BGA Extra: Jets at Bengals

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

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 loss to the Bengals. 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.

JetsFanSince98 •
Has an NFL team ever completed an entire season alternating Wins and Losses?

It doesn’t appear so, but there are some recent near-equivalents. From the start of the Eastern Confernce Finals last season, the Heat won, then lost, then won, then lost and the pattern continued for 13 games. The streak ended in game seven of the finals where a loss would have handed the Spurs the title, but the Heat managed to gut out a 95-88 win. So, maybe this is an omen and the Jets are going to win a title. As DarrolRayFanClub pointed out in the comments, the Jets could theoretically reach the AFC Title game by winning every other week, since their bye week and first round bye would fall on an evenly numbered week. They’d need to earn a first placed bye with a 9-7 record though, so (as if it wasn’t already so) this is pretty unlikely.

Another similar example saw the Chicago Cubs alternate wins and losses throughout the first 21 games of the 2011 season. This wasn’t a perfect WLWLWL pattern, but they were never more than a game above or below .500 until they lost their 22nd game to drop to 10-12. Maybe that’s an omen too. (The Cubs ended up 20 games below .500).

muhammad_wilkerson •
1. The NFL punishes teams for winning more than any other league, with draft ordering and strength of schedule. I wonder how coaches manage the short term/long term trade-off given this. The Jets are in danger of going 8-8 or 9-7, which in some respects is the worst position to be in. What are your thoughts on this? Is this potentially part of the motivation to develop young players rather than start the best 11 every week?

2. Is there even the slightest chance that the Bucs, after a horrible season, decide to let Revis and his enormous contract go?

3. Related to question 2, if you had to guess, how much could Revis have affected Sunday’s game? It felt to me like one of those games where Revis could have stopped 3 or 4 of those touchdowns. It seemed like every play, A.J. Green got open immediately, and everything else became a mess as a result. If you put Revis in there and he literally takes A.J. Green out of every single play, resulting in double-coverage on Marvin Jones and Dalton having to hold the ball longer, it seems like just about every passing play is different.

1. I still think you’re better off with a mediocre record than ending up with four or five wins. Yes, you’re a few places better off in the draft, but what if that means you end up with Dee Milliner instead of Sheldon Richardson? I think it’s a lot better to finish off with a competitive record so that you can evaluate your roster in meaningful games and also convince free agents that you’re capable of being a contender going forward. Obviously finishing 5-11 doesn’t mean you’re not going to contend (look at the Chiefs for an extreme example) but finishing 9-7 would go a long way towards improving the media-fuelled external perception of the team and the internal motivation of seeing progression. Long term v short term is always a trade-off between GM and coach and between those who are secure in their jobs and those that need instant results to retain theirs.

2. There’s every chance.

3. All else being equal, Revis – or even a healthy Cromartie (or if you don’t think his injury is a viable excuse, a 2012 Cromartie) – would have made an enormous difference. If you can contain the number one threat without giving your top corner any safety support, that makes it a lot easier to redeploy your personnel and set traps in coverage. The Jets were pretty flat, but they would have been less demoralized and though they probably still lose, I doubt it would have been anywhere near as bad.

a57se •
You seem to be providing a lot of support for Wilkerson’s statement that the secondary needs to slow up the other teams WR for a second otherwise it is a waste of time to rush the passer. For as quickly as Dalton was getting rid of the ball, his receivers had to get free releases to get in position to catch the ball. Is this an adjustment the Jets have to make? It seems like, if they don’t start re-routing WR’s, they’re going to continue to get burned.

Yes, this makes perfect sense to me. Jam them at the line and then it’s not quite so easy to complete passes while releasing the ball before the rush can get there. A lot of people have asked about this, so I’ll be referring back to this comment a lot.

McGeorge •
Is Geno improving? He still holds onto the ball for a long time, and makes some really dumb plays. I don’t care if the Jets lose 49-9 as long as he and Milliner and the others improve.

Obviously he’s been up, then down, then up again and so on, but I’d like to think he’s on a slight upward trend overall. He’s going to have bad days and make dumb plays, but if that’s mixed in with some good days and some positive plays, then I can live with it. I hope to continue to see improvements in certain areas (example: ball security) from week to week, while avoiding making the same mistakes over and over.

Tk •
What type of coverages were the Jets running for the majority of the game? I know they like the cover 1 and even zero coverage and I’m assuming that’s what they were going with. My question, why stay with that coverage when your CB’s are getting burned all game? Why not show more of a cover 2 look and give help over the top and let the defensive line worry about the run? It was pretty clear the CB’s couldn’t handle the Bengals WRs one v one so why not give them help?

They only had both safeties outside the box (more than eight yards off the line of scrimmage) on 13 plays by my count. I agree that simplifying things was something they perhaps didn’t do enough of, but then again perhaps they felt they would be vulnerable underneath and that may even have proved to be the case on a few occasions. The Jets clearly underestimated the Bengals passing attack, which is a mistake they’ve made in the past.

Brendan •
Do you guys think the media sits in their booth and has open discussions about what they want to write about this week? The unoriginality in the media ranks is staggering.

To be fair, a lot of the time when you see one person do a story on (say) Santonio Holmes then it suddenly seems like all the other beat writers write a version of the same story, that’s because it’s dictated by who has been made available to them. I don’t doubt that they spend a lot of time together and have reached a group consensus on certain issues, but then again that can be entertaining to look back on, since the team is obviously not the trainwreck they’d all decided it would be (Sunday’s performance notwithstanding).

Beamen321 •
How much of the Jets problems in Pass Defense is the fault of the CB and how much is the fault of the Safeties? It appears to me that the CBs are getting virtually no help over the top from the Safeties and I’m not sure it’s by design. Is Landry just too slow to play “Centerfield”? In Baltimore that job would have gone to Reed.

That wasn’t necessarily always the case. Reed is so good in coverage that he was often moved up into the box to play man-to-man on passing downs with Landry playing deep. Landry actually played more snaps at free safety than Reed in 2009 and 2010 (although Reed did miss some time in 2010) and had two seasons where he intercepted five passes. Of course, he’s a little older now, but he has the range to cover a simple deep safety role – from my observations, most of the times where he didn’t get over in time were because he reacted late or got drawn out of position rather than just not having the athletic ability.

I’d attribute most of the issues to the cornerbacks, definitely, and sometimes it is by design because the Jets do run some blitz packages with no safety support, designed to get their linemen into one-on-ones.

Jeff •
I didn’t watch the game, but I was listening to it on the radio. I remember Greg Buttle mentioning how it seemed the Bengals just had a perfect call for everything the Jets D called up in pass defense. He mentioned that sometimes teams get lucky and the stars align sometimes, so perhaps on any other Sunday Dalton wouldn’t have looked like Peyton Manning. So my question is, how can the Jets disrupt a quick passing attack? Clearly Dalton leads the league in time of snap to throw. Is there any way we can stifle our upcoming opponents since players like this (Ryan, Locker) have killed us too. Don’t forget Brees also releases his passes mighty quick.

The Buttle comments are interesting, especially since that’s almost word for word how Rex described Sunday’s game. If the quarterback is getting the ball out early and still having success then you need to get closer to the receivers at the line and disrupt their patterns, prevent a clean release and create the threat of being able to jump a route.

‘NYCPE’inGermany •
Is Andy Dalton the second coming of Tom Brady? While I believe I already know the answer to that, I was amazed at how good he looked against our D. Was he just playing out of his mind or were the stars and luck aligned perfectly for him to have the day that he had? What do you think we can do different if all teams with at least a decent QB employ the same get rid of the ball quick strategy?

Dalton was way better than Brady was in any game so far this year – including the two against the Jets. As noted above, physical press coverage at the line would have at least given the pass rush a chance at pressuring more throws.

Bill in Saratoga •
The safety play has definitely taken a step back from last year which was an improvement over the year before. It seems that Allen has the potential to improve but do you think he will ever be able to take over the play calling and leadership in this defense? It seems like Rex’s defense is run the best when there is a play caller on the field. Is Landry having trouble getting to where he needs to be because he is reacting to late or is he trying to make up for other peoples mistakes?

I actually don’t agree. I think Dawan Landry is at least as good as Yeremiah Bell and you could make a case that Antonio Allen has been better than LaRon Landry was last year because he doesn’t make as many mistakes or commit penalties. Jarrett is a nice third option too. I don’t know enough about Allen’s intelligence and instincts to make a judgment on whether he could fill that “QB of the secondary” role down the line, but I think he’s exceeded expectations with his performance so far this year. As for Landry, I did note above that there have been some plays where he reacted late, but for the most part he has been disciplined and kept things in front of him, which is the main thing you need from your deep safety.

Bill in Saratoga •
I thought David Nelson was one of the few players to play well this week. He took a rough hit early and that seemed to light a fire. He was very physical. Is that typical play for him? Is that something we will see more of? Was the penalty that he drew a late hit or a questionable hit? His play this week is what Rex means when he says “Play like a Jet”. I hope he stays around.

I like Nelson too. Seems like a great guy, with heart. He did get involved in a skirmish with Ike Taylor two weeks ago too, so he’s bringing the fire and showing he wants to be there. The penalty saw him bump Pacman Jones who fell to the ground and was all set to retaliate when his teammate intervened. Rich Cimini reviewed the film for ESPN New York said this was a flop by Jones and that Jones’ claims that Nelson had hit him late and dirty four times were totally unfounded. I think the penalty was fair anyway, flop or no flop, but I agree with Cimini’s take on Nelson’s so-called dirty play.

MrM •
I gotta get some BGA analysis on the Cro pass interference call in the 1st. On TV it looked like he barely touched the guy. Does the tape show the play being a bit more serious than what the TV coverage revealed?

Looks like he grabbed him on the shoulder pad – something he’s been doing a lot lately – but it was a very ticky tack call. I’m actually not convinced the pass was catchable, so he didn’t need to make that grab. He was beaten though – and a perfect pass would have been a touchdown for a guy not regarded as a deep threat.

dave from haifa •
How many Ryan Bowls have there been?

Just four – and Rex has won all four. The overtime win over the Browns (Holmes game winning touchdown) in 2010 and the opening day win over the Cowboys with Revis’ interception setting up Folk’s game winning field goal are obviously fresh in the memory, but Rex’s Ravens also beat Rob’s Raiders 28-6 in 2006 and 29-10 in 2008.

Disgruntled Jets Fan •
The main reason the Jets weren’t able to generate pressure on Dalton was because he got rid of the ball almost immediately on a high percentage of his throws. Clearly the book on the Jets is to get rid of the ball quickly, taking advantage of a secondary that is not very aggressive. In the past Rex was able to adjust to the team’s weaknesses, but this may be his biggest challenge yet. Do you think the Jets have the personnel to stop a quick, accurate quarterback?

If Cromartie were 100% that would make things a lot easier. Also, I still think there are better options to start than Dee Milliner if they want to maximize their chances of winning at this point of the season. This team had the number one defense with Drew Coleman, a past-his-prime Lito Sheppard and Dwight Lowery playing major reps. I’m of the mind that their current personnel is better … you just can’t play the same way if you don’t have a Revis. Right now, unfortunately, Cromartie isn’t even a poor man’s Revis and everything else suffers because of that.

levi •
What the hell went wrong and why could they not stop the bleeding?

Even Rex couldn’t answer that one. If it’s any consolation, the Bengals are probably going to have just as much trouble figuring out what went so right.

jetsman24 •
From my observation, it doesn’t look as if Milliner is getting beaten because he can’t run or doesn’t know what’s going on, but that he’s just a step behind every play. Would you attribute Milliner’s struggles to being hesitant and overwhelmed by NFL receivers, or to his failure to actually make the proper play? In other words, are his current struggles physical or mental?

He’s displayed bad technique at times, but he’s capable of playing with good technique and obviously has athleticism, so I would say it’s mostly mental. It bears repeating, but Nick Saban coaches slightly different techniques for his defensive backs and there’s almost always an adjustment period until they “get it”.

BrooklynDude99 •
Rex doesn’t blitz his DB’s as much as he used to, but has he stopped doing it completely?

On Sunday, the defensive backs combined for six pass rush attempts. For the year, it’s 52. While that’s 6.5 on average, Sunday was actually more than the average on a per snap basis. Extrapolate 52 to a full season and you get 104, which compares with the previous Rex regular seasons thusly: 2012 (157), 2011 (241), 2010 (381), 2009 (299).

Of course, that’s a natural progression towards a situation where you can generate pressure without blitzing. However, right now the extra bodies in the secondary aren’t helping them much in coverage.

BrooklynDude99 •
I thought the Bengal TE’s would have some success against the Jets. Was it something we did or were they just being used to help block or did Marvin Jones just make them an after thought?

Amazingly, Jones did all that damage in 19 snaps, so he wasn’t having a major effect on their overall gameplan. They did stay in to block 13 times between them, but still ran 39 routes so you might expect more than seven targets for a combined four catches and 37 yards. The Jets mixed up who was covering them (and how) but for the most part they were well covered, to the point where there were double teams happening where one of those players might have been better served giving one of the corners downfield support.

By-Tor •
Given that it looks like the Bengals created a game plan to get rid of the ball quickly and Dalton succeeded in doing so, I think we have to give a lot of credit to their coaching staff. If you were the OC and DC of the Jets, what type of game plan would you have put together to beat the ‘gals? What should we do for the Saints?

Defensively, they needed to press better. I’m not sure that wasn’t in the gameplan already, they just should have done a better job of it. I haven’t finished my research on the Saints yet, so I’ll abstain from answering that, but on the basis they’re a similar offensive team to the Falcons (multiple weapons, pass first, receiving TE threat), I’d imagine the plan for the Falcons game is somewhere close to the approach they’re going to have to take.

I’m getting a similar vibe for this game to the last time these teams met, in Mark Sanchez’s rookie season. Nobody really gave the Jets a chance (even though they were 3-0) but it actually proved to be a pretty tight game, hinging almost entirely on two Sanchez turnovers; a 99-yard pick six and a fumble in the end zone. I’d therefore probably suggest a conservative gameplan, but with a mix of downfield throws that won’t put the Saints in scoring position even if they do get intercepted.

DMike •
That was ugly, sorry you had to rematch it. Which was more painful to give the BGA treatment, Offense or Defense?

Offense. I love line play and the defensive line played well, but the offensive line … did not.

SackDance99 •
We’ll have to check the coaches film, but I thought the first INT was supposed to go to Nelson, but Crocker left Kerley and jumped the route. If the pass was meant for Kerley, then it was both a miscommunication and a terrible throw. I thought from the trajectory of the throw, it was going to be a low back shoulder throw and a completion to Nelson, who had effectively trapped the DB behind him.

I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like you might be right. That being the case, Kerley definitely ran the wrong route because that pass would be impossible to make with Kerley’s defender in the area. Either way, it looks like Kerley was at fault.

McGeorge •
I realize offensive linemen take a while to learn their position, but how long does it take on average? Should we expect Winters to be ok next year? By the end of next year?

I really think it depends. Let’s compare Winters to Matt Slauson. There’s a guy who probably would have struggled just like Winters has if he had to start as a rookie. However, he just played emergency reps and ended up being a solid starter in year two. Now, let’s compare him to Vlad. He barely played until last year and didn’t stick as the starter. If you’re looking for examples of guys who started and struggled as rookies, three that spring to mind are Jason Pinkston, Will Rackley and Amini Silatolu. Unfortunately, the returns on these three are not good. Pinkston and Rackley are no longer starting and Silatolu tore his ACL. He did look better in his second year, though.

I thought Winters was a year away when I saw his rookie highlight reel and nothing I’ve seen this preseason or regular season has changed that.

jetsman24 •
Just from my limited analysis, it seems to me that when opposing defenses constantly bring pressure from sources outside the front seven, Geno struggles to make the proper read. The best examples of this are Tennessee and Pittsburgh, both with tough, physical safeties, and both frequently send blitzers from the secondary. Does this fall on Geno’s shoulders, or does Mornhinweg need to leave an extra man into block on potential blitz plays?

Sometimes Mornhinweg HAS left an extra man in, but the pressure still came. On the first play of the game, Zach Sudfeld stayed in but ended up blocking someone up the middle and left the guy coming off the edge unblocked. It’s something Smith and his blockers could both do a better job of.

DarrolRayFanClub •
In the last three years, the Jets have given up 45+ points in a game. When they lost 45-3 to NE in 2010, they were 9-2 and coming off a trip to the AFC CG — so while they were extremely sluggish the next few weeks and things felt low, it was easier to regain some tread by the time the inevitable post-season came around, and they obviously had the cushion to do so. The following season they seemed a little more fragile when they got blown out 45-19 to the Eagles and they couldn’t recover from the sluggish next few games and it was a full collapse. Last year’s NE 49-19 loss came when they were 4-6 and hoping to turn things around, and while they won the next two games against bad teams thanks to the defense, they were sluggish and their psyche was shot, and they collapsed. Do you get the feeling this 49-9 loss will have any impact on the psyche of this team, like it did in the previous three years? I guess the bye week will help but we could be looking at a 31-3 loss on Sunday if history repeats itself.

Well, I can’t predict the future, but this is definitely something we should be wary of. As you note, the bye week perhaps comes at a good time and also this team has been resilient in terms of bouncing back with a good performance following a loss.

Midwest Jet •
It seemed as if the jets didn’t take any shots down the field while Geno was playing. I swear I saw multiple times where Stephen Hill had 1 on 1 coverage deep. As the Bengals showed, you have to keep the defense honest by throwing some deep passes. I don’t understand why the jets went away from that.

Yes, that’s what they were looking for on that first play of the game that I reference above. Smith had to throw the ball away. Last week, the Jets threw deep to Hill unsuccessfully, but it did contribute to stretching the field and opening up some things underneath. I guess the Bengals did a good job of generating pressure at the right times to prevent any downfield throws – or maybe the playcalling went into a shell and/or Smith got a bit gunshy once they fell behind.

a57se •
Geno seemed to be checking the ball down most of the first half, can you tell from the All-22 tape if he left some other plays on the field?

There was one – in the second quarter – where Jeremy Kerley ran a post corner route and had a step on his man with the safety too far over in the middle of the field. Smith opted for the safer short throw to Nelson for six or seven yards. Other than that, the Bengals did one of two things – they dropped their safeties back very deep or brought a blitz to force a quick throw. Most of the checkdowns he did were probably the right decision.

a57se •
It seems like the Jets set up Vlad to fail the first few games and now are doing everything they can to protect Winters. You mentioned earlier in the season that Vlad was getting very little help when he was playing while Winters is getting help all the time. Is this perception that far from reality?

Nope.

a57se •
Bohanon has looked worse then John Conner or Lex Hilliard did to me. I am being overly negative here?

He hasn’t looked that bad and at least he had four good games to start the year. He’s another player (the other being Powell, whose average per carry has dropped from 4.4 yards over the first four games to 2.7 over the last four) whose sudden downturn in form coincides with Winters’ insertion into the lineup.

a57se •
Do you believe (I know you have not stated this and I don’t mean to imply you have) the Jets coaching staff was 100% responsible for the Winters move or Milliner getting the playing time he has?

No. In fact, I’d suggest it more likely comes from someone higher up.

MEL31602 •
Since you said yourself that Hill’s hands have been better, to what do you attribute his lack of production. Is he having issues getting open? Or is Geno just not seeing him on the field?

Also, please don’t act like the Jets are the only team to start a subpar player just because he was a high draft pick. Winters and Millner are clearly the future, so the Jets may as well play them now since they are not making a deep playoff run anyway. Rather have them work out the kinks now than next year when we (hopefully) have one or two more weapons and are thus more cut out for a playoff push. Could you imagine if Millner cost us a playoff game with his poor coverage? That’s less likely if he gets experience now in less meaningful games.

I do acknowledge and understand the reasoning behind getting Milliner as much playing time as possible, but I disagree that doing this to the detriment of their chances of winning games is an acceptable cost. And if it is, then why would you bench him just as you’re about to go three scores down? Surely if the game is over, that’s a perfect time to get him more reps?

As a fan, I just don’t like to believe that the Jets are completely incapable of making a run. They’re 4-4 and have an easier schedule after the bye. They were 4-6 in 2009 and still in late contention in 2011 and 2012 despite being 5-5 and 4-7 respectively.

You’re right, it may pay off in the long run and these guys are probably the future (although “clearly” may be overstating it at this point). I want to believe the Jets can still compete now and still develop those guys though.

Back to the first part of your question, I think teams have started to gameplan for Hill and now it’s up to the Jets to capitalize on this. Winslow and Holmes being out makes a massive difference to their ability to do that. Lack of deep balls is always down to some combination of playcalling, receivers not being open and the quarterback being gunshy. I’ve seen Hill get behind enough defenders this year to know that teams will recognize he’s a threat.

Phil T. •
Why don’t the Jets WR run more double-moves? DB’s are clearly watching Geno’s eyes and stare downs.

You’re absolutely right and I’ve seen several plays in recent weeks where a double move would have worked like a charm. Maybe this is a tendency Marty is setting up to attack a specific upcoming opponent with over-aggressive corners. Once again, Winslow and Holmes’ return will make this easier by creating more of a reliable underneath threat.

stanleybostitch •
Well, I guess it’s always darkest before dawn. But where is this team in actuality? Bent, Basset, are you guys planning a half-season eval type of post that maybe looks ahead to the draft? Seems like the D-line is legit, though missing Barnes; the secondary needs an overhaul, esp the corners (turn your head around!); the O-line will be fine once Winters/Vlad comes around (Bent: who would you go with at this point?); the receivers are mediocre, at best; the backs are mediocre, at best; and the QB. Geno is a rookie and as such has shown flashes of brilliance along with awful decision making. Is he someone we build around? Too early to tell? After losses like this my mind turns to the draft and whether we go skill player (Geno a keeper) or QB (or not) early. So frustrating – but hey, we’re Jets fans.

We don’t have anything specific planned, but we usually do something like that at the midpoint of the season. Due to the timing of the bye week, that’s probably when you’ll get some of that, assuming Bassett’s back in the rotation. At guard, I think Ducasse deserves another shot based on what we’re seeing on Sundays, but who knows what’s happening in practice? And, yes, it’s too early to tell. Of course it is!

R in CT – via e-mail
I know we’ve talked about it before, but the record of the Jets under Rex at 1 pm. vs. 4 pm & primetime is always interesting. (I don’t have it at my fingertips, but playing at 1 they are dramatically over .500). I think this year they are 2-2 in both slots but considering that 7 of the last 8 are at 1 pm bodes well for a strong finish …

That wasn’t a question, but hopefully it does give an extra reason for hope. They can establish a good routine after the bye and maybe go streaking!

FWIW – In the Rex era, the Jets were 22-10 at 1pm and 5-10 at 4pm entering this season. They’re 2-1 at 1pm this year and 1-2 at 4pm, so the discrepancy is now 24-11 at 1pm and 6-12 at 4pm. Let’s hope that pattern holds in the second half!

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That’s it for this week. Thank you for your great questions and comments. I’ll be back on Sunday to preview the Saints game.




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