BGA Extra: Patriots at Jets


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 win over the Patriots. 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.

With the new OT rule, the kicking team could try an onside kick, and if they recover, they need just 15 yards to kick a winning FG (the other team had the opportunity to possess the ball). If they don’t recover, the other team needs to drive 50 yards to win with a TD. ‘Surprise’ onside kicks have a success rate over 60%. Aren’t the odds extremely in your favor here? Better chance to get it and the risk is marginalized by the new rule. So, 40% they get it at the 50 needing a TD, and a 60% you get it at the 50 needing a FG.

This has been analyzed in-depth before. Go here for an interesting read on the subject.

A lot was made of the adjustments the Jets defense made at halftime, particularly at defensive line. But since none of the reporters have been able to figure out exactly what those adjustments were, maybe you could give it a shot?

There really isn’t one obvious adjustment they made in terms of the formations employed or the personnel used. One obvious thing was the fact that they put Allen on Gronkowski more, to good effect. Something less obvious was that they put Wilkerson head-on with or shading the center more often and he had some good success attacking the A gaps. They also had success on third downs by showing a big blitz and then dropping seven or eight into coverage. They did this on five of the six third downs after half time. The only one they didn’t was 3rd and 3, whereas the others were 3rd and long.

David from Haifa
Looking forward to next week, how will the D defend the pass when the Rex-Men can’t dominate the LOS and what changes can we expect from the playcalling and Jets OL to compensate for playing against a DL that is as good or better than what they practice against weekly?

I’m not sure that the Jets can’t dominate the line of scrimmage, even against a solid offensive line like that of the Bengals, nor would I suggest that the Bengals defensive line is necessarily better than what the offensive line sees in practice. Anyway, playcalling-wise, the Bengals’ strength is their run defense, so the Jets will probably expect more success through the air, especially with Leon Hall out. On the offensive line, the interesting thing to watch will be how much help the Jets give Brian Winters at left guard. As for the defense, that’s a challenging matchup for the Jets, but the fact that they have defensive personnel that can generate pressure even without a blitz gives them a chance to flood the middle with bodies and set some traps to try and confuse Andy Dalton into some errors.

“__fense” mentioned on another thread that the Patriots were penalized on a pick play. True? If so, it seems that Rex gave info to officials to look for the pick play and the push on FG attempts. And both paid off! Perhaps a tip of the hat to Rob Ryan. Either way…that’s “out coaching” a HOF coach.

Yes, there was a blatant pick-play on a fourth quarter drive where the Patriots crucially had to settle for a field goal. The play in question had created a gain down to the two yard line. Even Bill Belichick couldn’t argue that this was an unfair call (despite the fact the Pats are used to getting away with this). He can’t accuse the Jets of doing the same either.

Is Milliner a china doll?


The Jets seemed to be getting drawn offsides a lot this season by head movement by the center. I first noticed this in the first Pats game and see other teams doing it now. I don’t understand why it’s legal. If the QB can’t move his head to much on a hard count without getting called for a penalty, which should the center be able to simulate firing off the ball by jerking his head? The Pats’ center was even doing it when Brady was under center! So it’s not like he even had the excuse of having to look through his legs at the QB in shotgun.

Simulation is illegal, but Ryan Wendell was pretty consistently raising his head slowly and then snapping the ball after that. The fact that he was varying the time between those two movements was what appeared to be catching them out and isn’t illegal as a sudden head movement or a flinch would be. Just another loophole the Patriots are able to exploit, but at least it doesn’t cause injuries this time.

If I’m remembering correctly, on the set of downs leading up to the 56-yard FG attempt, the Jets ran 3 straight running plays for no gains. That seems like something you would do to set up a 36-yard attempt, not a 56-yard attempt. I find it hard to believe they have that much confidence in Folk. Why didn’t Marty try to get some yards there?

Well, the Jets started off at the 40, so it would have been a 57-yard field goal. That’s right on the edge of being too long to even merit an attempt, but you only need a few yards to open up a realistic possibility of a longer field goal. They actually gained one on first down and then another three on second down, so suddenly were in range for a 53-yard field goal. That’s within range and obviously a couple of yards closer would give you an even better shot at it. So, they ran rather than risk a sack or turnover on a pass and unfortunately Ferguson and Bohanon allowed the play to be blown up in the backfield and it lost a couple more yards.

The fact they even had this approach, I believe, shows great faith in Nick Folk to make the long kick and then once they lost a couple of yards, Rex obviously thought about it and decided to roll the dice anyway.

I lost count of the number of people who suggested – both before and after the play – that a rollout with a safe throw-away option would have been a good option and I don’t disagree. Maybe the Pats would be ready for this though. Also, if the Jets knew there was a possibility of a penalty on the field goal anyway, maybe that skewed the odds in favor of that approach.

What are your overall feelings towards the Coples switch?

I’m still optimistic. He took a step forward this week and his return has really opened things up for Wilkerson to be even more effective. The ankle injury did seem to slow him down and I think the fact that they’ve deviated from the original plan to give him plenty of reps inside over the last couple of weeks is a sign that they’re still monitoring his ankle until he gets back to 100%. The fact that Richardson has immediately developed into an every down player and the versatility of Wilkerson affords them this luxury. It also means that Coples can play extra reps on the outside with Antwan Barnes out.

Essentially everything he’s been doing is something he was already doing at the end of last year and producing well, so I’m optimistic his statistical production will pick up.

Do you have any idea what happened on the personal foul? I didn’t see it and they didn’t show a replay, not sure if it’s evident on the coaches film.

Surprisingly, it’s not very clear. It looks like Richardson was shoved in the back by a third lineman while being handled by two other blockers in pass protection and turned around and retaliated by shoving that player back.

According to a few reports the jets have committed the same penalty at the end, in the same game earlier specifically the kick that sent the game into ot. I wonder how many times have we commited the same penalty, if we have?

Zero. Mike Westhoff said that he knows Ben Kotwica knows the rule and would not coach that.

I feel like we didn’t call any screen passes all game. Do you have any insight into why we would move away from a part of our offense that has been pretty successful for us this year?

They tried two, both to Chris Ivory, and neither of them was successful in gaining any yardage. They ran five in the first meeting between the teams, gaining 19 yards, but this time the Patriots were ready for it, usually because they were spying the back with Brandon Spikes.

Are you noticing anything with the late 4th quarter defense that allows teams to keep coming back. This year they gave up scores to TB, Atl and the Patriots. I recall the D doing this during the whole Rex era so far.

It’s not just the Jets, good quarterbacks will do that to most defenses in that situation. Ryan and Brady are good quarterbacks – and the score by the Bucs came about because of one play that would have been stopped but for a Dawan Landry mistake. Teams tend to opt to try to keep things in front of them to keep the clock moving rather than risk a big play over the top, which makes sense, but the downside is that a quick, rhythm passing approach can neutralize a pass rush and it can also help the quarterback get into a groove, especially when he has (a) an extra down to play with and (b) nothing to lose. To their credit, they held the Bucs and Pats to a field goal and did successfully stop the Bills while up by seven.

It did not look like the D-line was getting any pressure on Brady during the first half at all. I also remember seeing one play when either a fullback or halfback (without the ball) ran full speed into Wilkerson while he was engaged with a lineman, and causing Mo got blown backward. What kind of strategies were the Pats using to block Wilkerson?

Actually, Wilkerson and Pace each had a pressure on the Patriots only drive of the first quarter and the Jets registered pressure five times in the last 10 minutes of the first half. The obvious way to mitigate pressure is to get rid of the ball quickly and they avoided pressure when they did that. Brady’s average time to throw was 11th lowest in the league this week and when the Jets backed off and afforded him more time, he didn’t have much success – completing just 8-of-23 passes on throws made after more than 2.5 seconds.

Not sure what to make of the Kyle Wilson stats…based on watching the games it is hard to believe that he is even an average slot corner, much less an elite slot corner — also, he seemed to edge blitz a number of times without success.

Well, the reason I shared those statistics was to show that his contributions have perhaps been better than you might realize when compared on a league-wide basis. However, there’s a risk that this could be misconstrued as me suggesting he belongs within the league’s elite. It’s worth emphasizing that those are based purely on his coverage numbers so if he was in a bad position but a pass was still incomplete because of a bad throw or dropped catch, then this would still have a positive impact on his numbers even though it was a bad play. It might not catch all coverage breakdowns either, because if he covers the wrong guy then the reception would end up being charged to the nearest defender even when it’s his fault. Since these are things that have happened quite a lot this season, that explains why the numbers are so good. I think he is, at worst, an average slot corner, but I’d agree he’s not an elite one.

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Any pattern as to why we have trouble recovering forced fumbles? is it just bad luck?

Yep, statistical studies have shown that recovering fumbles is almost entirely random. One issue I have noticed, though, is that sometimes the other team’s linemen are getting beaten so badly that they’re in prime position to fall on any loose balls, whereas if you manage to half-beat a guy or leverage him into the quarterback so that he’s still trying to block you when you get there, that’s not the case. Our pass rushers are just too good! It’s all your fault, Karl Dunbar!

Also, it would help if all the fumbles we did recover would not be overturned by the replay booth or wrongly called down by contact when we can’t challenge.

What did Robert Malone do that warranted us downgrading the position? Quigley is so disappointing.


Let’s investigate his ANPP (adjusted net punt percentage), while remembering that Malone was at 64% for the first two games (but 61% against New England and 62% if you remove the best and worst punts as outliers). Quigley’s five games have seen him produce an ANPP of 66%. If you remove the best and worst punts as outliers, that rises to over 68%. So, on that basis, Quigley has done better by virtue of directional punting and limiting return yardage. However, he has had some help. Three of his net punts (as opposed to just one of Malone’s) were improved by penalties assessed on the return team. Excluding these from the results drops his ANPP to 63%, below average and no better than Malone.

What can this team do differently to create turnovers?

Catch the ball!

It seems like when Hill goes up for jump balls he doesn’t use his hands enough. It’s as if he jumps to catch the ball with his chest and stomach instead of going up and using his hands to catch the ball at its highest point. Do you notice that at all or am I being overly critical of Hill (again)?

I think that’s perfectly fair and absolutely one area where he has plenty of room for improvement. Big picture, though, I’m thrilled with the progress he’s made so far this season.

So…can we all talk about the fact that Calvin Pace found some Youth Juice and has been playing well lately?

He’s been doing well, but he was always pretty solid against the run (and sites like PFF perhaps don’t give him the credit he deserves for setting the edge because that will rarely generate a positively graded play because it’s just considered “doing his job”). It was as a pass rusher that his production was really poor over the last season or so (although again sometimes his pass rush numbers are adversely affected by getting a lot of reps in three-on-five situations). The fact that his production is up this season is a by-product of how well everyone else is performing, but let’s not downplay the quality of his pass rushing. He looks faster than last year and can be relied upon to beat his guy a couple of times a game.

I still think he’s getting too many reps though.

Thoughts on Cribbs v past members of the Wildcat? I know two runs up the gut is a very small sample, but how did he look to you compared to what you saw on your BGA of him last week? I’m guessing they went away from it for a myriad of reasons, including the very strong possibility that they only practiced that one play. Maybe in Cincy he sees more action.

Cribbs looked sharp and, I believe, he has a better arm than Brad Smith, so throwing the ball is an option too. I also feel better about him taking the snap than I do any of the running backs. He’s a physical runner with slipperiness and the speed to get outside – reminds me of Smith a lot, but perhaps with an additional gear in the open field.

I kinda miss Brad Smith and it’s weird that it took them getting someone who reminds me of him to make me realize that.

I know that they script the first series of the game on offense — do they do it for the first series after the half? Because for the past few weeks, it seems as though the offense has come out a little flat after halftime … last three weeks, it’s been essentially 3 and out …

I gather that the usual approach is not to script second half plays in advance, but you would discuss the approach you plan in the second half when you get into the locker room at half time. Obviously in doing so you would need to anticipate the defensive adjustments the other team is going to undertake, so to some extent it’s a moving target.

I couldn’t comment on whether the Jets follow the norm, but I would say that during the Steelers game I was telling my friends that the two minute drill that led to a field goal would pay dividends by getting Smith into a rhythm for the second half and felt all proud of myself when the TV announcers said the same thing 30 second later … and then he came out and laid an egg.

The running game seemed very out of sync to me. Kudos to MM for sticking with it, but I thought with the patsies two studs out, we were gonna run all over them, even if they did stack the box. Is Winters (and Vlad before him) making that much of a difference to when we had Slauson. Colon is grading out about the same as Moore did, right?

I completely agree – and I was very happy that they stuck with it. 52 carries! Wow.

Ducasse was doing a very good job in the running game. Winters has not been quite so good, despite the fact he’s typically received easier assignments. Slauson wasn’t much of a run blocker either, but was usually reliable in terms of pass blocking. As for Moore and Colon, Moore was actually grading out as one of the best guards in the NFL over the second half of last year, whereas Colon is grading out negatively. Moore himself was grading out negatively in the first half of last year though and if it wasn’t for his seven penalties, Colon would have a positive grade. I don’t think there’s much difference between those two, to be honest.

I think the introduction of Winters has set back their chemistry, but at least the penalties have dried up somewhat, which has been important.

Joe in Orlando
I wonder if there was something about the way the Pats were lined up that caused the Jets to go conservative on the last drive in OT. I didn’t really have a big problem with it because I felt there was always the potential to move the ball on the Pats on the ground. However, on 3rd and 5 I really felt they needed to do something different and was stunned to see another vanilla run. On that play specifically, is it possible Geno changed the play at the line based on what the D was showing?

Maybe. He did point out a linebacker and then Ivory made a pre-snap shift from Smith’s right to his left, but I think this was part of the original play design because it happened very quickly. There didn’t appear to be time for him to change to a new play, although maybe it was one of those “check with me” ones where there is a simple coded method of going to your Plan B.

I thought Nelson looked great. Do you think he might pass Hill on the depth chart when Holmes comes back?

He might even pass him before then. His reps have gone from 32% to 40% to 72%. If they keep climbing upwards, he could be ready to be a full time starter as early as this week. Rex praised him for stepping up (and the scouting department for finding him) just today.

Probably not though – and I wonder what those people who are calling for a Josh Gordon trade would envisage Hill and Nelson’s reps looking like following that scenario.

Earlier in the season you had said that Mangold was helping out Colon rather then Vlad, is that still the case with Winters in the line-up?

Winters has been left to his own devices a lot less than Ducasse was, I’d suggest. As I referenced a couple of times, Ferguson and Winters worked in tandem (often to good effect) a lot in the running game.

I always find the individual lineman grades helpful, but it’s hard to put it in the context of how well they did as a group over the course of the game. Would you mind giving the offensive and defensive lines a GPA for each game? You could grade each play – maybe under the following system: An “A” could be a play where every lineman executed his assignment according to plan (“+” for excessively well, “-” for minor breakdowns). A “B” could be where one lineman didn’t execute well – was beaten (“+” if another lineman picked up the problem, “-” if the mistake led to a bad result). A “C” for two linemen not executing and “D” for three linemen not executing (same +/- as for “B”). You could then sum up the grades for each play into a GPA for the O and D lines (maybe even break it out for rush vs pass) … Maybe there’s a better grading system, but being able to get a feel for the line performance as a unit would be great in addition to the individual write-ups.

I’ve considered that – and I do carry out a similar approach when I’m analyzing the footage – but I am against the idea of assigning a number to anything because I feel it over-simplifies matters and leads to inaccurate assumptions. I accept that there are some plays where it’s impossible to attribute blame/credit accurately without knowing the playcall and everyone’s assignments – even though I do get more and more familiar with the system over time.

I prefer to talk in general terms about whether a player had more bad plays than good and to highlight those particular plays that stood out in one way or another.

Every now and then I will break down a series of plays in isolation, as I did with Winters on the first series, to give you a more detailed insight into how efficiently a player was contributing.

What was the breakdown (and success or failure) of runs between the guards, running left or right wide between G & OT, & outside the OT? The RB’s still look like none of them came turn the corner for a decent gain and do the Jets ever run a real power sweep with much of the line pulling either left or right? When Bohanan runs, he looks like his primary task is to hold onto the ball and given his lack of speed, it limits him to very short gains. This results in a maximum gain of 4 yards which doesn’t always help the team much. Is it foolish to ask him to run with a bit more abandon? What has Green done wrong to limit his action in the game?

Per PFF, the Jets were 16-44 between the guards, 6-14 over left guard, 6-32 over right guard, 10-18 running off tackle or outside to the right and 10-49 running off tackle or outside to the left. So over right guard and left tackle/outside was where they were most successful. This doesn’t include QB scrambles.

The power sweep is in the playbook, but their outside runs are more often stretch plays where the line moves in unison.

Bohanon’s carries are a safe short gainer. I’m happy that he protects the ball, as using him from time to time does have benefits in terms of gaining a few yards, keeping the clock moving and keeping the defense honest so they can fake it to him in short yardage situations.

Finally, I’ll answer a question with a question: What has Green done right to merit him getting more action?

What’s your analysis of Mangold this year? I remember in 2011 when he missed two games and the offense literally fell apart before our eyes. I would love to know how much he is helping Geno/Winters/etc. Even if he is not popping out every week, surely he deserves more credit than he is getting. Thoughts?

The thing I admire about Mangold is that they stretch him to the absolute limit and rely on him for so much. Even though he’s capable of dominating, the team is better off by him sacrificing some individual domination to do more. Whether it’s blocking one-and-a-half guys instead of just one to help out one of the guards alongside him or pulling to make a reach block on a player’s outside shoulder to drive him back to the inside, Mangold does more than a lot of the top-rated linemen in the league, many of whom grade out so well because all they’re ever required to do is beat the man in front of them and they do this more often than not. That’s before even taking into account the additional things he does to help out his rookie quarterback and the youngster on his left shoulder with protections and understanding their assignments (both on and off the field).

With that said, Mangold has been making some individual errors and, while many of these are attributable to him being required to try and make a block many other players could not, that’s not always the case. The success of the offensive line probably has more to do with how well those around Mangold play, but he is integral to that. They do say the great ones can make those around them better.

caramelo koala
I don’t have a problem with the Hill OPI call but David Nelson probably has a problem with being called down by contact on that circus catch which took a touchdown off him…

They got this one right. Nelson’s knee connected with the back of Logan Ryan’s neck as he was falling to the ground with the ball. The only way it wouldn’t be down by contact would be if he bobbled the catch and didn’t have control until after he was on the ground, but it was a clean catch.

Was Hill seeing a lot of double coverage?

Not double coverage, but there was safety help deep. Phrased differently, he didn’t get a lot of single coverage.

Brooklyn JC (via email)
Brady’s hand was smacked on the fingers pretty good on Coples’ strip and the pick six was the next play. They showed him on the sidelines manipulating his fingers later as if the bothered him. Does his loss of accuracy in the second half suggest a hand injury?

Well, Brady has been having accuracy problems all year and isn’t listed on the report with any kind of injury (not that the Patriots injury reports tend to be renowned for their truthfulness). He did make some good throws, suggesting that whatever the problem was didn’t render him incapable of being accurate. It’s definitely something worth looking out for though.

Pete (via email)
Is it me or does Coples look terrible this year? There were a few rushes where he was so well blocked, it looked like he almost gave up on getting to the QB. He doesn’t look quick. In fact, he looks slow. Not the same player who looked so dominant at times last year…

He hasn’t made the same kind of dynamic impact plays he was on a regular basis at the end of last year (or even in preseason), but he’s not making mistakes and the defense has picked it up since his return, so I’d dispute that he looks “terrible”. To some extent, teams are just more ready for him this year, but if their scheming to stop him opens up opportunities for others, then he’s contributing. While his production (one sack, four QB hits in five games) is perhaps below expectations, he didn’t produce much at the start of last year either (two sacks, six QB hits in the first 12 games), so hopefully he can be expected to pick it up sooner this year.

Let’s not forget that he broke his ankle two months ago so he’s probably not 100%.


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