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New York Jets: Looking at a Breakdown

Al Bello

I couldn't blame you if you wanted to avert your eyes, but let's take a look at what the heck went wrong during the disastrous trick play the Jets ran on a kickoff last week that made them start an offensive series on their own 3 yard line. It was painful to watch. Percy Harvin decided to run out a kick 9 yards deep in the end zone. The Jets somehow thought making a player lie on the ground would make the Bills lose track of him. It was just difficult to figure how the Jets thought this would work. Former special teams coach and current media analyst Mike Westhoff has been telling anybody who would listen that the Jets didn't get that play from him because he doesn't want to be blamed for such an absurd play call.


You see how deep Harvin is when he takes the kickoff out. In that situation any trick play probably should be cancelled, and the returner should take a knee. At the very least, Harvin can't leave the end zone. You also see T.J. Graham who the Jets apparently thought would become invisible if he just looked like he was taking a nap on the turf.


The blocking is all flowing away from Harvin and to Graham's side of the field. There are going to be multiple Bills coming at him untouched. He's also going to be stopping for the lateral attempt so if he decides to not throw it, he'll be completely stopped. Harvin vs. unblocked defenders is one thing when he's at top speed. From a stationary position it's another. Even if Harvin still attempts this play and stays in the end zone, he can still take a knee for the touchback if it isn't there. Once he brings it out, it's all or nothing.


Graham isn't available to take a lateral because the Bills have an unblocked guy running at him. Harvin has taken the ball out of the end zone and is finished.

How the Bills got an unblocked guy to Graham is also worth a look.


The Jets have blocks set up on everybody but the outside guy. Calvin Pryor is running across the field at the kick, and this seems to be his responsibility, but he doesn't get there.


Now before you jump all over Pryor, let's take a look at where these guys are lined up at the kickoff so you can see how much ground the Jets are asking him to cover.


That's a tremendous run for Pryor to have to make. It's also possible the Jets didn't set up their blocking assignments well, but Pryor is running from the kick in this direction.

When running a play like this you have to consider the likelihood of it being executed correctly. In this case it feels like an inordinate number of things needed to go right.  You needed the Bills to lose track of Graham. You need Harvin to throw an accurate lateral, something not exactly in his wheelhouse. You needed the Jets to block properly. You might have needed Pryor to cover a crazy amount of ground.

The biggest thing is that you needed Harvin to execute this. Consider Percy Harvin's situation. His head was probably spinning at this point. He had been on a new team for ten days. He was still probably learning the playbook on offense and special teams. He was getting used to new teammates, new coaches, and a new football culture. Off the football field, he had just moved. He was either looking for a new place to live or had just moved. He was still learning about his new area, where to shop for groceries, where to go out at night, etc.

Given all of this, was it really wise to give him an unconventional trick play he isn't used to running where he had to read and execute with precision?

This is emblematic of the coaching problems on this team. Yes, there is a major talent issue. Yes, John Idzik has done a bad job. That doesn't mean the coaches are doing a good job. Putting players in a position to fail isn't about talent.