Even before the all 22 film comes out, which will provide a verdict on some of the big Jets' defensive breakdowns from Sunday's loss, it is not pretty to see what happened to this defense through the air. To be certain, there were some plays where Russell Wilson simply outexecuted the Jets. You can live with great quarterbacking beating you. On too many plays, though, the Jets were outschemed, tricked, lacked communication, or some combination of the three.
As always, without knowing the way a play was called or the way a player was coached to execute, I can only give you my best guess or guesses as to what happened.
Here was a play that was emblematic of the communication issues on the back end.
Calvin Pryor is on Jimmy Graham in yellow. Buster Skrine is on Doug Baldwin in red.
Baldwin is taking his route up the field to impede Pryor's progress while Graham runs a shallow pattern across the field. This is intended to create a pick.
Unfortunately, it does just that. Does Pryor give Graham too much cushion? Possibly. Again, we can't say for sure how the Jets called the play. In any event, Pryor is picked. At this point, they need to switch. Skrine needs to pass Baldwin off to Pryor and take Graham.
It doesn't happen.
Here you have a play where the Jets get tricked by a simple motion.
Baldwin is motioning into the backfield.
Darron Lee shifts, and Skrine has to give Baldwin up as he lines up in the backfield.
Unfortunately for the Jets, both Lee and Calvin Pryor at the end of the line, make a move to cover Baldwin. Jimmy Graham is left uncovered.
Here the Jets just get caught in a total busted coverage as everybody's focus is on the bunched group of receivers in the tight formation near the goal line. Nobody picks up the back slipping out of the backfield (Marcus Williams maybe? Possibly?)
On this touchdown, the Seahawks isolate C.J. Spiller on David Harris on a route.
Harris needs help inside, but Darron Lee and Marcus Gilchrist aren't there to provide it. They are both occupying the same area away from Harris as Wilson is flushed right. Even with his ability to scramble compromised, you have to respect his ability to run it, but that requires one defender, not two. Somebody should be there to help Harris. (My guess is Gilchrist.)
How about this play when Pryor takes the vertical route and leaves the short inside route to Marcus Williams even though they are positioned at the snap to take away just the opposite?
You have Darron Lee coming over to help on the underneath target.
I don't know whether this was the wrong read Pryor made at the line. Maybe they were trying to trap Wilson by either having Lee drop over underneath. In any event, the Jets end up in Pryor one on one against a wide receiver, which is a bad matchup.
The Jets seemed to either blow an assignment here, or got too cute with their coverage.
Speaking of getting too cute, how about using Sheldon Richardson in coverage?
Richardson loses track of where he needs to be and drops too far, leaving Graham a ton of running room underneath.
This is the type of call that gets people either to say you are a genius or a fool as a defensive coordinator. If you surprise the offensive line with unexpected blitzers and a lineman dropping into coverage to clog a short passing lane, it could go extremely well. If they pick it up, and you end up with a big guy who is not used to playing zone coverage, it can get ugly.
Given all of the problems the Jets had at the back of the defense in the first four weeks and this game in particular, I can't help but wonder whether this might have been one to scrap. When things aren't going well, sometimes you need to get back to basics, not put players in unfamiliar territory like they did with Richardson here where they are prone to make mistakes.
It is tough to say how much of the problem is the scheme, how much is the coaching, and how much is the players. These are just ugly breakdowns, though.