BGA: Jets run defense springs a leak

This was a weird game in many respects, as the staples upon which the Jets’ identity has been formulated all seemed to let them down and yet still they somehow managed to come closer to an elite team than anyone expected.

This was no different for the run defense, which gave up 145 yards at almost 4.5 yards per carry. For the second straight week, the Jets gameplan seemed to be to remove run stopping personnel from the game to discourage the Broncos from passing the ball too much and, for the second straight week, this plan half-worked. The Broncos did run the ball a lot and as a result their passing numbers were down. However, Rex Ryan may have overestimated the Jets ability to stop a running game even with some unheralded players toting the rock.

Last week, the numbers for San Diego were artificially increased by some long runs with the Jets actually stuffing the run on a regular basis. This week, the Broncos were able to pick up chunks of yardage a lot more consistently. One thing I noticed this week moreso than in any other week was that the Jets were constantly complaining to the officials about being held. The Broncos were even called for holding four times, so I think to some extent they were constantly pushing the envelope and seeing how often they could get away with it. Perhaps it’s an approach the Jets themselves might have had more success with.

To read more of this story, click here

BGA: The sun’ll come out, Amaro

There was one big reason for optimism from yesterday’s game providing us with a rare positive sign for the future. Tight end (although he lined up inline just three times) Jace Amaro’s performance saw him catch 10 passes and score his first NFL touchdown on a fade route from Geno Smith.

Amaro caught 10 of 12 passes with one being broken up by a diving defender and one being badly dropped over the middle. While most of these were short dump-off passes, there were a couple of nice grabs downfield.

The dump-off passes are fine anyway and perhaps just what this offense needed. During the Mark Sanchez era, some people used to say that Dustin Keller was a big part of the Jets’ running game – not because of his blocking, but because his receiving contributions on short dump-off passes and play-action had more to do with the success of the running game than their downfield passing. All these short dump-offs to Amaro at least served the purpose of giving the Jets some plays with modest chunks of positive yardage when they weren’t getting anything from their conventional running game…and Keller never caught 10 in a game.

Amaro was a target of much derision this offseason when he talked about potentially catching 100 passes in a season, but if he can match yesterday’s performance on a regular basis, that may actually be within reach one day. His size is obvious and he is clearly athletic. Despite his “tiny” hands (and despite his drop yesterday) he can catch the ball consistently. He also continues to be a better blocker than advertised, throwing a good screen block to free Ivory for a first down yesterday and continuing to grade out positively overall on the year.

At a position where the best tight ends in the league all made slower starts than he has so far, Amaro is currently eighth in the NFL for tight ends in terms of total receptions and number one for catch rate (85.7%) for any tight ends with at least 20 targets. This is looking like one pick that the front office got right.

To read more of this story, click here

BGA: Running themselves into the ground

Remember when the Jets had the number one running game in the entire NFL? No, not in 2009, last month.

Chris Johnson gained nine yards on three carries. On 21 snaps, he stayed in to block a couple of times and caught a two-yard pass. That was as far as his contributions went. Johnson also had a bad drop and a play where he was apparently supposed to be the target on a screen pass to the left side but apparently went the wrong way forcing Geno Smith to throw the ball away. Right now – while I’d be delighted for him to prove me wrong – it looks like Johnson is either washed-up or doesn’t care and the best case scenario right now might be for the Jets to eventually waive him and have some other team to claim him so that they aren’t on the hook for the rest of his salary this season. On yesterday’s performance, that looks like a pipe dream though.

While I may have been critical of Johnson, he was shockingly the most successful of the four Jets backs this week.

To read more of this story, click here

BGA: Line breaks

After an encouraging start to the season, the Jets offensive line looked to be much better than last year’s with an assumption that the chemistry would gradually improve over the course of the season and the line would continue to improve.

However, instead we’ve seen a gradual erosion of the chemistry on the line to the point where they were totally dominated upfront in yesterday’s game. Something similar happened last year, as the Jets offensive line looked great in the first couple of games, then started to struggle and finally hit the reset button by making a change at left guard, which undoubtedly set them back even further.

It’s interesting that since taking over as the offensive line coach, Mike Devlin’s teams have looked really well prepared at the start of the season and the pass protection has been good, both in terms of pressure surrendered but perhaps more importantly in terms of the clean pockets they’ve provided the quarterback(s). However, as the season has worn on, that hasn’t held up – both this year and last year. It’s especially interesting because before his promotion, the team had a tendency to start slow and then start to click as the season went on.

The offensive line comes in for a lot of unfair criticism, but yesterday’s performance – to some extent as individuals, but moreso as a unit – was one of the worst I can recall since Devlin took over. You need only look at the rushing numbers – running backs carried 13 times for just 20 yards – to know that the run blocking was suspect and while Geno Smith did, as usual, bring plenty of pressure on himself, the line had some major breakdowns in pass protection and rarely seemed to provide him with a clean pocket.

To read more of this story, click here

BGA: Raising the bar

According to the announcers during yesterday’s game, Marty Mornhinweg says that Geno Smith’s biggest problem is that he tries to be “too perfect”. While this almost makes it sound like an empty comment that suggests the Jets are afraid to criticize Smith directly, there may be more to it.

Smith himself said the same thing last December and that sudden realization may have directly influenced this transformation over that last month. If you were asked what your worst quality was at a job interview and gave that answer, you’d be written off as smug, impersonal and self-unaware. Again though, what if there’s some truth to it?

The headline for my quarterback position review after the first game? “Geno Smith and the quest for perfection”. There I actually pointed out where he made a few mistakes in the pocket because he was trying too hard to make the perfect play each time. At the time, I saw this as sign for concern in terms of his development curve, but didn’t anticipate it being a major factor in an impending five-game losing streak.

Ever since then, Smith’s decision making has been poor in terms of taking what the defense gives him and getting rid of the ball in a timely manner. In fact, he’s looked a lot like he did last season at the point where he apparently realized what the problem was. If a basketball team continually passes up high percentage open jump-shots because they want to work it inside for a layup, they’ll often end up forced to take a more difficult shot as the shot clock winds down. In the NFL, the shot clock is only a few seconds – and due to his indecisiveness, Smith has been forced to take a lot of tough shots – in more ways than one.

To read more of this story, click here

BGA: History repeating

Welcome to BGA! We’ll be here the day after every Jets game for an in-depth review of what happened. We’ll look at each position group throughout the day, so keep coming back to TJB to check it out. We’ll also post a summary with links to all the articles later on today.

Let’s move on to discuss yesterday’s game…

While it took a late interception return to provide the final margin, frustrating any gamblers that backed the Jets to cover the spread, 31-17 was not a margin that flattered the Broncos. They were the better team and the Jets’ efforts to get themselves back into the game were admirable but at the same time desperate and futile.

Early in the second half, this had all the hallmarks of a signature Rex Ryan blowout. This wasn’t like the Chargers game where, despite trailing only 7-0 after one, the Jets had been outplayed from the beginning. Here, the Jets rattled the Broncos, took a lead and were more than holding their own. Unfortunately, it took just one mistake and then as soon as they saw some adversity, the Jets crumbled. On this occasion, it was a fumbled punt, which gave the Broncos a short field. That led to their first touchdown and touchdowns on the next two drives after that.

To their credit, the Jets did not buckle completely and managed to keep the Broncos from scoring again after the third of those touchdown drives, which allowed their offense to get them back into the game. In similar situations in the past, effort levels have dropped and three scoring drives in a row has turned into six or seven, so at least the Jets were able to stop the bleeding. This isn’t the stage of the season you want to be celebrating moral victories though – that’s if “well, at least they didn’t lose by 40″ could even be counted as such.

To read more of this story, click here

BGA Preview: Broncos at Jets

During the season, Bent’s Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets’ upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday…

New York will face the reigning AFC champion Denver Broncos later today in a game where most consider a heroic moral victory to be the absolute best case scenario for the reeling Jets. Denver has faced the Jets twice since Rex Ryan has been the coach, but both of these (the Tim Tebow Thursday night debacle two years ago and that 2010 early season game where Santonio Holmes drew a fourth down penalty to set up the winning score) came before Peyton Manning arrived with the Broncos. Since then, they’ve played in Metlife Stadium just twice – once in an easy win on the Giants last year and once in last year’s Super Bowl where they got killed by Seattle.

After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for.

To read more of this story, click here