Bent Gets Analytical: Part Two – Offensive Line

Disclaimer: All analysis was taken from the TV coverage, so at times it may have been hard to identify players or what was happening, because I was limited by their footage. However, I have tried to be as accurate as possible and apologize for any inaccuracies or omissions (which I am happy to correct).

After the jump, I look at the performance of the offensive line from the Panthers game, including the Brick v Peppers matchup and a detailed look at Alan Faneca’s performance. Please add your own insight in the comments. There is much more to come later today.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson: I was mainly focused on the matchup with Julius Peppers, so I did not pay detailed attention to the run blocking, since it is rare that the Jets look to run with Ferguson as the primary run blocker:
– On a third down play, Brick was beaten, but managed to deter Peppers just long enough to enable the completion.
– On the next pass play, he stayed in front, but Peppers bullrushed and drove him back. Still, he again held up long enough to enable the pass to be completed.
– On the next pass, he was matched up with Brown and solidly repelled him.
– Next time, he repelled Peppers’ first move well and then got some help anyway from Faneca.
– On the third down long pass to Keller, he did a great job on Peppers, knocking him off balance.
– On a third down scramble, he handled Peppers easily.
– When matched up with linebackers, which happened on several occasions, he was easily able to stay in front of them and use his long arms and strength.
– Peppers did have a forced fumble, but you can’t blame Brick for this, as he was lined up at RT as the Jets went with an unusual formation with two extra linemen in.
– Brick handled Peppers easily, as he got nowhere near Sanchez on a dump off pass.
-On TJ’s TD, he didn’t sustain his block, but this actually proved to be a good thing as it meant he (and his man) weren’t in the way when TJ cut back.
– Brick did a great job getting into his stance and was ready for Peppers’ attempted spin move, although Sanchez made a quick throw anyway for a big gain to Edwards.
– Had good protection on Keller’s catch and fumble, staying in front of Peppers and taking him down.
– They tried to fool him by matching him up with Brown and sending the DT on an outside stunt, but he picked up the DT effortlessly. Sanchez rolled out the other way and was hurt.
– On a running play, Peppers had a tackle for a 3 yard loss but he was Faneca’s man. Brick had Anderson who went to ground but did not get to the ball carrier.
– Took Pepper down as he tried for an inside move on a quick pass to keller. This may have been close to a hold.
– Had good protection on Peppers, but Mangold’s man beat him and when Sanchez stepped up and tried to run, Peppers was credited with a cheap 1/2 sack.

Conclusions: It seemed to get easier for Brick as the game went on, almost as if he needed to see all of Peppers’ moves at least once before he could handle him. Peppers actually had a decent day, but none of his production was down to mistakes by Brick. Ferguson has built up his strength to the point where, when he is beaten (which happens to even the best LTs), he can usually buy the QB an extra second just by extending his arms and shoving them offline. With Favre, this was usually good enough to avoid the sack, but with Sanchez not having the same pocket presence, there have been times when this wasn’t enough. However, based on this display, he is getting to the point where he hardly ever gets beaten anyway. Seriously impressive. As a run blocker, he is rarely the focal point of any attempt, but has been a lot better this year and seemed solid enough in this one.

Alan Faneca: Many people believe that Faneca has regressed since the Jets signed him. He has tended to struggle in pass protection and is not the dominating run blocker he once was. Right? Let’s see how he fared on Sunday:
– On an early running play, he was overpowered and turned by his man, effectively blowing up the play at the line.
– Shortly after, he was driven back into the backfield. Jones tried to cut back into the hole, but a LB was there to meet him for a loss.
– Looked good pulling, but didn’t create a hole and the run was stuffed.
– Tried to make a block at the second level, but picked the wrong guy and the other one stuffed the run in the hole.
– As mentioned above, gave Brick some help in pass protection on a few occasions. He actually looked better in pass protection than in the running game in the first half.
– Improved a lot after his slow start, with a good block at the second level on a six yard run.
– On the first play of the second half, he blocked down to create a huge hole for a long run by Jones. This was a play they ran effectively all day, as Mangold also blocked down, but Brick stood his man up.
– On TJ’s touchdown, he took on three different defensive players after pulling to the right. Of course, TJ cut back and went in on the left side.
– Either he or Mangold were beaten for a tackle in the backfield in the fourth quarter. They may have got into one another’s way.

Conclusion: Overall, Faneca seemed to do pretty well in pass protection. His run blocking was actually good once he got going, but it was a slow start and at no point did he really deliver one of his trademark punishing blocks to create a big hole.

The Best of the Rest:
– Woody and Moore sustained their blocks well on a 9 yard run. The Jets did seem to run right more often, but maybe they were just running away from Peppers?
– Woody was almost beaten on a third and six scramble, but a good “punch” at the last minute enabled Sanchez to step up.
– On a third and long sack, Woody and Moore did not move. That may have been on Mangold.
– The interception came as a result of pressure from T-Rich’s man.
– The defense got penetration against the left side of the line to create a one yard loss.
– Mangold was called for a late hold.
– Hunter and Turner saw plenty of playing time.
– The Jets even tried running the ball with Keller inline. He made a block at the second level, but did not sustain it and Diggs was able to make a diving tackle, which prevented what could have been a huge gain. The next time he was inline, he made the same block, but this time split off and ran down the seam and caught a pass. Finally, it may be only baby steps, but it should be noted that he later did sustain a solid block on a safety as an inline TE on a run to his side for a modest gain.

Up next: A look at the linebackers.