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3rd and Long - a Rex Ryan Achilles Heel?

Hey, it is just one game and the defense is full of new players, but the question needs to be raised. Before Pettine started taking over for Rex in 2011 there was a definite sense that the swarming chaos that Rex Ryan likes to employ had gotten "figured out" in parts of 2010 and 2011. Wish I had the stats, but I remember discussing how vulnerable the Jets became in the one down supposedly they were trying to get QBs in: 3rd and long, and sometimes even 3rd and very long. Many at time the defense just couldn't get off the field in 2010-11 in the 2nd half, mostly it seemed because Rex was just too stubborn. He couldn't resist the candy of a QB in a long down, and only Pettine's mix of zones seemed to restore order in 2011-12.

So here we are early on in 2013 and there is at least the suggestion that the Jets could be facing 3rd and long issues again. They were really stout against the run on Sunday, much to pretty much everyone's surprise, but the arc of the game very much seemed in keeping with past Jet Rex Ryan narratives. Organized chaos gets the other team flustered, the Defense doesn't get the knock out punch, the Offense doesn't open up the lead, and then late the Defense can't get off the field.

leaving out extraordinarily long downs of 20+ yards - 3rd and long means between 7 and 19 yards to go

First Half 3rd and long

The Jets faced 3rd and long 5 times, and 4 of those times had positive results (only a Jet penalty kept it from being perfect). Two penalties forced, a sack and an INT.

Second Half 3rd and long

The Jets faced 3rd and long 6 times and had negative results 5 times. Four passes for 1st downs averaging 22.25 yards, and a penalty. One incomplete.

As much as aggressiveness has marked a Rex Ryan defense, also has the inability to get off the field late, as well as the inability to force turnovers. It makes for a dangerous mix because the defense will look like it is dominating, but does not get over the hump. And then it begins to crack. If indeed we did not pull off the improbable on Sunday we would be looking at a text-book Rex Ryan defensive collapse against a pretty mediocre QB, largely due to second half 3rd and long woes. We've heard the rah-rah talk from Rex for a while now, how long downs are supposed to be an automatic hangman's noose for the QB, but these downs actually are some of the least predictable of all.

In this game 3rd and long produced a negative Jet result (a 1st down or a penalty) 54% of the time, and in the 2nd half 83% of the time.

Rex likes to play the way he likes to play, but with Revis no longer here, and Milliner looking like he is going to have his troubles in isolation coverage as a rookie, his high-risk habits may produce some bad 2nd halves. The New England game will be good temperature taking for this defense in 3rd and long because Belichick has a history of saving plays designed to punish Rex Ryan aggression late in games, and he has the quarterback to pull it off.

these stats were hand done, may have error.

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