BGA Extra: Bills at Jets

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 the game against the Bills. If you would like your questions answered in future, remember to read BGA each week and leave your question in the comments section.

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BGA: Scouting Marcus Williams

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

Yesterday, the Jets announced that they had activated cornerback Marcus Williams from the practice squad. Jets fans might not know too much about Williams, so I’ve been reviewing game footage to try and assess what he brings to the table.

The 23-year old Williams is 5 foot 11, 192 pounds, and is an undrafted rookie out of North Dakota State. He spent the offseason with the Houston Texans and, while he didn’t make it through final cuts, he did spend three weeks on their practice squad. The Jets added him to their practice squad four weeks ago and released linebacker AJ Edds yesterday to create a roster space so they could add him to the active roster.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from Williams’ appearances in preseason to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

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BGA Wrap-up: Bills at Jets

Once again, I can’t wait to turn the page on this game. From an emotional standpoint, I think I’d already turned the page on this season, but that won’t stop me from reviewing the games every week to try and assess the direction this team is headed in.

The news that Michael Vick will be starting on Sunday should make for some interesting developments over the next month or so, even if it’s only a short term move. This could have a major impact upon the direction the franchise, not just the team, is headed in.

Then again, maybe it will be more of the same. We’ll start to see as the team heads for a tough test on Sunday in Kansas City.

There are links to each BGA article or the option to read the offensive and/or defensive BGA in full after the jump.

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BGA: Worst. Play. Ever.

I’d more or less given up on the season, so this was for all intents and purposes a meaningless game, but the joke of a play the Jets tried early in the second half still had me fuming.

The Jets had some momentum before half time but their first drive of the second half was doomed to failure after a penalty backed them inside the 10 and then Michael Vick took an ill-advised sack near the goal line. Still, even after that gave the Bills good field position, the Jets were able to hold them to a field goal and this would be their chance to drive for a score like they had been doing in the second quarter and get it back to a one-possession game.

I was already annoyed that the Jets had been running the ball out of the end zone too often when starting at their 20 would have been a much higher percentage option. However, the lack of judgment shown on this next play was MIND-BOGGLING.

Percy Harvin fielded the punt at the back of his end zone and ran it out to the one yard line and then looked to throw a lateral to TJ Graham. Graham had been lying down on his stomach in the end zone in hopes that the Bills might not realize he was there. They did and Harvin had to eat the ball at his own two-yard line.

After the jump, I will be listing all the ways this was utterly stupid. It’s going to be a long list.

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BGA: Backs to the Walls

Let’s start off our defensive backs recap by looking at the coverage breakdowns that led to the Bills’ biggest plays. As ever, this comes with the caveat that I won’t have seen the all-22 coaches film until tomorrow and that I can’t always be sure about what each player’s assignment was.

The first breakdown was something I mentioned in the linebacker’s review and saw Robert Woods line up on the right and then run across field in behind the linebackers to catch a 25-yard pass. While Antonio Allen was the nearest man to him, he basically just followed him across field having seen that nobody was covering in that area. It was David Harris that Woods ran in behind, on a play similar to one which the Jets have been burned on a number of times over the last month or so. It’s possible, however, that the safety on that side of the field (Calvin Pryor) had dropped too deep.

The next one was Woods’ 22-yard touchdown pass. On this play, Allen got turned around on a post-route and was unable to recover and knock the ball away on what effectively turned out to be a back-shoulder throw. With Allen playing him with outside technique, I wondered if he was expecting help to the inside. On this occasion, Dawan Landry was the safety on that side of the field, but he came up to to pick up a tight end underneath with Pryor dropping across. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pryor hesitated before getting across late.

We then have the 84-yard bomb to Sammy Watkins two plays after the Bills had fired a warning shot on a similar route. Darrin Walls was playing downfield latch coverage and let Watkins blow right by him. There was no safety support, although this was another ill-fated Jets gimmick as this was a look they’ve given before, getting Saalim Hakim to show blitz off the edge and then sprint back to the deep middle to (in theory) take away any deep pass down the seam. A quarterback could fall into this trap by underestimating Hakim’s speed. Instead had the Jets overestimated Hakim’s supposed fastest-in-the-NFL speed and he wasn’t able to get anywhere close to being able to prevent the completion (although he did make the tackle).

Finally, the 61-yard touchdown to Watkins was simply a missed tackle by Walls, compounded by Pryor once again coming up way too fast with a bad angle and overpursuing to leave 50+ yards of open field behind him. Four breakdowns, all of them, in my mind, fixable just by coaching adjustments without even needing to improve the talent level of the players involved and without which Kyle Orton was just 6-for-13 for 46 yards. These breakdowns show no signs of slowing down or stopping though.

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BGA: Backing away slowly

The linebackers played well as a group this week, but their usage continues to be surprising. For example, Antwan Barnes – one of the best situational pass rushers in the entire league over the last five or so years – played 18 snaps and rushed the passer on exactly none of them.

In large part that was because the Bills only dropped back to pass 22 times. This also limited Quinton Coples and Jason Babin to just 19 pass rush attempts between them. Still, when you end up with Calvin Pace having the most pass rush attempts out of the four of them, something’s not quite right. Pace actually only played 37 snaps, his fewest since 2010 but still rushed Orton 12 times.

In terms of results, the Jets generated four sacks in total with Coples leading the way with 1.5, Pace getting credit for half of Coples’ first sack and Babin drawing a double team with a sharp inside rush to create room for Kyle Wilson to come off the edge unblocked. They didn’t generate much in the way of pressure other than these plays, though, although they each played their part in terms of stopping the run.

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BGA: Keep moving them back

Despite racking up 43 points, I’m not sure I’d be too encouraged by this win if I was a Bills fan. Other than exploiting some blown coverages, the Bills struggled to do anything on offense and I’m not sure they have the firepower to beat anyone with a half-decent offense.

Of course those 43 points contribute to the fact the Jets have now allowed a league-leading 228 on the season. However, the nature of the performance sums up how it’s the offense that’s the problem. The Bills started eight of their first 13 drives inside the Jets half and only scored one touchdown (on a one-yard “drive”) and three field goals on those eight drives.

Once again it was the defensive line that was the driving force behind the Jets defensive performance, led by Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, who continue to play at a high level. The pair shared a first half sack and each blew up a handful of runs at, behind or close to the line of scrimmage with the Bills held to 67 yards on 32 carries (2.1 ypa).

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