BGA Extra: Jets at Ravens

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 Ravens. 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.

MaynardFan •
Are there any stats on how fast Simms releases the ball vs. Geno? I understand the sample size will be small for Simms…but what are the numbers?

The regular season numbers show that Simms has been holding the ball even longer than Smith. However, we can rationalize this quite easily because he’s been entering the game late and not dealing with much pressure.

The preseason gives us a much bigger sample size to work with and this shows that he was getting rid of the ball quicker than Smith has been during the regular season. He got rid of the ball within 2.5 second 50% of the time in preseason whereas Smith has only done so 37% of the time in the regular season, one of the lowest rates in the NFL.

(Note: Numbers per PFF)

JayM •
Why is Rex so against playing cover 2 or giving safety help for the CB’s?

He isn’t – he mixes up his coverages, meaning that there are plenty of cover two looks and safety support. Where he differs from other teams is that he’s not afraid to play cover zero and the Jets have been exploited many times this year when they have done so. The reason they play these coverages is to get guys like Wilkerson into one-on-ones, but the regression of Cromartie this year has had a negative effect that outweighs any improvement in Wilkerson’s production.

BIGgreenBALLz •
If the Jets select Manziel in April, what would you think of the pick and what do you think of Johnny Football?

I haven’t seen enough of him to assess his game properly, other than to say that he seems like an exciting player, although his style of play isn’t necessarily what I like to see in a quarterback. Obviously he’s extremely fearless and confident, but it still would worry me how well he’d deal with the New York spotlight.

Disgruntled Jets Fan •
OK, since the results were the same, I’ll ask: what personnel changes would you make for the next game?

Oh, man, you should have asked me what strategic changes I would make, I had some really good ones lined up this week!

As for the personnel changes, there are lots of things I would have been doing differently all along (Colon at left guard, Ducasse at right guard, Walls over Milliner, more Ellis Lankster), but I think making a dramatic change at this point could rock the boat in the short term, even if it paid off within a few weeks. Here’s one obvious change they should make: Activate both Simms and Garrard this week.

SomeJetsFan •
If you had to predict, do you feel Mark Sanchez would have been any better or significantly better than Geno?

I wasn’t entirely certain that Sanchez could ever fully regain his lost confidence from last season. Ironically, a lost season due to injury might be an easier thing to come back from as we’d be another year removed from his 2012 struggles. A healthy, confident Mark Sanchez is obviously capable of outperforming what Smith has achieved to date, but I really couldn’t have predicted whether such a player will ever exist again.

Section 249A •
It seems like Geno takes his drop and rarely steps into the pocket. You can see it forming on the tape, and when he does step into it he seems to have a better view of the field (as most QBs do). Have you seen anything over the course of the season that would suggest Lee is at least trying to turn him into a pocket passer? If not, this kid could be in for a long career as a backup.

His footwork is poor. I think he is making the effort to step into the pocket, so I assume that shows how this has been a point of emphasis for him. It’s just that when he does, he’s often making off-balance throws. Maybe he was still a little jumpy this week following the big hit he took at the start of last week’s game. The other thing that shows they want him to be a pocket passer is the fact that he’s been taking off and running a lot less. (First seven games: 146 yards, last four games: 32 yards).

A question, even though the game was out of hand, on the Raven’s interception at the goal line, isn’t that a safety (looked to me like he intentionally ran out of the end zone and it was not his “momentum”). Or is the rule different from my understanding?

Momentum is only a factor when determining whether a player moved from the field of play into the end zone. So, if he intercepted the ball at the two yard line and went into the end zone, you’d have to weigh up if his momentum took him into the end zone. If not, then it would be a safety. If you intercept the ball in the end zone, it’s a touchback whether you take a knee, get tackled or take it out of bounds via the side or back of the end zone.

juunit •
What are your thoughts on Smith against the better defenses in the league? Obviously you’d expect anyone to play worse against the best defenses, but it seems like they’re in the guy’s head before the game even starts.

I don’t think it makes a lot of difference who he’s playing now, he’s just in a funk and seems to be up against the rookie wall. Yes, he’s struggled against most of the best defenses, but as you said yourself, there’s probably a correlation there for most quarterbacks.

DarrolRayFanClub •
Even though Winters went downfield first on the double penalty, did the Ravens have their choice on which penalty to accept or do officials normally take it upon themselves to attribute the penalty to the more egregious infraction. Just seems odd that one guy gets the penalty and the other only gets the advanced stats version.

According to the official rulebook, the captain of the opposing team gets to decide which penalty to accept, but I’d expect that in practice when it makes no difference, the selection is made randomly. As you noted, Winters committed the more egregious foul. Most sites still track penalties even if declined and both players would get graded down on statistical analysis sites.

Orjetsfan •
2 -3 ways to upgrade the team at a position, one is time to mature, gain experience and receive coaching. The second being personnel changes. The third IMO is a coaching change. What do you think is in the best interest of the jets at this time?

Depends which position. You can combine the elements. For example, if the player currently playing is a rookie, you could replace him in the lineup but continue to develop him in practice.

Muheldon Harroples •
Do the Jets run less short routes than other teams? I always thought a big part of the west coast was supposed to be slants and a lot of throws to the backs and TEs, crossing routes for the WRs etc. I can’t remember the last time the jets caught a slant which used to be Sanchez’s favorite throw. it just seems that the down the field stuff is not best suited to their personnel which favors slot receivers and tight ends who can do something with the ball after the catch and aren’t necessarily adept at getting open. also where are the wr hitches and the rubs that everyone else seems to be doing. You would think cold windy weather the last two weeks would be perfect for the short and quick passes.

I agree, it seems odd that the quick slant seems to have been removed from the playbook, but maybe Smith lacks confidence in his ability to make those tight window throws. Or, more damning, the coaching staff lacks confidence in his ability to do that and therefore aren’t calling them.

Disgruntled Jets Fan •
What happened to [Geno’s] running? Seems like that has regressed too.

Well, teams are more aware that this is a threat now, but there have been times when he could easily have taken some easy chunks of yardage. When you’ve gone three straight games with less than double digit completions, I would have thought you would take whatever you can get.

By-Tor •
Seems like a lot of chatter around getting a guy like Cutler. Do you think he would make us more competitive? Would he make our receivers and o-line better? Could surly-man deal with NY? How much would he realistically cost and for how long do you sign him for theoretically?

Cutler is obviously a cut above Sanchez/Smith, although I’m not a huge fan. He’d certainly help the receivers – look what he’s done for Brandon Marshall – but he might hurt the offensive line in terms of their pass protection numbers because he has a tendency to hold the ball for too long. If you’re a believer that the Jets receivers can’t get open (which I would say I am not) then Cutler would be one of the worst guys you could add to this team because he’s going to stand there waiting for an open receiver forever and then just take a sack. Cost would surely be $15m a year or thereabouts and I’m not convinced he’ll be available anyway. And can he deal with NY? Probably not.

Tk •
How do you feel about getting a look at Garrard?

A healthy Garrard has, throughout his career, always been at least as good as, if not better than, Mark Sanchez at his best. That’s not something that Geno Smith or even Sanchez himself can say. However, we have no idea whether Garrard can be in good enough shape to play at that level again. You’d like to think the Jets wouldn’t have signed him if they didn’t think that was a possibility but who knows? If he can get himself ready, sure, I’d be up for seeing him get a shot.

He can unquestionably read a defense better than either of those guys, but when a guy gets too old, they often can’t get the ball there like they once could, especially once it starts to get cold. However, even if the experiment was a failure, he does bring some different things to the table which could help us to learn some things about some of our players that we won’t if they stick with Smith or even Simms.

a57se •
What else is there to say except are we so sure Geno doesn’t have issues with the cold? Several of his throws were nose-diving into the turf before they got to the receiver and that happens when you are not spinning the ball real well. This is a fundamental issue for guys with smallish hands in cold weather because the Football becomes a little slick and you need a really solid grip of the ball to spin it right.

This was his first ever NFL game at below 40 degrees and it was against a very talented defense, so I think it’s too soon to be certain that this is the reason. After all, if it was unexpectedly warm and sunny on Sunday, would you be expecting him to play lights out? For what it’s worth, he’s played one game in over 80 degree temperature and it was the opening day win over the Bucs where he was obviously pretty good.

‘NYCPE’inGermany •
It looked to me one play in the first half where Wilk almost got to Flacco – I think it was the play you mentioned where Flacco threw it up for grabs – Richardson was über-blatantly held. Did you see it?

Absolutely, the lineman had him in a chinlock. That was the play where Wilkerson chased Flacco all the way out to the sideline.

‘NYCPE’inGermany •
“Dat boy sure got big paws on a puppy.”

Wha’ up wit all da homeslice talk?

For those that missed the subtlety, I liberally peppered this week’s BGA articles with “The Wire” quotes and references in honor of the fact that the game was being played in Baltimore. You can win two Bent points for every one you spot…and five Bent points if it wasn’t an intentional reference.

If you’re not a fan of the show, then…become a fan of the show.

McGeorge •
If Coples wasn’t a first round pick, would everyone be so high on him? So accommodating? Is he performing what you would expect from a 2nd round pick? A third round pick?

Honestly, I think Coples is a massive part of this defense and he isn’t getting exploited or making any mistakes and is usually good for at least 2-3 impact plays per game. (Impact plays being tackles for a loss, QB hits and stuff like that). Wilkerson has been freed up a lot more since Coples returned too and, as I noted in BGA, he’s leading the team in QB hits despite the time he missed. The injury was a setback and he’s not ascending in his second season the way that Wilkerson did, but I’m happy with his impact and, if anything, I think the fact he was a first round pick just raises expectations to the point where some people are expecting big sack numbers and missing the fact that he’s contributing well.

He’s outperforming what I expected to see from a guy who broke his ankle in preseason. Calvin Pace returned from a similar injury in 2010 and struggled all year.

Muheldon Harroples •
Even though the front four has been dominant this year and better at getting to the quarterback without the blitz, shouldn’t Rex be dialing up his exotic blitzes more often just to confuse QBs? Guys like Flacco and Dalton used to get eaten alive by the confusion Rex caused. I can’t remember the last time they brought a corner blitz or brought the house which used to be a third down regularity. This goes together with press coverage which is always where the jets corners excelled. Your thoughts?

That’s the issue – the back seven been as good at stopping receivers from getting open for quick passes, so the Jets can’t really afford to make their blitzes any more complex, which would only serve to delay how soon the pressure arrives in most cases.

‘NYCPE’inGermany •
At the end of Cro’s INT return, he got pushed (what looked to me) well out of bounds. If this was a QB or even an offensive skill player that was easily a 15 yard penalty. Agree?

Nah, for me that would have been a bad call. He wrapped Cromartie up out of bounds and pulled him to the ground but not forcibly.

‘NYCPE’inGermany •
You wrote: “It’s still not entirely obvious what he provides that Robert Malone did not.”

I thought Quigley’s hang time was much better and that up until this game there somewhat of an improvement over Malone. Not the case?

That was the bill of goods we were sold, but this week Quigley outkicked his coverage repeatedly. Quigley has given up 276 return yards in nine games. Last season, Malone gave up 268 in the first 14 games.


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