BGA: Linebackers – Going the distance

Three of the four starting linebackers played every snap this week, with Calvin Pace the only one to get a rest (for nine snaps, on which rookie Troy Davis replaced him.) Despite the fact there were a ton of plays stuffed at or close to the line of scrimmage, they were all able to make contributions, led by Quinton Coples who continues to settle into his edge rushing/setting role.

Coples was in on several run stops, including one for a loss and a handful more at or close to the line of scrimmage. While it was hard for the Jets to generate much pressure with Manuel getting rid of the ball so quickly, he did beat his man cleanly twice to nail Manuel as he threw. He was forced to the inside on one running play and got fooled on a Manuel bootleg, but on the whole he is really starting to produce. Despite the injuries, he has 21 tackles already this year, having had 30 all of last year.

On the inside, David Harris and Demario Davis were both around the football a lot too. Harris played well against the run, with nine total tackles, but did get beaten for a 31-yard catch by Scott Chandler.

Davis did a good job, but there were two plays where he gave up a catch because of a mix-up in zone coverage – once with Harris and once with Antonio Cromartie. As noted in the defensive line BGA, it looked like he could have had a pick six on one play. Interestingly, Davis had eight total tackles, but only one solo tackle.

Pace was the only Jets player credited with a sack on the day and that came as Manuel rolled out and Pace came up from coverage to tackle him for no gain. As a pass rusher, he did generate one pressure. There was also a play in coverage where – although he failed to wrap up the receiver in the flat – he slowed them up enough so that the tackle was made in the flat.

It was interesting to see Davis get some reps in relief of Pace. With Garrett McIntyre out, he was the only other outside linebacker on the roster, although they perhaps could have had the option to go to a 4-3 set with Nick Bellore in. Ironically, this was probably the opportunity Ricky Sapp’s been waiting for, only to have been claimed by the Houston Texans during the week. I hope the Jets don’t regret making him available because they now look extremely thin at the position.

Davis didn’t generate any pressure, although he almost got upfield on Cordy Glenn on one play. In the running game, he was blown off the line once and lost contain badly on an end around, but I wouldn’t be too concerned over this because I expect him to be primarily a special teamer once McIntyre is back.

Up next…we round out the defense with a look at the secondary. Did Dee Milliner really play “extremely well” as Rex suggests?