BGA Extra: Jets at Falcons

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 Titans. 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.

Dmike
Would love to see BGA analysis of offensive play calling and whether Falcons were really caught out of position by the multiple formations as Gruden suggested on TV. Personally, I thought this was the best play calling in a Jets game in over a decade. Great variety, playing to players strengths.

This was definitely a factor, with the best example being when Jeff Cumberland found himself matched up with an undrafted rookie and was able to run past him for an easy touchdown as he never got his head turned around. They used the same formations we’ve been seeing all season, but perhaps weighted towards more of the “special” formations that they’ve been using and with plenty of personnel changes from one play to the next. They have versatile enough personnel to run those formations without making changes but the constant changes were obviously designed to get the Falcons to struggle to match up.

However, while I don’t want to criticize the play calling, it’s definitely true that the play selection will always look better when the execution is on point. No drops, no penalties (other than three pre-snap penalties) and a quarterback who was extremely efficient will always make the play selection look good. While fans have a lot more patience with Mornhinweg than they had when Schottenheimer and Sparano wore out their welcome, he’d be getting less praise if there had been drives stalling due to drops, bad reads and holding penalties.

To some extent, I would imagine the balance and timing of the plays being called and the fact that plenty of key players were involved contributes to the execution being good, which there were often problems with under the previous two coordinators. Perhaps Mornhinweg deserves more of the credit in that case.

a57se
Two things on Geno’s incompletions;
1. You didn’t mention the fact that Geno had a wide open Cumberland on a Post pattern on the first miss to the RB. That post pattern was a set-up play by Marty from the formation they used on that play and the play action pass worked to perfection but Geno didn’t see it. I don’t think MM was happy with that decision.
2. The throw to Kerley down the right sideline against a cover-2 look was a very poor throw. The only way to get that ball in there is to DRIVE it in and Geno threw it like it was a fade route.

I wouldn’t say that Smith “didn’t see” Cumberland. It looks more like he didn’t anticipate the fact he was going to be open well enough. Had Smith released the pass so that it was on its way before Cumberland turned back to look for it, then the play would have been successful, but a split second hesitation was enough to mean that the option was no longer open to him because Brian Winters got beaten inside and there was no way Smith could step into the throw. I can’t really fault him for choosing to throw it to Goodson though – that was an easy first down if he didn’t rush the throw.

Let’s look at the coaches film:

Here you can see, Smith has executed the play action fake and this is the point at which he had shifted his weight to his front foot. Had he pulled the trigger here, the play might have been successful, but Cumberland isn’t looking back for the ball yet and it’s not entirely clear that he’ll be open, although the safety is on his heels to some extent.

This is only a split second later, but the first point at which Cumberland looks back for the ball. As you can see, Smith has already transferred his weight to his back foot, having sensed that pressure is on its way. It’s now too late for him to make that throw down the middle.

Here’s where it’s definitely apparent that Cumberland was open but the pressure is on Smith and he makes a good decision to an open receiver, just blows the throw. From the isolated shot that they showed on television, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that Smith had a very limited window to decide whether or not to pull the trigger and, after the Titans fiasco, it’s difficult to blame him for taking the safer option.

As for the throw to Kerley, he was hit as he threw so it wasn’t ever going to be easy to get much zip on that pass. As I said in BGA, he could have easily underthrown that, so I give him credit just for getting enough on it. I also used to feel that Sanchez put too much air under his deep balls sometimes too.

a57se
I know it is hard to do, but how would you project Winters performance onto playing against some of the studs Vlad had to deal with?

With all the obvious caveats that PFF grades are more of an efficency rating and don’t account for difficulty of assignment etc, let’s use those to make some kind of a projection.

Since Vince Wilfork’s season ended prematurely (and Ducasse handled that assignment well anyway), let’s leave him out of the equation and just consider Gerald McCoy, Jurrell Casey and Kyle Williams, then compare that to who Winters faced this week. This is an inexact science, because those guys weren’t always matched up with Ducasse, but let’s go with it anyway.

McCoy, Casey and Williams have a combined 39.9 grade in 14 games, including 10.9 in the three games against Ducasse. That means they averaged 3.6 in the games against Ducasse and 2.9 overall. That makes Ducasse slightly worse than average. Interestingly, most of that is due to McCoy’s week one grade, which was actually compiled against a variety of players with Ducasse doing a pretty good job. Ducasse actually did better than average (in terms of the PFF grade comparison) against Williams/Casey, despite grading out so poorly in those games.

For Winters, the Perry/Babineaux/Peters three man rotation had a +1.2 grade on Monday night. Their composite grade in the other four games was -2.6 (or -0.7 on average). So, certainly below average for that one game, but perhaps not dramatically so.

Like I said, it’s an inexact science, but I do agree that Winters would probably have struggled worse than Ducasse did in some of those matchups. However, he should hopefully improve given time and if he can keep the mistakes and penalties to a minimum over the next few weeks, he’ll still be in the lineup to face a tough test in the shape of Geno Atkins.

a57se
I think the Jets were trying to protect Hill out there and used him as a decoy for the first 58 minutes. Any thoughts on that?

I thought that was a possibility as the game was going on. I can’t really comment, because he contributes by running clear-out routes all the time anyway, so other than not running any plays with him as the primary read, it’s difficult to know whether they deliberately did that or if it was just a matter of Smith having only thrown 16 passes before the final drive. On that final drive, it was good to see Hill come up big, with two routine catches, where you could imagine some receivers being cold or out of rhythm having not been targeted all day.

Tk
What happened to Stephen Hill last night for the first 3.5 quarters? Double teamed, concussion, just couldn’t get open? I’m waiting for this guy to show signs of breaking out against a team not named the Bills.

As noted above, there wasn’t anything obvious here. Whether they were using him as a decoy by design or just from the fact that the underneath coverage was not as good as the downfield coverage, they did complete several passes to his side of the field after he had drawn defensive attention from that option, including both first half touchdowns.

Bdarc23
It appeared that the Cumberland and the WRs had several plays where they were wide open. Did the Jets get more open this week and was this just a case of the Jets playing a bad secondary?

Part of it was due to a bad secondary and another part of it was just the fact that the times they were open stood out more because Geno usually spotted it and made the throw. Obviously he threw the ball a lot less than in some previous games, so there were fewer plays to look at and that might have meant that there weren’t as many plays with an open receiver in total, albeit perhaps more as a percentage.

spindoctor
Will there be a BGA coaching? Why not go for the 2 points in the 4th quarter? Also, the early Jet challenge was a poor decision.

With any two point conversion, there’s a downside and I feel that 12 minutes is probably too early to go for two, unless it’s (a) a low scoring game, (b) you have a really good red zone offense or (c) it’s a complete no-brainer because you’re down 10 or down two. There was a double-edged downside here, as follows:

1. If the Jets went for it and failed, then the Falcons scored two touchdowns as they did, they’d have gone for two on the second one and a successful conversion would have meant Folk’s kick at the end merely tied the game at 29-29 and sent it to overtime. Everyone would be saying “Why didn’t Rex just kick that one earlier?”

2. Similarly, after the Falcons cut the lead to 27-21, a Jets field goal would likely have iced the game because it would have been 30-21 and therefore a two possession game. Had the Jets gone for two and failed, then that field goal would make it 29-21 and the Falcons could tie the game in regulation. Again, everyone would be saying “Why didn’t Rex just kick that earlier extra point?”

Of course, had either of those things happened, I’d be saying that Rex obviously went for two because he didn’t want the Falcons to be able to take the lead with two converted touchdowns. I do get the reason why everyone would have preferred to go for two, but it isn’t as clear-cut as it seems.

The challenge certainly looked like a waste, but I’ll be honest and say that you didn’t get a clear enough view to tell whether or not it was worth challenging, so I was angling for them to challenge at the time. Had there been a slight bobble, it might have wiped out a 46-yard play, so with that being imperceptible from the look we got, maybe it was worth a try, especially since Rex was considering taking a timeout anyway to regroup.

Kirk the Jerk
I’d like to know how you think the refs did this game. I don’t think they called an especially unbalanced game, but remember seeing some missed holding calls and thought that, other than Cromartie holding onto Jones’ wrist, they could have kept a few flags thrown downfield in their pockets.

The referees definitely seemed fair in this one and it seemed like the Jets were, at long last, starting to earn their respect as the game went along. There was a couple of calls that could have gone either way, but nothing like the one-sided officiating so far this season where all such calls (and several obvious ones) seem to have gone against the Jets.

Bdarc23
I’m curious about that offensive pass interference on the Falcons. Was that a good call? It looked like the Jets got a big break but they only showed one replay on it I think.

There were actually two, but both calls were correct, in my view. They also missed a blatant one by Gonzalez on Lankster. I disagree with Gruden’s claims that the officials should let them play which came on a deep ball to Julio Jones where Cromartie was step for step with him and Jones very clearly shoved him back just before the ball arrived. I am, however, a little surprised that they made that call, given the fact that Jones didn’t make the catch anyway. The call on Cromartie (which again didn’t matter because the ball was caught) was absolutely the right call.

__fense
Doesn’t Mangold call out the offensive line protections? On the play that Osi was unblocked, Gruden went out of his way to blame Geno for it, but in the past that hasn’t been the QB’s job like it is on other teams. Did Mangold stop doing that when they went to Geno, or was that always the QB’s responsibility, or what?

It’s always difficult to know whose responsibility plays like that are, despite the fact Gruden was resolute in blaming Smith. The rhetoric has always been that Mangold “helped Mark Sanchez out with line-calls” rather than necessarily making them all himself. I would imagine he helps Smith just as much, but Gruden is probably right that even if Mangold would make the initial calls, it would be Smith’s job to change up the protection. Even if it isn’t, Smith still has a responsibility in terms of being aware of who is blocking who and where the rush is coming from, so that he can either evade any unblocked rusher or get the ball out before they arrive.

These are the things beat writers should be asking players, not leading questions about how many targets a player got.

Bdarc23
Can Winters hold up against a good DL? After reading this BGA I am suddenly concerned that his up and down night would have been a lot worse against an above average defensive line.

You’re right to be concerned. They can scheme around him to some extent – which wasn’t really something they did with Ducasse, who was often left to his own devices – but this will impact upon the efficiency of the rest of the linemen. The next two teams the Jets face don’t have elite line play, so hopefully his comfort level and confidence will improve in time for the looming meeting with Geno Atkins.

GhostofBrowningNagle
What % of dropbacks were roll outs (either designed or necessitated) to the right? I feel like I see Geno rolling to his right a lot, but I realize it could just be me focusing on only those plays.

He ran to the right on his first dropback, but that could almost be considered a read option play. Other than that, he only rolled right once – on the Winslow touchdown pass. He was flushed out of the pocket and ran to the left three times.

RONBO19
If you look at that third incompletion thrown to Kerley it appeared to me that he was at least held if not interfered with by the corner who was in the trail position. (I believe it was Trufant). Now I know those calls can go either way and there is always gonna be hand fighting, but in view of how they called other close ones late in the game (the Julio Jones offensive interference and Cromartie on the very next play), I felt the officiating was inconsistent at best.

I was all set to disagree with this, because I noticed nothing wrong at the time, but you’re right. It was pass interference. As you can see, he’s holding Kerley’s arm back long before the ball arrived and he went on to push off as it did. There was no way Kerley was going to catch the ball (which hit William Moore in the helmet) but Trufant didn’t know that because he never looked back. Here’s the evidence:

DarrolRayFanClub
[There was a] play where he had Cumby one on one and open before the rush hit Geno — would love to know if Geno is locked in on the right side of the field too much (not that it affected his game this week, but teams will notice this).

He does seem to have had a lot more success throwing to his right and the numbers bear this out. Having said that, his success might have more to do with the fact that Justin Rogers was playing on the left (and he was targeting him) and Alterann Verner was playing on the right (and he was perhaps avoiding him). He did have a nice downfield completion to Kerley in the first half down the left.

He is 22-33-361 throwing to his right (with three touchdowns and one interception) but only 15-26-217 throwing left (with no touchdowns and three interceptions).

BPP
How do you assess Howard’s performance so far this year? It seems like he isn’t really making big blocks in the running game and hasn’t improved much from last year? Do you think the Jets should extend him?

He’s off to a way better start than last year. This was about the point at which he turned things around. If you’ll recall, he really struggled for about the first month and then really settled down. Now, I’m wondering is the post-struggles Howard the Howard we’re going to see all year long or is there even a possibility he will raise his game again as the season progresses.

He’s doing terrific in pass protection (one sack and 12 total pressures, on course to fall well short of last year’s 10 sacks and 51 total pressures). In terms of the running game, I’m inclined to agree that he’s not making as much of an impact as he did last year, especially in the second half of the season, but hopefully now they have a full compliment of backs he can start to pick things up.

Some of the difference comes from the change in scheme. Howard’s bread and butter last year was the trap up the middle, but Mornhinweg doesn’t use that (or, at least, hasn’t so far). Also, they run a lot of draw plays, where the tackles aren’t integral to the success of the play, because they just have to act like it’s a pass play and allow their man to get upfield. There are still areas where Howard could improve, but I’m thrilled with how consistently he’s playing and to answer your question, yes, they need to lock him up to an extension. If they wait too long, he’s going to be pretty expensive.

Iain Bartholomew
Looked to me like the Kerley incompletion ought to have been flagged for fouls against both defenders on first glance. The corner was clearly interfering with JK and the safety’s hit looked aggressive and violent. What did you see there?

As noted, I didn’t think so initially, but you’re right about the cornerback. I don’t think there was anything wrong with Moore’s hit, as he led with his hands, so it was more of a push and timed fairly.

iJets
I remember seeing the SNY post-game interview with Colon. According to Colon, Winters has a bright future. Do you agree?

I hope so. It’s took early to pass judgment right now and obviously Colon is going to support his teammate. I’ve always thought he looked pretty raw technically, based on the college footage I watched, and I suspected he wouldn’t win the starting job out of camp. However, it looks like that’s his role to lose for the time being, so hopefully he can improve on the job.

DSmizzle
Would you rather live during the ascendancy of a civilization or during its decline?

I’m actually going to try and answer this, so you’re not going to get the answer I suspect you were hoping for.

Applying this question to sports, it’s obviously more fun to root for a team with a lot of promising youngsters than one which is getting old and seeing its window as a contender close.

There’s no parity in civilization, though. It’s not like the Commissioner of the World (this should totally be my job, by the way) is going to give Greece and Iceland all the best workers and concessions on their trade conditions to enable them to bounce back from just having gone bust.

NYImpact414
Why wasn’t Winslow a bigger part of the gameplan?

He only played 20 snaps, having played almost 50 snaps per game in the first four weeks. This is likely because he wasn’t healthy all week – he was apparently a gametime decision. However, I’ve made reference to the fact that Cumberland and Winslow’s catches have come in bunches, so I’m going to represent that in chart form.

What this chart represents is how many catches Winslow (blue) and Cumberland (red) have made in each quarter so far this season. As you can see, both have had droughts and, in fact, there’s only one quarter where both of them had a catch – the fourth quarter of the Titans game.

ShriekMan
Why are the Jets TEs not a bigger factor for the Jets? They did have a TD catch each and Cumberland had 2 other catches. But, it would seem like they should have dominated an injured Atlanta LB corps. Is it play calling or maybe an inexperienced QB?

As noted above, they’ve been in and out of the game plan. Interestingly, although Atlanta is ranked 31st against the pass by Football Outsiders, perhaps covering tight ends is not where their weakness lies – they are ranked 13th against tight ends.

juunit
Seemed to me like there was a lot more variation in the offense this week. Thoughts?

I touched on this above, with the extra personnel changes, but Gruden also made a good point that Mornhinweg probably scripted out the first set of plays and that would be where they had a lot of different looks. Then, you end up in the portion of the game where you go with what’s been working, attack any perceived weaknesses and so on. That’s the point at which the offense can become bogged down. However, when you only run 47 plays, maybe that serves to keep things more varied, because now those 25-30 “special plays” represent close to two-thirds of your offense, instead of one-third like it normally would.

shibben
What were Geno’s stats by quarter? I feel like he only had 5 pass attempts in the second half, and I know he was 4/4 on the final drive. Did Geno only have 1 pass attempt from the start of the second quarter through the final drive?

Geno was eight-of-nine at the half. Here are the splits:

First: 4-4-30
Second: 4-5-104-2TD
Third: 2-5-17
Fourth: 6-6-48-TD

shibben
I have two game management issues: 1. Why did the Jets use their TO’s on the final drive. The clock was ticking down so surely Atlanta was going to use their last 2 TO’s if the Jets gave them a second to call it. 2. The Jets punted to give the ball back to the Falcons for the Falcons last scoring drive in the 4th qtr. They were trying to run time off the clock but the punted when the play clock was only down to 12 secs, why wouldn’t the Jets want to let the rest of those crucial late game seconds to tick off?

There’s always a bit of cat and mouse at the end of the game, as the two coaches will try to strike a balance between leaving the other team too much time and not allowing them to run the clock down completely. It was obvious that the Falcons had enough time to score on their last drive, so maybe those 12 seconds were more valuable to the Jets, in terms of having 12 seconds more to answer in the event the Falcons took the lead. Like the two-point conversion question, you can see it either way with hindsight.

westcoastjet
I watched the Falcons/Pats game the previous week and I swear they were double jamming Gonzalez at the line and never drawing a penalty. Did those jams look any different to you, if you watched that game?

I did notice them doing the same sort of thing – and that might be something that Zach Sudfeld was able to advise the Jets on, because their starting defense probably did that to him while he was working with the scout team. He likely would have played the Tony Gonzalez role in practice.

I can’t be objective about the Patriots, but what I will say is that what David Harris was doing was right on the limit in terms of holding and probably a little excessive. Also – that “phantom” flag that negated Demario Davis’ fourth down pass breakup and nearly cost the Jets the game? Absolutely the right call. Harris was clearly trying to contact the receiver until five yards and then release him, but the line of scrimmage was the seven and a half yard line and he released Gonzalez at the one yard line. That’s illegal contact at least and I’m not surprised they called a hold instead, given that this is what Harris was doing – and beyond five yards.

David from Haifa
In the three games we won, the Jets DL has taken advantage of the opponent’s OL problems. In the two games we lost, the opposing OL was very good. How many projected games will the Jets win if based solely on present OL performance of our future opponents? Furthermore, with the Steelers coming off a bye week, how well will they have fixed their OL troubles?

I like this question a lot. Question of the week, David, well done!

Let’s use PFF’s ratings. There’s one slight flaw in that the Titans, by virtue of the Jets game and the Chiefs game this week have had two down weeks in a row and actually dropped below Tampa Bay into 18th, but they were higher rated at the time when the Jets faced them. Tampa Bay is actually up in 15th, but they’ve gone up the list in the last few weeks since Carl Nicks’ return.

Atlanta and Buffalo are 5th and 6th worst. Those teams below them include just one future opponent – the Ravens – but then you have the Bills again too, so that’s two more wins. If we assume the Jets can’t beat anyone rated above Tampa, then that means the Saints, Patriots, Panthers and Bengals games will be losses. So we’re at five wins and six losses with the other five games determining the final record.

Those other five games are against the Steelers (16th), Raiders (19th), Dolphins twice (21st) and Browns (22nd). So, if you want to be super optimistic and say that they’ll beat anyone with a worse offensive line than the Bucs, that gets them to 10-6.

The Steelers’ biggest issue is probably that Pouncey is out for the season, which is not something they can fix (although he is a bit overrated and Velasco is probably not much of a downgrade). Their biggest issue in pass protection has been Mike Adams, but they’ve benched him and Kelvin Beachum will start in his place (they also traded for Levi Brown, but he’s never been an upgrade over anyone). Beachum hasn’t played left tackle before, but was a slightly below average right tackle for the Steelers last year, so who knows how he’ll far? They’re not that great in the running game, either, but having Heath Miller helps.

muhammad_wilkerson
This is an opinion question, but how possible do you feel it would be for the Jets to have both the OROY (Geno) and the DROY (Boss) this year?

That would be incredible, but I’m anticipating that Smith will continue to have his ups and downs so it would be surprising if he can be consistent enough to contend for that award.

Marcus
[Nick Folk’s low touchback number] was due to coaching last year, no? My feeling was that Westy felt like he could game the system by forcing high, returnable kicks, rather than going for the touchback, and perhaps Ben disagrees.

Partly, although I believe Kotwica does subscribe to that same philosophy at times because Folk did hang one up by the goal line and it seemed to be a higher kick than the rest, presumably by design.

There is no question that Folk’s leg strength has improved since he arrived. In 2010, before the rule change, he had just seven touchbacks, with five of them at altitude in Denver. Prior to that, he was replaced by a kickoff specialist in Dallas.

MrBlint
Can you tell if Wilkerson was held on the shovel pass? It looked like he tried to turn an put up a hand but someone had his arm.

I don’t think you’ll ever get that call because Wilkerson was pretty much engaged with a blocker, so offensive pass interference isn’t a question and the only way you can have a hold is if he’s prevented from actually getting to the receiver by an obvious hold. It seemed like a fair block by Blalock.

SteveL
Why wouldn’t the Jets go for two when they scored to go up 12 points in the 4th? They nearly lost because of kicking the extra point and I know Marty would have had a special conversion play up his sleeve.

Hopefully I’ve answered that above, but I wonder what play Mornhinweg would have called. As I said in BGA, I wasn’t really a fan of the Winslow play with Richardson in the backfield, because there was little margin for error and the possibility of a screw-up from Richardson.

juunit
We have played 5 teams so far. In 3 games, the other team didn’t score a lot. In the other two, they did. In the 2 games that they did, those were the only times the other team was capable of completing simple, open passes. In the other 3 games, we played Josh Freeman (cut after week 3), Tom Brady (neutered with nobody to throw to) and EJ Manuel (rookie who really hasn’t been good.) It seemed obvious to me through the first 3 games that we were simply coming away somewhat lucky in that our opponents’ passing games were very bad. This has only been backed up by the back to back performances against the Titans and the Falcons. At what point do we begin to worry about the secondary?

I think it’s fair to worry about the pass defense but pinning everything on the secondary is a step too far. As noted, Ryan was 13-of-14 when targeting Harris and Davis. I’d also say that while I like the individual talent in the secondary, there have been quite a few coverage mix-ups which are more to do with the scheme. Hopefully those will get ironed out over the course of the season.

I’m not down on the personnel they have out there in the defensive backfield, but it would be nice if any of them could catch.

jetsfann
I’m a firm believer in coaches get too much credit for a win and too much blame in a loss, however, I thought Monday was an exception. Not so much on defense where we played two high safeties and kept the game in front of us. However, I think Marty deserves a game ball over the likes of Geno and Wilkerson. Schottenheimer definitely had his faults but I don’t think I’ve seen a more creative, thought-out, and well executed offensive gameplan since the Mangini/Schottenheimer days. Am I crazy or was that just AWESOME?

It’s fun to watch, that’s for sure, but as I said earlier, everything looks better with good execution. Whatever Marty is doing seems to be breeding that good execution though, so let’s hope it continues.

LIJetsFan
You reported that McIntyre came in when Barnes got hurt and seems to play ok. Thinking back on it thought the D start to give it up just about the same time that Barnes left. Do you think that is just a coincidence? How much of the D letdown was due to them being gassed vs. them missing Barnes contributions?

As the game was going on I was noticing how gassed everyone was looking and lamenting the fact that they had one less fresh body to throw at them. Also, while McIntyre had a couple of pressures, Barnes is arguably a step faster and maybe those could have been sacks or otherwise forced the throw to be rushed a bit more if it were him bringing the heat instead.

F 16
For years it seems like the Jet’s go into somewhat of a prevent defense whenever they have a lead in the fourth quarter. The big problem I have with this is it always creates a nail biter. Time and time again a team like NE kills us with this theory. My question is, if you have the time, how many times did we blitz in the first quarter as opposed to the forth? Hate to use them as a reference, but NE could be up by ten points with 4 minutes left in the game and their still blitzing. If it’s not broke don’t fix it right?

You may be surprised to note that they blitzed just once in the first quarter and 13 times overall. The only blitz saw Harris come along with the front four on the play that Walls dropped. They blitzed five times in the fourth quarter, but obviously Atlanta ran a lot of plays and nearly all of them were passes.

The theory behind the prevent defense is obviously that you don’t want to give up a big play so that the clock is running out while the other team tries to get back into it.

DSmizzle
You say Coples might not be fully recovered and while that’s true, I thought he’s been getting a great pass rush at least a handful of times each game. Twice the previous two weeks, it looked like he almost succeeded in jumping over a blocking back en route to the QB. Do you recall those plays? I’ve come to view him as a potential monster pass rusher based on what I’ve seen from wherever he’s lined up. Do you see what I see?

Coples is definitely a handful, but the two times when the pass rusher hurdled the running back it was actually Antwan Barnes. I even made a GIF of one of them!

Lam Jones
Regarding Jarret, he looked very good; would you attribute the improvement to role, experience, or coaching? We hear a lot of the defensive players say that Rex’s philosophy is if you are going to make mistakes, make them at full speed. I guess the question is, do you think JJ is an every down player on the make or this year’s version of Aaron Maybin?

Probably the biggest factor is that the Eagles’ system just didn’t suit him and this one does. I like his potential so far, but he was out of position a couple of times, so he’s not the finished article yet.

levi
Josh Bush is probably the best cover Safety on the team. Do you think that’s why he was in there more against the pass happy Falcons? If so I guess he will be getting a larger role with some of the teams coming up on the schedule.

Rex did say it was to do with matchups. I don’t think we can say what Josh Bush is yet, because I’d need to see more than we’ve seen of him so far to make any kind of assessment, but he did well enough on Monday.

MaynardFan
Was our defense causing Matt Ryan to make all those checks on the line? Or does he do that every game no matter how vanilla the defense presents itself?

He does do that habitually, but the Jets obviously disguise looks and mismatch personnel more than most teams, so I’d imagine he had to make more adjustments on the fly than usual.

By the way, Matt, we know “52’s the Mike”, it says so on the depth chart!

McGeorge
Is it my imagination or do the jets not have incredible depth on the Dline? The non-starters are very good and some would start on other teams.

Yes, although they’ve had really good depth on the line for a few years now. I love how Ellis and Douzable are playing, and obviously Harrison – who wasn’t even expected to start – has exceeded all expectations.

Mr.Sanchez
What are your thoughts on how the Jets secondary is struggling now that other teams are forced to focus on the pass rather than running the ball against our d-line, which used to be suspect?

Was the Jets’ run defense ever that bad? Last year they gave up a monster game to the 49ers which was a bit of an anomaly because a good proportion of the yardage came from read-option, wildcat and end arounds. Other than that, they stuffed a lot of teams and their average per carry was middle of the pack. The Titans game at the end of the year sticks out, where Chris Johnson broke one 94-yard run, but otherwise averaged one yard per carry. In 2011, they had the 6th lowest yards per carry in the league and in 2010, they were 3rd. Maybe teams are passing more because the Jets aren’t getting blown out as often.

BubbyBristerShovelPass
My son and I were discussing during the game about that TD throw that Geno made over the outstretched arm of the defender to Kellen Winslow. In your opinion, does Sanchez complete that throw if he was playing? I’ve never seen Mark throw a ball that way…they were calling it a “teardrop” on the broadcast.

I just want you to know that I just watched a ton of Sanchez highlights just so I could find a similar play to hit you with…but couldn’t. So, I guess I’ll say “no”.

Better question: Does Keller catch that?

a57se
I wasn’t disappointed with Coples performance, Atlanta gave him some extra attention and the quick pass offense was the ONLY thing Atlanta could do to try and move the ball. The Dline might have been better served trying to fill the passing lanes and batting down passes like Boss Hogg did on one play…any thoughts on that?

I’ve remarked in the past that the Jets linemen, particularly Wilkerson, Douzable and (although he’s now gone) Garay work so hard at their hand fighting to try and get off blocks that it can mean they don’t get their hands up to deflect passes. That’s perhaps the one thing they could improve upon – looking to get in the passing lanes when they’re obviously not going to get “home”.

a57se
Would a safety have been more effective on Gonzo over the top and a LB in trail rather then a zone defense? That was SO frustrating watching him catch ball after ball.

They may have tried that, but the safeties were needed to help out with the Falcons’ weapons at wide receiver. I’m sure Ryan would have just attacked a single safety look with his receivers instead.

It’s like when teams try to stop the Jets defensive line, you have to pick your poision. Can’t double team everyone. Sometimes you just have to let Michael Jordan get his and do what you can to limit the damage from Pippen, Paxson and Grant.

Chris R
Is it me or in the Rex Ryan era we cannot hold onto a lead with less then five minutes to go? How many times have we had a chance to close a team with a defensive stop under Rex and failed? Is it fatigue play calling or other teams being more aggressive which they were not planning because the Jets offense is so weak?

In the modern era, it’s very tough generally to stop teams in that situation. In their defense, the Jets did take the lead with just under 10 minutes to go two weeks ago and held onto to win. Fatigue was certainly a factor this week.

Adam Cohen
So now that Barnes is done for the year, do you think we’ll see more of the NTs on passing downs? It really seems like we’re underutilizing the duo…

I know this is something you were calling for, but we must be careful not to overutilize them too. I think Plan A will be for Sapp/McIntyre to get Barnes’ reps. Plan B will involve four man fronts with Wilkerson, Coples and Richardson all playing and one of them coming off the edge.

iJets
The Jets defense, like many defenses, seem to be very vulnerable to the hurry-up offense. Thoughts on how Rex may adjust to teams like Broncos, Pats who run this type of offense almost for an entire game?

I think the personnel they have this year makes them better equipped to cope with that, but it’s always going to be tough. They do have some versatile players though and this should prevent them getting mismatches all over the place.

Iain Bartholomew
I wanted to ask about the blocked punt. Surely that forward pass was illegal?

No, it’s fine. As long as (a) the ball hasn’t crossed the line of scrimmage and (b) there hasn’t already been a forward pass on the play, it’s legal. It could equally happen after a blocked field goal or a fumble.

RFortune
I feel like Cro has taken a step back from last year or am I just imagining it? He seemed way more in control last year after Revis went down.

He did admit his hip was bothering him in the first few games. His numbers are not great, but hopefully he can return to the same level of consistency he had last season as he gets closer to 100%.

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