Preseason BGA: Jets at Lions – Part Four (Defense: Secondary / Special Teams)

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.

BGA is back…and this time it’s preseasonal (again)!

We’re breaking down last night’s 26-17 loss to the Lions. Part one is here, part two is here and part three is here. Here in part four, we’re focusing on the secondary and the special teams units.

Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle. It’s good to be back!

Cornerbacks

Dee Milliner made one of the nicest plays of the game when he broke up a pass in the end zone, which will surely cause overreactions along the lines of “he’s already better than Darrelle Revis”. However, we may need to temper our expectations. Even Revis was picked on a lot as a rookie and Dee is unlikely to get the benefit of the doubt from officials. Still, he was stride for stride and in perfect position on that particular play, so it’s a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come…eventually.

Milliner did get give up a couple of catches, including one for a first down as Matt Willis got an assist from the replay booth, and did miss a tackle in the flat, so he wasn’t perfect, but seemed to acquit himself well in his first career start.

On the other side, the Lions announcer at one point said “Calvin Johnson is carving up Antonio Cromartie” after a 22-yard catch that looked like it might have been the result of a push-off. That was Johnson’s third catch for 58 yards. However, you can’t blame Cromartie because he wasn’t covering him on the other two catches! He did cover Johnson most of the time though and holding him to one catch is creditable. He was in good position on one other throw.

Kyle Wilson was playing primarily in the slot. He got beaten for two first downs and hurdled in the open field by Reggie Bush. However, he was in position on a third down incompletion and was able to break up a pass in the end zone. The Jets did experiment with a one safety only formation when the Lions had three receivers in the game. Wilson played in the slot and Landry was the deep safety as the Jets had a front seven with three corners and one safety. Interesting.

Ellis Lankster also broke up a pass and was in good position on another incompletion. He gave up one first down. There was one other play where he was half beaten but the pass was incomplete and it looked like he felt the receiver pushed off anyway.

Darrin Walls hurt his case by getting beaten for a touchdown. He needs to get his head turned around better. Walls did give up three other catches but limited them to small gains with good tackling and was also in good position on a third down incompletion.

Finally Isaiah Trufant wasn’t exploited in coverage and came up to make a couple of plays in run support. These six could be the best bets to all make the roster because Mike Edwards, Royce Adams and Donnie Fletcher did not get any reps on defense.

Safeties

The big story here is that it looks like Jaiquawn Jarrett will get a chance to start alongside Dawan Landry next week. Jarrett did have a solid game registering five tackles including a couple of good plays close to the line of scrimmage. However, most of his best work was against third stringers and there was one play where he was beaten in coverage but got lucky because of an overthrown pass. Still, I think he played well enough to warrant some first team reps and will be interested to see how he gets on next week.

Antonio Allen didn’t really do anything wrong in his opportunity, where – as anticipated – he played both in and out of the box, he just didn’t make much of an impact, assisting on one tackle.

Landry made one stop in run support and there was one play where there was a mix-up in zone coverage that led to a big catch. Demario Davis was chasing Johnson down the seam and passed him off to Landry who was too deep. That went for 28 yards. He didn’t make any other obvious mistakes though.

Josh Bush had kind of a quiet game, but at the same time led the team in tackles. He did make one very good play on a tackle in the flat, but on another he was caught up in a pick play and let his man get outside for a catch in the flat and a first down.

Rontez Miles and Bret Lockett didn’t get any defensive reps, so I wonder if these four, together with the six cornerbacks named above will constitute the 10 defensive backs on the final roster.

Special Teams

No major breakdowns on special teams, where the big story was on the other sideline as “Kickalicious” had an incredible performance. The Jets kickers couldn’t have done much more than they did. Billy Cundiff’s two kickoffs were both touchbacks and he nailed his only kick (an extra point). Nick Folk has the edge though – his two kickoffs were also touchbacks and he made two kicks (an extra point and a 51-yard field goal). Ford Field is of course where Folk made two clutch kicks to tie and win the game between these teams in 2010.

The punters both kicked three times and each disappointingly put one into the end zone. Robert Malone outkicked his coverage on one of his punts, but got lucky with a dubious penalty flag. His numbers ended up slightly better than Ryan Quigley and Malone was also the holder on all three made kicks, which also perhaps means something.

The punt coverage unit had good numbers, but only because of that penalty negating a 24-yard return. Demario Davis was guilty of overpursuing on that play. It was Troy Davis who drew that flag, as he did a good job of getting down there all day. As you’d expect, so did the primary gunners (Lankster and Trufant) albeit not on that play as both were double teamed. Lansanah also got down there to make a good tackle. McIntyre led the team with two special teams tackles, but also had a special teams penalty. Obviously the kickoff coverage unit didn’t get to do much, what with all four kicks being touchbacks.

The return units didn’t get much done either. Their longest runback on a kickoff was 22 yards by Adams, who would have gained more and maybe even broken into the open field had he not tripped over the 20-yard line. Predictably, Jeremy Kerley fair caught both of his punt return chances. Zach Rogers had one nice return for 11 yards though, along with another fair catch and an eight yard return.

For those of you interested in the long snapper battle, Tanner Purdum was used six times and Pat Scales only three times.

Conclusions

I’m not going to go into any great detail in the conclusion because everything has been covered over the course of the four parts. This was a sloppy performance with some positive signs and some things that need obvious work.

I’m enthused about Ellis, Douzable and Mornhinweg, mildly concerned about Peterman and eager to learn more about Ivory, Winters and Geno Smith. Everything else was more or less as expected, although the injuries are a bummer.

Despite the ups and downs, I enjoyed that. Bring on the Jags…

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