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New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions: Collision Low Crossers

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The linebackers need to be better in coverage than they were against Golden tate.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

As we head forward, one thing the New York Jets will need to clean up is the physicality of their linebackers in zone coverage against slot receivers. Golden Tate had 58 yards on a pair of catches Sunday primarily because in both instances, linebackers didn't get a hand on him.

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On this call you'll see David Harris near the top of your screen circled in green. He has dropped into what appears to be in zone coverage to his left. Calvin Pace at the bottom appears to be in zone coverage to his right. The middle of the field is open because the Jets seemed to be looking to clog throwing lanes to the outside and covering the flat. This is within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Pace needs to be able to hit Tate here and keep him from getting to the middle of the field.

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Pace seems to not see Tate who gets to the middle and makes a catch for a first down. Calvin Pryor compounds things by missing a tackle, and Tate takes it up the field for 35 yards. Tate really shouldn't get to the middle to begin with.

It happened again a little later.

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Demario Davis is occupied on the bottom in teal. The middle is open. Harris has to be able to knock Tate off his route.

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Harris doesn't react quickly enough, and Tate gets inside him. 23 yard gain.

Linebackers can't run with wide receivers. They have to use their strength advantage to get physical and disrupt routes. This is something the Jets will need to clean up because they are sure to get tested on this. The Jets need to be able to run coverages like this.