With all the concern over the Jets’ cornerbacks, Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen did a creditable job and held up just fine.
Walls did get beaten for a touchdown and called for pass interference, but other than that was hardly targeted. Allen was targeted six times, but limited the yardage to just 26 with good open field tackling and a pass defensed. Rex Ryan and his staff do deserve plenty of credit for putting them in a position to succeed though.
In the early stages, the Raiders had a lot of success (Carr opened up 7-of-7) with short passes to the flat. However, the Jets adjusted to this in the second half and their corners came up on these a lot quicker to limit their effectiveness.
Some of the things they did to enable this to happen, we’ve already talked about; namely, mixing up their blitz packages, dropping front seven players into coverage and using Quinton Coples to jam receivers at the line. However, they didn’t stop there. When I wrote about how the Jets might use Allen when the move was first announced, I wondered if they might borrow from the Patriots and have him pass off his man to the deep safety on any downfield routes so that he could operate in zone coverage underneath. That was indeed something they did yesterday. In addition, when Kyle Wilson was in the game as a slot corner, they sent Calvin Pryor into the box to show blitz and Wilson basically operated as a deep safety with a linebacker dropping off to cover the slot guy in the short/intermediate area. To read more of this story, click here
All offseason, the talk has been of how Quinton Coples has dropped weight and become faster in preparation for a more versatile role. However, during offseason, the Jets showed very little of this nature to the point where I was questioning whether the whole thing might have been a ruse.
Yesterday, the Jets fully unveiled the new Coples, as he did a variety of different things including more “linebackery” type stuff than we’ve ever seen from him in the past. For one thing, Coples was surprisingly taken out of the game in passing situations for much of the game, which kept him fresh to do plenty of key rushing down the stretch.
He also dropped into coverage 15% of the time, more than twice as much as in any game last year. This didn’t just comprise dropping off the line to occupy a blocker so that a blitzer could come free and record a sack (as happened on the Dawan Landry sack), Coples also lined up opposite a slot receiver to jam them at the line on a couple of occasions and on one play he jammed a tight end and then dropped into the flat where he would have had Maurice Jones-Drew cornered but for the fact Muhammad Wilkerson deflected the pass incompete. In fact, that deflection easily could have bounced Coples’ way and then he’d have been in the end zone.
Could it be that the Jets were holding something back? Coples and Jason Babin were only in the game together for three plays. Two of those plays ended in sacks, with the other being a running play for a short gain. To read more of this story, click here
“I believe we can go up there are push them around a bit.”
The words of former Jet tackle Austin Howard in the build up to this week’s game there. How did Howard and his teammates fare against the Jets’ formidable front, though?
It would be Muhammad Wilkerson to set the tone. Almost certainly by design, he lined up opposite Howard on the first play and beat him to get into the backfield. Derek Carr threw early so Wilkerson couldn’t get there, but the pass was stopped on the outside for no gain. Then, on the next snap, Damon Harrison was the next to get a crack at him (I imagine they drew lots and Sheldon Richardson was furious to have lost). Harrison shed Howard’s block and stuffed a run.
Man, I hope those plays were mic’d up…
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Some were doubting how much of an upgrade the Jets would obtain at the wide receiver position, but they performed well in the season opener.
Geno Smith threw 15 passes to wide receivers and only one (the lofted throw to Greg Salas in the end zone) hit the floor. (Of course one other was intercepted). Another two completions were called back due to penalties.
In his first game as a Jet, Eric Decker caught five passes for a team-leading 74 yards and had another long reception negated by a penalty. Not bad for a “fourth option”…huh, Mr. Schlereth?
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Clearly the Jets running game took control of this game, especially in the second half. Chris Ivory’s 71-yard touchdown helped the Jets amass 212 yards on the day as he was able to break into the clear against a worn-down defense.
Ivory was pretty boom or bust on the day, as other than his touchdown run, five of his carries netted just one yard, while the other four netted 30, including a couple of first downs. Ivory broke six tackles in total, according to Pro Football Focus, and 96 of his 102 yards came after contact.
Chris Johnson looked sharp too, averaging over five yards per carry and catching five passes, including one for a first down and the touchdown on the shovel pass. Each of them gave up a pressure in pass protection though.
However, what I want to look at in more detail here is the Jets’ experimentation with an inverted wishbone formation.
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After the game, a lot was made of the penalties the Jets committed, although only four offensive penalties were attributed to linemen. Right tackle Breno Giacomini, in his first regular season game as a Jet and right guard Willie Colon each had false start penalties early in the game which ultimately proved inconsequential. However, Colon had two more penalties (a hold and a facemask) that stalled drives in Oakland territory, forcing the Jets to settle for a field goal.
These penalties shouldn’t overshadow what was a productive afternoon’s work for the offensive line though. The Jets racked up 212 yards on the ground and were averaging 4.9 yards per carry even before Chris Ivory broke the game open with his 71-yard touchdown run. They also maintained clean pockets in pass protection consistently throughout the day, limiting the amount of pressure Geno Smith was under (with the two Raider sacks being attributable to Smith holding the ball too long and a missed block by tight end Jeff Cumberland).
Ironically, that Ivory touchdown came about despite some poor initial blocking. D’Brickashaw Ferguson badly missed his block on the left side and Cumberland allowed his man to get inside leverage so two Raiders were in the backfield and almost sandwiched Ivory for a loss. Colon took his man and drove him across to the left side though to open up a huge hole for Ivory to burst into. Giacomini then made a solid second level block as Ivory broke into the clear. On the left side, Nick Mangold initially doubled with Brian Winters who was then also able to drive his man laterally out of the play while Mangold peeled up to pick up a linebacker at the second level and steer him out of the way. Jeremy Kerley contributed a good downfield block too. To read more of this story, click here
With the Jets trailing 7-3 late in the first half, Geno Smith stumbled on his drop-back and was immediately under pressure. He managed to regain his balance and smartly rolled out to the sideline where he could safely throw the ball out of bounds to avoid any loss of yardage. It was a good recovery by Smith, in a situation where he might have lost yardage or even tried to force something and risked a turnover in the past. What happened afterwards was more remarkable though, as Smith was statistically perfect from that point onwards.
Twelve passes, 12 completions. He actually had fewer incompletions than Michael Vick over the last 32 and a half minutes of the game, leaving you wondering whether anything less than a perfect 12-for-12 would have still been enough to spark the comeback win. With the running game taking control in the second half, you can’t get a better game manager performance than that. Or can you?
In reality, this is more of a statistical anomaly than anything else. Smith did throw an incompletion in the second half – an overthrow to Eric Decker on the outside – but it was negated by a defensive penalty. Still, he also had two other completions that didn’t count – one negated by a penalty and one because it was a two point conversion. The 12 completions in a row were a career-best (his previous high being eight) and although they only accounted for 98 yards, the fact he could even touch this statistic considering where he was 12 months ago is noteworthy. To read more of this story, click here