BGA Extra: Jets at Dolphins

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. After the jump, I respond to your questions about Sunday’s game in Miami. 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.

Brad R.

I’m confused. We gave up 185 yds rushing, with over four yards a carry and two TDs to a team that has a rookie QB and no credible threat at WR besides Bess, a slot receiver, and yet on a individual basis you’ve concluded that the D-Line performed well except Po’uha and a rotational guy in Dixon who was cut after the game? Same for our two ILBs who, with the exception of a few plays, performed well v. the run?

We did stiffen up in the 2nd half after Bush went down, but nearly 200 yds rushing to a one-dimensional offense and yet DeVito, Wilkerson, Ellis and Bart all had good games?

No problem and I’m happy to clarify. First of all two of the worst players against the run were Pace and McIntyre, who as I mentioned were reponsible for some of the worst breakdowns on runs to the edge. Revis and Landry were also guilty of bad missed tackles in the running game, leading to big plays on which the linemen could not be faulted. The Jets have a disciplined running scheme where everyone usually remains in their lane, so it is quite possible for a guy like Wilkerson to do a great job on a play and force it to bounce to the outside, but then someone loses contain and the run is successful anyway.

It’s interesting that you point out my mention of the inside linebackers doing a good job except for a couple of plays, because that’s symptomatic of how the NFL works. On any given play, most players will do their job but where someone wins their matchup or makes a good read or cut, that’s what makes the difference. All players will have some bad plays and some good ones in any given game and it’s those that are the most consistent in terms of making more good plays than bad that become elite. On Sunday, as I mentioned, Bart more than made up for his breakdowns by affecting several plays, whereas Harris didn’t have as much of an impact, so was a net negative overall (especially when you rely on him to anchor the run defense). However, that’s not all his fault as the defensive line didn’t do as good of a job keeping blockers off him because Po’uha was single teamed as I mentioned.

On the day, Miami had 27 runs that went for four yards or less, so there were a lot of plays where the defense made a stop. As noted above, those players that I noted played well were not responsible for many of the breakdowns on the plays that were more successful than this, so that’s how I would rationalize them playing well, despite the bad numbers.

I’d also have to add that although Miami is one-dimensional, they have put up some impressive numbers in the first few games, so it does look like their running game is pretty formidable. Sure, a lot of that is attributable to Bush, but the other backs have looked good too and, as you noted, the run defense was better in the second half (less than four yards per carry). It definitely wasn’t a performance as good as they had in Pittsburgh, but the performance in that game gives me hope they’ll hopefully shut down all but the elite running attacks.


I’m amazed at the different perspectives you and Bassett have on Bart Scott. I also thought he had a good game and was surprised to read a post (that went up before BGA – D) in which Bassett wrote about the linebackers missing tackles “especially Scott – who seems to be grasping” ( I paraphrased what he wrote but I think it’s pretty close).

Also wondering what I think will be a pretty big topic soon – how do you think Revis’s injury changes the team’s position on resigning him? He probably still wants top dollar which I can’t imaging they want to give him after what Ryan called a “severe” injury, unless it’s very incentive driven. Thoughts?

In terms of Revis, hopefully I’ve covered that in my BGA on him (click the BGA tab at the top of the page to find this). Also, here’s a great article on that very subject from Jason at For Bart Scott, that’s as simple as things like missed tackles standing out in real time, but things like blowing up a play by taking out a blocker or redirecting a runner showing up on a closer inspection of the footage. His tackling was a lot better this week and I’m sure Bassett would agree that Bart has played well these last two weeks if he had time to go back over the footage in as much detail as I did. Ultimately the different perspectives are not just between me and Bassett, but me and most of the Jets Beat. BGA would be pretty redundant if I just parroted everything the beat writers say though!


Was wondering how many snaps Coples has seen this year and if those snaps are going to go up anytime soon. Frustrating to see us generating near no pass rush and we draft a guy to help that and he rides the bench. What do you think is Rex’s reasoning, maybe not picking up the defense or is Rex being a little to loyal to the vets?

I’m pretty confident about Coples, because he’s been doing a good job, even in those games where he didn’t play much. He had 32 snaps in game one and 16 in each of the next two. However, Rex explained away the lower snap count in the Steelers game by saying he wanted to give his bigger linemen lots of reps because they match up better with the Steelers’ linemen. Also, the snap count in the Miami game was apparently because he was ill all week which ate into his preparation time. There’s no reason to be concerned yet, because the players ahead of him are all good and it’s perhaps unrealisitic to expect him to be better or more consistent than any of them right away.


Is Pouncey that good or was Po’uha that bad? Numerous plays the middle of the Jets D got pushed back in that game…

Po’uha wasn’t that bad, it’s just a performance that stood out because I’m used to seeing him hold his own against double teams and dominate against single coverage. Most of the time he and Pouncey played to a standstill, but the fact that this was without needing to double team him freed up some of the other linemen to make impact blocks. I’ve always thought that Maurkice Pouncey was overrated, but I must say I was impressed with the younger model.


Could you break down the difference in pass pressure between the Jets using a 3 vs. 4 defensive line set and also the rushing yardage between the two. I don’t mean 4 defensive linemen with Mcintyre playing DE either…I mean four real linemen. I’d accept Pace as one of those 4. From my perspective the Jets seemed to fare a lot better in that game with 4 linemen vs. three.

In terms of pressure, there were ten plays where Tannehill was under pressure. Seven of these came from a play where the Jets had a four man front and three from when they had a three man front. However, if you want me not to count Garrett McIntyre as a DE even when he had his hand down, then he was in at DE on two of those four man fronts that generated a pressure (including one where he generated that pressure himself). So, if those two plays count as three man fronts under your criteria, that makes it five each. If you also want me to treat Aaron Maybin as a linebacker even when he had his hand down, then he was in on the other five plays with a four man front, so that would mean they generated NO pressure from a four DE front by your criteria, although that would also mean that they weren’t in a four DE front very often.

In terms of rushing yardage, Miami had 20 carries for 91 yards against a three (or fewer) man front and exactly the same number of carries and yards against a four man front. Once again, if you wanted to treat McIntyre as a linebacker even when he had his hand down, there were only three running plays where they had a four DE front – gaining 10 yards. Maybin was never in a four man front on a running play.


I am not sure how you define missed tackles but it seemed like the Jets line missed a lot more then two to me.

I was using the PFF numbers because using my own numbers would give me a set of data which was created on a different set of criteria to their numbers and would therefore prevent me from being able to use that data in comparison with their overall numbers for other teams and other seasons. I do know that PFF has very clearly defined and painstakingly applied criteria for things like missed tackles and drops and this has been arrived at following numerous discussions with their analysts and sources within NFL teams. I actually said that the front seven combined for two missed tackles, not the defensive line. Pace and Scott were credited with one each, so the linemen had none. However, in my own film analysis, I noted two for Wilkerson and one each for Pace, McIntyre and Harris. I didn’t note one for Scott, but I went back to the film for the one they identified and it was on 3rd and 8 just before the missed field goal in OT – he whacked into the runner at the line and he fell forward for a short gain while a few other guys fell on him. While my criteria is usually stricter, that’s not something I would have counted as a missed tackle.

How many inaccurate vs. accurate passes Sanchez threw when he was off balance vs when he was able to set and step into the throw? Seems to me he has trouble throwing accurately off balance and that he was off balance a lot in this game because of the constant pressure…

Funnily enough, Sanchez was actually pretty good under pressure for a change. He had a 60% completion rate and a 93.5 QB rating. Anyway, of the passes I would characterize as good throws, I would describe him as having been off-balance on two of them. However, there was one where he was hit after he threw, one where he had to step up first and one where he had to move in the pocket. Of the throws I would characterize as poor, he was off-balance on four of them, plus there were two where he was hit after he released the throw. There were 14 good and 14 bad throws and I did not review the other throws (things like routine dump offs or throw aways) that did not belong in either category.


Why is Sparano using Tebow as a receiver or tight end? Is the defense really getting confused? I’m assuming he is in there as a decoy and I think it’s stupid that they are making him run routes.

I don’t know if he’s a decoy or if he’s actually shown an ability to make plays from that position in practice, but neither does any other team. Obviously he has to run routes to be a convincing decoy and for now he’s been occupying a defender. If he can be serviceable in that kind of role, it would add a dimension to the wildcat by making it easier to transition to. For now, we wait.


It looked to me that during the 1st half, Marshall was playing tight man coverage on Holmes, and like last week, Holmes struggled to defeat it. He drew penalties, but couldn’t consistently get open. It also looked to me like the Dolphins switched to a zone later in the game, and Holmes started doing more damage. Was this true?

Marshall was matched up with Holmes pretty much the whole time, which is a departure from Miami’s gameplan over the last few weeks which has seen Sean Smith take one side and Marshall the other. The taller Smith never matched up with Holmes. They did play some zone and Holmes did do some damage against that, but he did do plenty of damage on Marshall too, including that big play in overtime.


If you get the all-22 footage (I don’t remember if you do or not), can you comment on the route running? I think it was juunit who said he was at the game and that the receivers were running poor routes in general, especially those who were not targeted. If that’s true, I wonder if that doesn’t give the play away sometimes. The guy running hard is the one who’s getting the ball.

I do get the All-22, but it isn’t available until midweek, by which time I’ve already done such a pretty comprehensive review of what happened for Monday’s BGA that I typically don’t gain too much additional information from it, because I’ve become pretty adept at figuring out what goes on off the screen based on how they line up and where they end up. There were some issues with route running that were apparent without even needing the coaches film, but these were sloppiness or miscommunications rather than laziness. While I do see some guys going through the motions on their routes, it’s usually only in a situation where there is a handoff or an immediate pass the other way and they were never likely to be an option, nor would there be time for a defender to read their lack of enthusiasm and react to it. I am constantly on the look out for receivers running routes where they don’t go at full speed or make no attempt to look back at the ball, but it’s not something I saw obvious evidence of this week. I expect everyone knows there is playing time up for grabs and only really Holmes and Kerley’s spots in the rotation are secure.


Can you tell us how many 3 vs 4 man fronts the Dolphins showed? Also, can you mention how many 3 vs 4 man fronts the Jets showed?

Miami played four man fronts basically all the time (not including goal line situations). There were only four plays where they had a three man front. By my count, the Jets were in a 3-4 on 27 plays, goal line defense three times, nickel 23 times, dime 9 times and 4-3 on 23 plays. Obviously they were in four man fronts on some of the nickel packages too – by my count 15. That makes a total of 38 four man fronts in 85 plays, with three with more than four and 44 with three or less.


I don’t understand how the receivers can still be so sloppy in their route running. These guys (for the most part) have had training camp, practices, multiple preseason games, and now 3 regular season games, and yet it seems like every time Sanchez throws an interception, it’s partially his fault, but also the fault of a bad route run by the receiver. Is this something that we’re just going to have to deal with? Or are these problems that will presumably be lessened as the season goes on and people get into a groove?

I can’t give a stronger answer than “hopefully it’s the latter” right now, but to be fair to Sanjay Lal, he is in his first season as a Jet and two of his guys are inexperienced route runners (Gates and Hill) – although I am actually encourtaged by what I’ve seen from Hill in that domain so far.


If the team should in the future decide it’s time to move on from Sanchez, at what point can they realistically (financially) do so?

The guaranteed money at the end of this year is $8m. However, his salary is higher than that, so if they were to draft a replacement, they might save enough money to bear the year one cap hit on a rookie contract, even for a top five pick. There would be some other dead money though, but the immediate effect of this could be lessened by treating it as a June 1st cut. If Sanchez continues to be inconsistent rather than consistently poor, then $8m of guarantees probably isn’t even an untradeable contract, so they might even be able to clear most of his cap number.


Do you think the Greene’s inability to take advantage of the power blocking scheme fully accounts for his looking so much like a below average RB right now? Personally, I don’t buy the “he’s always been a slow starter” angle and I never liked it for the O-line either. Seems like a cop out to me. In a sport where you only have 16 regular season games, slow starters ought to spend more time on the bench.

I think there is certainly some truth to the fact that it takes the offensive line a while to gel when they introduce a new player or change up the scheme and Greene’s slow start last year was very closely aligned with how well the offensive line performed. However, yes, what I’m seeing this year suggests that he is struggling to adjust to the different decision making reads required in this system and Rex’s comments seem to back that up. We’ll just have to wait and see if this is something he can improve at or if he’s just a bad fit, but right now Powell has looked like a better option.


Could you review the tape to see the percentage of running plays where the offensive line as a whole created a forward surge or a nice gap at the point of attack? I have to imagine it’s a low percentage. And conversely (using the same accounting system) how well Miami’s offensive line did? Also, do you have access to “point of first contact” beyond the LOS for both offenses? That number comparison may also be informative.

Rather than review the film, since I had a series of time-consuming film questions this week, I’ll go to my data from the game. Remembering that Miami had 43 running plays and the Jets just 33, I tracked 16 plays where at least one Jets defensive lineman was driven back off the line or out of a play – although on some of those, there may have been a Jets player that got penetration. How many times did I track a Jets offensive lineman driving a Dolphins lineman back or out of a play? Just nine. That’s 27% compared to 37% for Miami.

Now this data might not be a perfect comparison because I was looking at it from the Jets’ perspective each time, but hopefully it does serve to illustrate your point.

The numbers for point of first contact on running plays seems to bear this out as you expected. Miami – 1.7 yards, Jets 1.3 yards.


One other area I’d appreciate your thoughts on are the “bounce outside runs”. It seems that successful running teams intentionally design running plays that start off in between the tackles and then “bounce” outside catching the defense flat footed – Bush, Spiller, Rice and others do this particularly well. There was one successful run by Greene where this happened, but it seemed not by design, but more improvisational. Why don’t the Jets do more of this? Is it due to not having the right players (speed & agility vs power), not believing in the scheme, something else?

I think those are all possible reasons. I think the scheme is designed for that to happen (after all, didn’t Miami do it to the Jets a few times last year? So, yes, it comes down to the players and once again it shines the spotlight on Greene’s struggles to make the right read. I’ve seen Powell and McKnight have more success bouncing it to the outside in preseason and in the regular season.


Did the Steelers and Dolphins defend Hill differently from the Bills, or is his lack of production more attributable to his mistakes?

The Steelers definitely did – they gave him a lot more attention and were physical with him. As a result, he was barely targeted. The Dolphins took their chances, a lot like the Bills did and at least five of the incompletions thrown his way could have been successful plays if not for a bad route or an inability to haul in a catchable pass.


This has been going on for a while now. Good teams have this problem once or twice a game, but the Jets have consistently not been on the same page. This offense has been awful. There, I said it. Why is it so hard for them to move the ball?

I blame Schotty.


It’s a record breaking week for BGA this week. I’ll be back with yet another BGA on Jonathan Grimes tonight. In case you’ve missed any of the other five articles I’ve written this week, click the BGA tab at the top of the page to browse through them.