or out wide more often.

The touchdown was a coverage mix-up and apart from that Chandler had just four catches for 46 yards, with just one first down, so maybe it’s more scheme than personnel. In the first two games, tight ends were targeted just once – a one yard catch so it perhaps hasn’t been as big of an issue as you thought!

Has Davis basically stepped into Bart Scott’s old role or are the ILBs being used differently?

In terms of crashing into the lead blocker the way Scott did when he was at his most effective, Davis doesn’t do that very often, but the Jets didn’t use Scott in that manner as much last year either. I think they may have arrived at the conclusion that this tactic can wear players down and shorten careers. He does play the same position and takes on the same coverage assignments, but he and David Harris have been staying in their lanes and playing read/react rather than attacking the line of scrimmage.

What’s Wilson’s PFF grade on the year so far?

His overall grade is -1.5 following his -3.7 this week. However, his coverage numbers are remarkably good: 6-for-17 for 48 yards (44.0 QB rating).

Interestingly, Milliner – who has a worse overall and coverage grade than Wilson – also has surprising coverage numbers. He’s been targeted 18 times and given up just six catches, although two were for touchdowns and that does translate to a 92.6 QB rating.

Can you tell me how many times the Jets rushed 4, 5, 6 players on defense. The highlight of the Davis sack shows that the Jets rushed 4 players but 2 were linebackers with the lineman dropping into coverage.

On 54 dropbacks, they had six three-man rushes, six six-man rushes and five five-man rushes. The rest were four-man rushes. On most of the six-man rushes, they went with a cover-zero blitz, where eight men lined up at the line of scrimmage, but two dropped into coverage at the snap. However, on the Chandler touchdown they got burned when they screwed up a variation on that theme. This time, they did have a deep safety, but seven men came up to the line. However, only three rushed and four dropped into shallow coverage, with Calvin Pace passing off Chandler to a man behind him that was not there.

Mike S.
I’d like to get your thoughts on the effectiveness of Richardson, Coples, Davis, and Wilkerson. These picks in the last few years were, if anything, maligned by the experts if not just flat-out beaten down or discarded. I’m not saying 3 games, or a season + 3 games makes a resume, but maybe Rex knows a little more than some of the “experts” waiving their flags on ESPN. We should not forget that Davis saved the TB game (he did). And the rest of the bunch looked liked beasts on Sunday.

Coples looked good and had a couple of impact plays, but I don’t think he’s 100% yet, so the sky’s the limit for him. You could see the impact having one more player that could win a one-on-one matchup had on everyone else. Remember when the Jets didn’t have ANY players that could win a one-on-one and had to generate pressure solely via exotic blitzes? Now they have several.

I can’t say enough good things about Wilkerson and Richardson. Richardson is definitely having a bigger impact than Wilkerson did in his rookie year and Wilkerson has developed into an incredible player. While they can remain healthy, opposing offensive lines are going to be stretched all season long, because they will have to work really hard to keep these guys out of the backfield and someone dominant is going to be single-blocked on every play.

As for Davis, he’s settled in nicely and his athleticism has added another dimension to the linebacking corps. Every now and then you get a reminder of his inexperience, but he’s only going to get better and I like the partnership with Harris so far. Right now, I think most of us would be leaning towards retaining Harris next year, which seemed unlikely as recently as a month ago.

Is Kyle Wilson really good enough to be a long term starter – when you take into consideration his penalties? On some plays he seems ok, then on others gets burned, and also gets a lot of penalties. (I’m hoping Dee Milliner will be much improved by the end of the season and can be the starter).

No…but he’s good enough to be the nickel back and he’s the best option they have right now in the slot. Yes, the meltdown was awful and almost cost them the game, but he didn’t have any penalties in the first two games and he only had five all of last season while playing just under 90% of the snaps, so it’s not like he constantly gets penalized enough to deserve the reputation he has.

I’d love to have a BGA breakdown on all our corners both outside and in the slot, to see which non-Wilson option would fare best inside if we start to play Kyle less if an issue like this persists. My unresearched flawed anecdotal memory would give Lankster first dibs at Wilson’s reps, but perhaps I’m wrong.

Just looking at last year’s numbers:

On 15 targets, Lankster gave up 11 catches and two touchdowns when in the slot. That’s a 141.7 QB rating. When on the outside, on 28 targets he gave up just 13 catches and had two interceptions for a 41.5 QB rating.

The QB rating against Wilson on his 28 targets in the slot was just 71.0 but on the outside that went up to 82.1.

Trufant has played almost exclusively in the slot, but it’s always been obvious he is very limited in terms of the types of player he can cover.

In 219 career snaps, Walls has been in the slot just 12 times and all 118 of his preseason snaps were also on the outside.

Perhaps the best option was Aaron Berry. In 2011, he only played nine of 478 snaps in the slot, but in 2010 he opened the season as the Lions’ starting slot corner (only to suffer a season ending injury in the first game). Obviously Berry is no longer an option, after tearing up his knee in camp.

Finally, there’s Milliner, who played in the slot at times in college but we don’t know enough about him yet.

karl hungus
Curious if the reason Harris is having a resurgence is that a) Snacks and Ellis are doing a better job of keeping the LB’s clean than our ex-heroes DeVito and Pouha did, and b) having some speed next to him in Davis instead of Bart is freeing him to the ball more instead of having to hang back and cover for Bart?

Ellis has only played 26 snaps in three games and, although he’s done well, I don’t know that he could be considered enough of a factor because of that. As for Harrison, I haven’t seen him double-teamed much, that’s been Wilkerson for the most part, but the defensive line as a unit is definitely occupying blockers. Harris’ coverage responsibilities haven’t changed at all. I’d assume the biggest factor in his resurgence is just that he looks faster and healthier.

Adam Cohen
I’m curious about the use of the two nose tackles on 3rd down (or lack thereof) compared to Calvin Pace. I guess a major variable is Kenrick’s health, but it seems as though they’re consistently absent in passing situations. I can understand the reasoning (more speed to rush the passer) but to me, it seems like a missed opportunity to utilize our talented big guys on all three downs without gassing them (Ex: Snacks on 1st & 2nd, Ellis on 3rd). The reason I single out Pace is that he’s the only guy (besides Douzable) where, I think, having a fresh NT is actually more advantageous for our pass rush. It also seemed like Mo was spending more time than usual in zero & one technique on 3rd down. Is that correct? Basically, I want to see more of our lovable fatties. Do you think they should make more 3rd down appearances.

In the past, I’d have agreed with you, because the nose tackle on passing downs would often just get double teamed and never generate any pressure, so they might as well have used a backup in that role rather than wasting those reps on someone like Wilkerson (who did indeed play the nose on nine plays on Sunday, all passing downs) when the chances of him doing anything positive were remote. However, the linemen are doing such a good job of disrupting, they actually ARE a threat in that role now. You mention Douzable and he’s one guy I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in a pass rushing role, as his hand placement and technique seems to be noticeably making him more and more of a handful. Call that the Dunbar effect.

Any chance Jets make Browns an offer for Jordan Cameron? I think his abilities at tight end would give us a major advantage as far as coverage.

I think Cameron is viewed as a keeper by the Browns. As for the idea of making a trade at all, I don’t really expect that unless there’s a need created by an injury. We shall see…


Thanks for all the great questions this week, everyone. I’ll be back on Sunday to preview the Titans game.