How Badly Does Geno Need a WRer? - 1st Half INT vs Miami

I didn't think much of it when I saw it, it just lumped itself into the "another Geno INT" pile, but I took a look at the 1st half f the Miami game on the ALL 22 (watching mostly the maligned Winters and Reed) and was pretty shocked at what went down on the final drive of the 1st half. The Jets have been stalled all half on Offense, but they were down only 3-0. 32 seconds left at their own 31. Points here and it could be a different game. But what happens. Uncharacteristically the Jets provide a nice pocket, Geno makes a perfect, almost obvious read, and throws a strike.


Check out 245 Miami middle linebacker Ellerbe threatening blitz. Look where he is looking, to the left. He has it in his mind to break off of this blitz threat at the snap and fall into coverage to someone on the outside.


There he goes! Who in the world does he think he can cover from this out-of-position starting point. A TE? Maybe a Running back? The mystery of mysteries.


Here he is pre-snap. Whoa. He's looking to cover a slot receiver. Really? Yep. 205 lb WR Salas is going to be defended by a 245 MLB, and he is given the angle to boot.


Yes, Ellerbe has very nice speed for a MLBer, but he is on your WR. Salas doesn't exactly explode off the line, and Ellerbe is right up to full speed pretty quickly.


At the release of the ball Salas has the step (in fact he should have a bit more, but he doesn't). Geno throws the ball exactly as he should. The safety is way off. This is on the receiver to go get, and he has open field in front of him if he can beat the safety to the inside after the catch. He does not aggressively drive past Ellerbe, he instead is controlled by Ellerbe's position, he does not turn up into the route. He passively coasts through the route and Ellerbe make a pretty incredible coverage play, reading the receiver and turning for the ball at the last second.


This is on Salas. I don't care what MLBer you have on you, even any from the history of the league. If he lines up over the center and you are in the slot, you have to beat that coverage. You can't have MLBers covering your slot guys from over center. But really this is more on the roster. This is a perfect example of how receiver weakness gives the defense all kinds of options they might not otherwise have.

It also points in the opposite direction. Currently the two Inside LBers Harris and Davis have a very hard time covering even TEs. In fact they are pretty much 80% completion guys. There is no way in the world you could put either on a RB or a WR, especially out of position like this and expect anything other than a wide open reception. Demario Davis whose gift is supposedly his speed, couldn't make this play in his dreams. The Jet pass defense is seriously restricted in the kinds of coverages they can run due to poor coverage skills at the LBer postion. And even their safeties can't cover TEs really (Landry was abused much of this half, preserving drives). In this single play you have crystallized two significant roster problems. We have journeymen receivers who can be covered by a good MLB, and you can see the big difference that a LBer who can cover can make.

And what kind of difference is this? Well, a completion there would leave them about 15 yards from a game tying FG - and I contend that a catch in stride may have been a TD, the safety didn't play it all that well. Instead in a game that pretty much was the season, a game that closed the door on all but mathematical playoff hopes, made a turn. Geno while doing everything right for a change gets "exposed" as being error prone. The Jets go into half down 2 FGs instead of tied or even with the league. It was a momentum changer. Instead the fan base and likely the team was depressed and Geno is replaced by Simms who does nothing to change their fortunes. What would a receiver have meant there? And it isn't just Salas, Nelson has repeatedly shown passivity on routes or with with the ball in the air, as has Cumberland as well.

Sidenote: I only watched the 1st half but in my Winters watch he wasn't the problem. He had two poor blocks on run plays that were on the other side of the formation, but other than that he was perfectly fine in terms of play influence from what I saw. Maybe things change in the 2nd half, but up to this point he huge problem in protection was Howard - he was beat outright twice with a big hit on Geno, and another hit. And Ferguson was also beat badly twice. They were the protection story in the first half.

Reed looked fine in the first half, playing very deep most of the time. His blitz did seem to add to the confusion and then the eventual pressure that produced the Cromartie lollypop INT.

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