BGA Extra: Jets at Bills

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 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.

Disgruntled Jets Fan •
If you could make one change to the Jets gameplan next week, what would it be?

I’d be making personnel changes before I thought about tinkering with the gameplan, but how about some double moves to get some people open deep and stop the corners coming up and jumping the shorter routes?

Enzo •
Is there any blame to put on the QB coach for Geno and/or Sanchez’s (lack of) development? I never hear any criticism about David Lee.

Lee doesn’t get any blame for Sanchez because he only arrived here in the Summer. As for Smith, he’s remarked that Smith looks great when his technique is right, but that this doesn’t happen with enough consistency. With Smith thrown into the fire when it was apparent he wasn’t completely ready, I don’t think it reflects badly on Lee that he is struggling.

1/12/69-OrangeBowl •
Can you look over the play that Geno got hurt? Is it possible he was hurt worse then “just got the wind knocked out of him”? Not looking for excuses, but he played so bad after that…worse then even his other bad games. Maybe their was a reason. Was his head snapped back? Concussion? Bruised ribs? He doesn’t seem to me to be a kid that would admit to being injured.

Saying he “wasn’t the same after that” is a little meaningless when he’d only dropped back one other time prior to that. He took a helmet to the ribs – I bet he was feeling that for the rest of the game.

jcc •
On the missed field goal, it looked as if Quigley didn’t get a good hold down and the ball was tilted to the side. Can you look and see if that might have been a main contributing factor to it spinning the way it did, obviously making it easier for the wind to make it take a sharp right turn?

I watched for this, but I honestly thought the snap and hold were perfect. The ball is always tilted to the side like that for Folk. Interesting nugget: Folk has been 0 for 1 four times in his Jets career and the Jets have lost all four games by a combined 68 points. He was 0 for 2 once when the Jets won 7-6 against Arizona last year.

CP •
On the completion to the sideline that beat Milliner (the one Rex challenged) it looked like the receiver had a pretty good push off to gain that separation. Does it look like it should have been offensive pass interference?

Initially I thought so, but any contact was so insignificant that I don’t think it merited a flag. I know when you’re moving at full speed, the slightest touch can throw you off balance, but I don’t think this was sufficient to affect Milliner who had pretty much overran the ball anyway.

If any Jets fans were angry about the Stephen Hill push-off that overturned a touchdown a few weeks ago, there’s no way they can gripe about this one, because the contact was much less significant.

CP •
What happened to the deep passing game? Are the Jets no longer running those routes, or are they not getting open? Looking at the analysis of Hill, almost all of those throws are short to medium routes.

Teams are sitting pretty deep to try and take that away. That forces the Jets to try and have success on short-to-intermediate throws. Hill does run go routes quite a lot and draws attention away from the middle which should open up some room underneath. However, in recent games, they’ve not been hitting these either.

vwclaymore •
There were twice during the game where I thought defenders tackled Geno right at the knee and it wasn’t called (unlike Bush’s sack against Brees where he was called for this even though he obviously hit him at waist level). In fact it seems like this happens all the time and they never call it – or am I misinterpreting the rule?

One was a low tackle. That’s okay. It’s targeting the knee that isn’t allowed … and that did appear to happen on one throw Smith got rid of.

a57se •
Are you fully on the Rex train or do you sometimes think that maybe he is the problem as well?

Rex is a great coach and doesn’t get enough credit around the league for how creative and intelligent he is. However, there are some things he does that hurt him as a head coach. I don’t want to dwell too much on what they are, but you’d hope that he’d make improvements in those areas as he became more experienced. Maybe he HAS. After all, this season has been better than last year and the end of the previous season. So far, the team has been impressive in how they’ve bounced back from losses. The Jets were 12-16 coming off a loss in the Rex Ryan era but are 5-0 this year. Hopefully that goes to 6-0 on Sunday.

MaynardFan •
Is the WCO really there anymore? Is it possible that early run success in the season prompted Rex to tinker with Marty’s mix of plays? And the result has been the NE and NO “run heavy” wins and getting crushed by the Bengals and Bills when the run game fizzled. It seems that the play mix was better and Marty schemed some receivers open earlier…which made Geno look better.

Yes, they’ve been passing a lot less and throwing downfield less too and there are also plays like the quick slant which should be staples of the offense and seem to have vanished from the playbook. It seems like the shackles are on and that could be Rex, but at the same time it could be that Smith has lost confidence in making such throws. It doesn’t seem like Marty would be responsible for this because we were told that he’d pass too much and take shots down the field. Mind you, we were promised “chunk plays” under Sparano too and that never materialized. Maybe Mornhinweg is responsible, but the reason behind the change of heart is that he doesn’t have faith in his starting quarterback, whereas he did whenever he coached elsewhere.

Machoking •
I was just hating Hill…. now who do I hate?

Tom Brady.

MEL31602 •
You have been critical of Hill in the past. Was his ability to get open just a one-time thing today? Or have you noticed it in other games as well. Perhaps the returns of Holmes and Winslow made it easier for Hill to get free…

Have I really been that critical of Hill? I feel like I am defending him more often than not. I know I said that he’s “not a natural pass catcher” but I don’t think that holds him back from being productive. I don’t think Braylon Edwards is a natural pass catcher either (although he developed into more of one, gradually).

I broke down Hill’s performance in the Saints BGA Extra too. Here’s what I said: “As for Hill, he was used as a decoy quite a lot with Geno throwing a short pass or rolling out the other way on many occasions. There was one play – the one where Nelson gained 19 on a crossing route – where Hill burned his man and had a step on him but Smith took the easier option (and perhaps had to because a blitz was coming). I will say that Hill does draw a lot of defensive attention and definitely helped create room for Sudfeld on his second big reception. I was actually encouraged by watching him in detail; you certainly couldn’t say that they blanketed him, he just wasn’t a primary option most of the time.”

So, no, it’s not a one time thing. He usually has a couple of plays where he gets separation. They’ve got to start hitting some of these though otherwise his contribution as a decoy or to draw safeties out of the middle is rendered worthless, whether it’s his fault or not.

Disgruntled Jets Fan •
If the pass/run splits are so different between Powell and Ivory, isn’t that telegraphing the play a bit?

Not necessarily, because Powell is in the game on more passing downs and two minute drills, so you’d expect his pass/run splits to be much higher than Ivory, who mostly just plays on early downs and in short yardage.

Jeff •
Has Winters officially entered Adrien Clarke territory for complete terrible-ness?

It’s difficult to quantify who was worse, but Clarke was grading out as one of the worst guards in the entire NFL in 2007 and Winters is down near the bottom, but not right at the bottom. However, I think Winters has graded out better than he might have because he gets plenty of help from Mangold and Ferguson. I didn’t do BGA’s back in 2007, so I couldn’t tell you if the same things were going on in 2007 (with Mangold and Ferguson in their second season), but Ferguson was having his own issues in the running game and Mangold wasn’t the finished article yet.

Muheldon Harroples •
Are we already seeing the decline of Nick and Brick? Feels like the offensive line has been neglected in the draft for too long.

Already? They are both in their 8th season. Ferguson was actually very good on Sunday, so hopefully he’s going to have a solid half. I hate to keep going back to this, but it doesn’t help either of them that Brian Winters in struggling so much.

Muheldon Harroples •
Is Idzik keeping the offensive linemen he drafted on the team because he sees them as a project? (only reason I can think of) If so, do you agree that drafting project players is a terrible strategy because the NFL is a now business and you probably won’t have the time to see your players develop? (see Tanny with Hill and Ducasse). I would much rather go after a question mark with talent like a Mathieu or Burfict with later picks.

Yes, but maybe he’s right. Aboushi and Campbell didn’t show much in preseason, but who knows what they’ll look like with a whole offseason in an NFL weights program and with plenty of time to make improvements to their technique? He isn’t necessarily blindly keeping them on the team just to make himself look good. (Although, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t).

If we have to endure Aboushi and/or Campbell actually getting reps next year while a seemingly better option sits on the bench, that won’t be fun.

Disgruntled Jets Fan •
Did the jets try to take advantage of the opponent targeting Winters and try a pull block or something?

They pulled Winters a few times (and he’s actually getting better at this), but no more than they usually would. One way to use that against a team would be for Winters to let his guy through and get out in front of a screen pass. However, they tried three screen passes. The results were a one yard game, an incompletion and a pick six.

Muheldon Harroples •
With all the quarterbacks in next years draft, wouldn’t that second rounder have been better spent on a skill position player?

I think that was probably the plan (or maybe a lineman in the second and a skill position guy in the third), but they were obviously swayed by what they saw as a value pick. I don’t believe for a minute they were thinking Geno Smith would be sitting here having started all ten games on the eve of the draft.

Muheldon Harroples •
Does Marty leave the gameplan too early, after the jets are down a couple scores? If a team sticks to their gameplan and plays controlled and doesn’t panic, it seems like they have a chance.

I can’t answer that one. For all we know, maybe what they did WAS the gameplan and they should have changed it up.

‘NYCPE’inGermany •
On one of Geno’s INTs, the replay clearly showed the the nose of the ball touched the ground. The announcers said that as it was ruled a turnover it would be reviewed, then the shot quickly cut to the bills running a play. Looked to me like they should at least taken a much longer look at this. What did you think?

I think that one was an optical illusion. He caught the ball cleanly and it never appeared to move in his hands, so even if it hit the ground they likely wouldn’t overturn it.

David •
When Matt had his incompletions, the first down was on the one yard line, right? Isn’t that a hard spot to throw because of the short field?

It is harder to complete passes down there, but the Jets didn’t actually get inside the 10 and Simms did miss two makable throws.

Mel31602 •
What do you think caused this steep drop off in the offensive line’s play? Many of the great Bills d-linemen played in that first game, though I don’t Remember if Vlad or Winters was starting at that point. And PFF gave Mangold a surprisingly low grade yesterday too.

You basically answered the question yourself. Ducasse was starting in the first game and – although he had four penalties in that game – he handled Kyle Williams and co. much better than Winters. I just don’t think Winters is as good as Ducasse is at this stage of their careers. However, as you suggested yourself a few weeks ago, Winters is the future. (Well, that’s the plan anyway).

Mangold has been grading out poorly much of the year. I’ve got to believe that much of that is attributable to having to keep one eye (and often one arm, as I showed in one example from the BGA) on the guy to his left.

DarrolRayFanClub •
“The Jets have now lost 11 games by 17 or more points since November 2011 and what most of these games have in common is that the game was hanging in the balance at one point, only for a series of plays to go against them in bunches.”

How many have they won? And were most of those close games where they pulled away?

I get the feeling they don’t have many like that, and that their wins are Jet wins (close, pull it out late) and their losses are snowball (close, it gets away and the wheels fall off).

But this could be selective memory. The Bills game off the bye two years ago (the one bye week win) I think was close and the Jets pulled away. But I don’t know if it’s selective memory or just factual.

Funny you should mention that Bills game, because that was actually a blowout (27-3 late) that ended up only being a 16-point win because the Bills scored late – so it wouldn’t be included in any list of 17-point wins for the Jets.

The Jets have actually won nine games by more than 17 in the Rex Ryan era and all of them were complete laughers, pretty much over by half time.

jetsfan74 •
What good is pressuring the QB when the DBs are 10 yards off the receivers on 3rd and 4?

That’s a constant source of frustration, but the Jets are perhaps trying to bait teams into making what they expect to be an easy throw. If they get pressure and the throw is too far to the inside, maybe the cornerback can jump the route, or a linebacker can drop into the passing lane.

a57se •
It seemed like Buffalo was keeping extra guys in to pass protect. Could you please break down what they were doing to stifle our pass rush besides getting rid of the ball early.

They left a tight end in three times and a running back in 10 times in 31 dropbacks. They didn’t leave in extra blockers any more often than the Jets did. It really was mostly just the fact they got rid of it earlier.

‘NYCPE’inGermany •
It seems to be a recurring theme that if the QB can get it out quick, the Jets have no answer. We’ve discussed here before that pressing and being more physical at the line could be an approach, but it doesn’t seem like they’re doing it much – or it isn’t working if they are. It looks to me (and others from what I’ve read) that the defensive backs are giving 10 yard cushions on 3rd and short and the QBs are taking it. Is that true? Any idea why they aren’t pressing more and why it isn’t working if they are? I get that they respect an Olympian’s speed and all, but if they give a big cushion and the QB gets it out quick, that neutralizes one of our strengths (pass rush).

The Jets mix up what they do a lot, so it’s difficult to generalize, but one issue could be that the guys they’ve been playing aren’t that good at press coverage, whereas the ones who are physical enough to do a good job of that are gone (Revis), injured (Berry) or not being used (Lankster). I know the Jets have tried to get Cromartie to get his hands on his man more often and that he’s had success when he does, but they often put him in cover zero situations where he has no safety support behind him, so he either has to keep his man in front of him or risks getting burned.

It’s a balancing act between how much pressure they want to send and where they’re trying to catch the offense out, but right now it’s not working. The fact their defensive line can (at last) get pressure without blitzing afford them an opportunity to simplify things in the back end, but they’re not taking advantage.

Disgruntled Jets Fan •
If it’s so easy for opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly, why can’t Geno do it?

Yes, it is easy to get rid of the ball quickly. You’ve got to be accurate and make good decisions when you do though…

Muheldon Harroples • 2 days ago −
Why was Sapp released when the jets are so thin here? He’s gotten good pressure every time I have seen him in there. What is Alex Green doing for this team right now except getting garbage time snaps?

Green wasn’t even active for the last two games. Sapp was released because (a) they didn’t anticipate him getting picked up and planned to bring him back and (b) because he hasn’t been impressing them much on special teams, although I saw no major negatives in any of his special teams play this year and he did fine in his first Texans game on Sunday.

SackDance99 •
Okay, so Manuel was throwing quicker and the Jets’ regular defense wasn’t getting enough pressure, so how about blitzing more, especially up the middle?

I like the concept, but the inside linebackers blitzed 10 times between them and Manuel was 8 for 9 with two touchdowns.

Jetsfan29 •
How many deep balls has Cromartie given up this season? How does that compare to Milliner’s stats in that respect? It’s a shame the front seven’s talent is going to waste because of the secondary.

Here’s the best stat I can give you on Cromartie: He’s given up a pass of more than 25 yards in all but two of the 10 games so far. Last year, he only gave up a 25-yarder in four games.

Milliner has given up five deep balls, although he has of course played less than Cromartie.

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That’s it for this week. Thank you for your great questions and comments. I’ll be back to preview the Ravens game on Sunday morning, but before then I’ll be scouting Jermaine Cunningham, who was just added to the active roster.