BGA Extra: Jets at Titans

Bent , TheJetsBlog.com

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 Monday’s game against 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.

Observer
As I was watching the game it seemed that Mangold was snapping the ball low all night — the final fumble might have made it worse in my memory — was the ball being snapped low all night?

Yes, there were certainly a couple of others. I did mention that in part one of BGA. That is uncharacteristic though and I wonder if it was because he was required to make a lot of blocks on the move and rushed a few of them as a result.

damion
Who is the Jets most INEFFECTIVE defender? If you have the time can you cover from 09-12? The Jets face a lot of salary cap issues this off season and I feel they should slash and burn this defense. It has put up very good numbers under Ryan and if he returns do they really need to be spending so much money on players like Harris, Scott, Pace, and Cromartie?

That’s a very open-ended question. There are backups not getting reps that would be more ineffective than the guys playing ahead of them. Guys like Wilson, Davis and Allen have been picked on at certain times, but in situations where they wouldn’t have even been on the field if Revis, Scott and Smith had been out there.

Back in 2009, the biggest weakness was probably Coleman and Smith. They got picked on a lot in coverage. In 2010, it was Smith again, along with the poor pass rushing numbers from Taylor and Pace. Last year again was the safeties, but this year, the safeties haven’t been too bad and the weakness has been in the linebacking corps. It’s a toss-up between Pace and Harris as to who has had the most disappointing year.

As for paying so much money to those guys, I think if Cromartie plays like he did this year, he’s a bargain at that price. Scott and Pace won’t be paid anything like the same kind of money next year and probably won’t even be on the team. As for Harris, he underperformed this year and was a victim of Po’uha and Scott being hurt. Maybe they can convince him to take a small paycut, but they’d probably have to guarantee some of next year’s money to do so. Risky…

Antwan
1) Can you discuss the potential of all of the young receivers on this squad, use some stats and tape and stuff?
2) How much has Quinton Coples improved, and what piece is this defense missing?

You can read up on Mardy Gilyard and Clyde Gates here and here.

On Stephen Hill, I was more impressed than I expected to be by his ability to get separation – he looked great running deep and ran some sharp routes at times. He went through a major slump in terms of catching the ball, but seemed to have got past that just before he got hurt. The fact he did get hurt a couple of times is also concerning though. I’m hopeful he’s in a good position on the wide receiver development curve, if you look at early numbers for guys like Coles, Cotchery and Moss.

As for Jordan White, we didn’t really see that much from him in preseason, so I’m at a loss as to why people are so eager for him to get a shot. Hopefully, he’ll show something when he does get a chance, but in preseason he got some significant reps and only caught six passes, with only a couple of them going for a first down. He also dropped a pass and didn’t really stand out returning kicks or as a blocker.

Coples kind of hit a wall in the middle of the season, but has looked really good over the past couple of weeks. If the Jets are going to go with more four man fronts next year, their linebacking needs don’t look quite so bad. He’s still not doing great against the run, but he’s been productive as a pass rusher. Speaking of hitting a wall, here’s a stat you’ll like…Since Week 8, Coples has two sacks and six QB hits in 164 snaps and Chandler Jones has no sacks or hits in 154 snaps.

Rich
I was wondering, could you look at Kerley’s job as a punt returner? He was driving me nuts (and not just this game either) as he keeps calling for fair catches within the 10 yard line, when IMO, he should take the risk and let those bounce in the endzone for a touchback. Am I being too much of a Monday morning…punt returner, or do you think he is doing the right thing?

Yes, I think his judgement is pretty awful, unless they’ve specifically told him that they never want to risk Sanchez being backed up near his goal line, so they’d rather he catch it there than take a chance of a funny bounce. At least he’s been catching them recently.

B-Boy Alpha
During the game last night I heard the announcer say that Kerley has ‘the most fair catches this season’ of any team. Is this normal for a Westoff lead special teams unit? I don’t recall it being this way in the past. Is this possibly by design due to all the muffs we’ve seen as of late? Poor punt protection? It can’t help our offense to be needing 80+ yards every series.

Yes – he has 31 fair catches. Only three other guys have more than 20 and the nearest to him is 26. Is it normal for the Jets? Not really, although Cotchery and Leonhard combined for 26 in 2009 (over the whole season). They had 20 and 21 in 2011 and 2010, but Leon Washington only had nine in 2008. It could well be that they’re nervous about muffs.

FloridaJetFansince67
Can you tell me how many starters played on specials last night? I thought I saw at least Bell, Scott and Landry on specials. Season on the line and poor specials all year led to this, I would think.

It’s not unusual for the Jets to use starters on special teams later in the year, partly because they are better players, so it can galvanize the unit, but also because guys get banged up and you end up forced to pull double duty. Yes, all those guys were out there on coverage units, as well as Harris and some of the defensive linemen on the punt block unit. Most defensive starters, other than Wilson, would usually only get special teams snaps on the field goal defense.

madbacker #57
Opinion question, who would you like to see running the O and who would you like to see as the QB? On the radio, Kirk Cousin’s name was being thrown around?

Bring back Schotty!

(Only kidding).

Instead of the same old names, I like to think outside the box. I’d be very interested to see Chris Petersen of Boise State get an NFL opportunity as an OC. I don’t think that’s realistic because he has a pretty big contract pending – $11m over five years. One NFL guy whose offense I really enjoy breaking down due to its complexity and creativity is Rob Chudzinski of the Carolina Panthers. They could even potentially get him without having to pay compensation by giving him the assistant head coach job (sorry, Bob Sutton). Does his style suit the offense’s personnel? Probably not.

As for quarterbacks, I don’t really have a major preference and would probably rather get a game manager and develop a rookie behind them than splurge on a big name. As you may know, I’m not a fan of “running quarterbacks” and I’d prefer a run-heavy system to a spread offense.

I’ve seen a lot of Matt Flynn and Kirk Cousins because two of my best friends are big LSU and MSU fans and I was never entirely sure about either and have reservations about whether what they’ve shown so far is enough to go on.

Myself
Can we see an image of the field just before a long touchdown pass by an elite quarterback so that we can compare and contrast how open the receivers are to the images I/you posted on Monday?

Great question, me! – here’s four from the last two weeks…see if you can guess who caught the touchdown each time…

Joe (via e-mail)
Why does Sanchez NEVER throw the ball away?

He’s done it six times. Cutler is the only guy with more than 550 snaps that’s done it less. 25 QBs are into double figures, with Rivers on 37. Yes THIRTY SEVEN. I guess sometimes you can throw it away too much.

a57se
Now that the playoffs are over for us, you could post your recipe for beating the Jets. I would think one of the points would be to just have your FS watch Sanchez and jump on the telegraphed throws…

I’m still going to wait until the end of the season because I want to see whether teams try the same things against McElroy and how he copes if they do.

Having said that, you saw the game on Monday night, right?

damion
23 for 126….another 24 yards and the jets win the game I bet, where on the field was the ball spotted before Mark threw his final INT?

Actually, they got it on the 23, so if they ran it every time and then scored, they’d only have 149 for the game, thereby proving that you DON’T need to rush for 150 to win!

damion
I’ve been stressing the rushing numbers over the past few weeks. Passing the ball was a huge mistake due to the time remaining. WHY would they want to throw a pass to score quickly? Only to give the titans all that time on the clock I think it would have been 1:30 or so? The pass blocking was less then good, and Sanchez was getting pounded.

The only thing I can think of is that they wanted to hedge their bets so that if Sanchez threw three incompletions, they can kick a field goal and retain their timeouts, which would force the Titans to try and get a first down if they wanted to ice the game and if not, the Jets would only need a field goal to win. As for the call itself, Cumberland was wide open on a quick toss and Powell was wide open on a checkdown, so passing the ball there wasn’t doomed to fail, but for the fact Sanchez has been slumping and didn’t see either option.

damion
Where was the wildcat in that situation, and not necessarily Tim Tebow but with Shonn Green, Jeremy Kerley or Joe McKnight? They ran it earlier in the game(w/Greene)and there was some success, why put the game in Mark Sanchez’s hands especially after having 3 picks at that point in the game? Last weeks game, I thought these coaches finally woke up and saw what this teams strength was.

I don’t think the wildcat would ever be used in that situation, because that’s the sort of thing that will get you criticized heavily if it fails. I also expect they were reacting to the fact that there were a lot of people close to the line of scrimmage. However, I do completely agree. To play the percentages, they should have run the ball. Shonn Greene had four fourth quarter carries (for 33 yards) and all four gained at least five. Why not run it until they can stop it, or give you an easier look in coverage?

DMike
What the heck goes through Sparano’s mind when he’s calling plays?

ShriekMan
This may be a moot point now since there has been a QB change made. But, why does it seem like every team runs the hurry-up well but the Jets? Do you have any stats on this? Jake Locker did a pretty good job with the hurry up, our D looked gassed on the game winning come back drive that Locker led.

Sanchez’s numbers this year – 47% and a 50.4 QB rating. Last year, he was much better though – 54% and an 81.9 rating, as well as finishing off two drives with touchdown runs. Perhaps surprisingly, he was a little worse in 2010 – 55% and a 72.4 rating. The Jets have scored inside the last two minutes of the first half eight times, but some of those came after they got the ball in opposition territory or on a drive that began earlier and was just finished off inside the two minute warning.

Remember when people used to say Sanchez looks more comfortable in a no-huddle and they should experiment with that more often? Nobody’s been saying that this year!

ShriekMan
It feels like the best talent on the team had their worst moments in the last 2 years. Nick Mangold yesterday, D’Brick last season against the Pats. I’m sure I could think of more cases if I tried. Clearly, the players are still really good. Does this just point to bad leadership and coaching or just like winning makes everything better, does losing make good players play worse? In other words, is coaching an overall problem?

Yes, losing begets losers. However, the coaching has to take some of the blame for the poor execution we’ve seen from this team – and not just this year.

StataTheLeft
Should Sanchez have been able to come up with the low snap from Mangold?

It wasn’t completely uncatchable, but it was definitely low. He had it in his hands but then it slipped out of his fingertips as he looked up. Essentially, if Stephen Hill, Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards dropped a pass in similar fashion a lot of people would complain, but if Jeremy Kerley or Jordan White did it, people would make excuses for them. Let’s take a look…

Somehow it feels fitting to end this way:

(Via Deadspin).

I’ll be back on Sunday with the BGA Preview for the Chargers game. Have a good weekend!