Let's take a look at how the first team offense did for the Jets in its limited action against Washington on Friday night.
1-10-NYJ 20 (5:36) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass incomplete short middle to 15-B.Marshall [94-P.Smith].
This play kind of set the tone for the night. The offense had a sloppy night, and it began on the first play.
The Jets are using play action here, but Brandon Bostick doesn't sell the run. Instead of run blocking, he pops back at the snap.
You have to sell the run when you are going play action. If you do that, a pass rusher isn't going to try and get too far up the field because he might run too far outside of the gap he is supposed to be defending and open up a hole for the back. Bostick retreats and gives away that he is pass blocking.
The reason it is so essential for him to sell the run is that his assignment is edge rusher Preston Smith. If he sells the run, Smith stays at home. When Bostick gives away the pass, Smith can pin his ears back and go upfield with Bostick one on one. A matchup between a tight end and an edge rusher is an unpleasant one for the offense. You can see that in the red circle.
Fortunately for the Jets, you can also see that the linebackers bite on play action in the yellow circle and are drawn near the line of scrimmage. This means they aren't there to clog Ryan Fitzpatrick's passing lane underneath. He has a clear throw to Brandon Marshall.
Unfortunately for the Jets, Marshall drops it.
You're dealing with the whole package when you get Marshall. He does so much well that you just have to live with his hands getting inconsistent at times.
2-10-NYJ 20 (5:31) (Shotgun) 29-B.Powell right tackle to NYJ 22 for 2 yards (35-D.Phillips, 92-C.Baker).
This looks like a pretty basic zone blocking run to the right. The blockers are almost all flowing to the right on the play.
At the snap, you have Brian Winters and Wesley Johnson (starting in place of Nick Mangold) working a double team. Despite the double team, however, they can't wipe their guy out.
Then when Winters leaves Johnson and hits the second level, it looks like he focuses on the wrong guy. He should have gone to block the guy who was behind him.
Chris Baker (the guy Winters and Johnson double teamed but couldn't wipe out) gets off Johnson's block, and Dashaun Phillips (the guy who seemed to be Winters' next assignment) comes up to assist on the tackle.
Bilal Powell is stuffed for a two yard gain. Winters and Johnson are not going to be sending tape of this footage to Canton, Ohio, anytime soon.
3-8-NYJ 22 (4:51) (Shotgun) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass incomplete deep left to 87-E.Decker.
To me, this is a third down play that shows you the limitations the Jets are dealing with at the quarterback position.
Even though Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 3x1 set to his left, he is focused on only two of the three receivers on this left side. Kenbrell Thompkins and Eric Decker are running some sort of route combination to his left while Quincy Enunwa is going to the middle of the field. (Forgive me. Lack of all 22 film prevents me from being more specific.)
Nothing is doing on the two man combo on the left side so Fitzpatrick throws it away. The thing is he had a clean pocket here. There was plenty of time to move on.
Again we are somewhat constrained here by the limited viewing angles, but it sure looks like Enunwa is breaking open in the middle of the field.
At the very least, Fitzpatrick has more than enough time to scan his other options rather than throwing it away this quickly, but he's too locked onto his first reads. Again, this is an area where I think quarterback play holds back the Jets. I don't think there is a quarterback on the roster who is going to execute this play consistently. Thus ends the first drive with a three and out.
1-10-NYJ 3 (13:24) (Shotgun) B. Powell left end pushed ob at NYJ 13 for 10 yards (P. Riley).
This comes down to Powell making a play. Everybody is blocked by the Jets except safety David Bruton, Jr. Powell throws a move on him and beats him to the corner. This is what separates the good skill players from the ones who aren't good. It's one thing when you take yardage paved by somebody else. It's another thing when you create your own yardage by beating somebody.
1-10 NYJ 13 (12:55) (Shotgun) R. Fitzpatrick pass short left to J. Amaro pushed ob at NYJ 16 for 3 yards (D. Hall).
This is a pretty simple quick two man concept on the left side stretching the defense. Fitzpatrick is pretty much reading cornerback Greg Toler here.
Brandon Marshall is going vertically. Jace Amaro is going into the flat. If Toler doesn't follow Marshall and sits in the short zone to take away Amaro, Fitzpatrick goes to Marshall. If Toler follows Marshall up the field, the flat is open for a quick pass to Amaro. As it turns out, Toler follows Marshall up the field, leaving Amaro open.
The pass is completed, but DeAngelo Hall does a nice job reacting to limit the play to a gain of 3 yards.
When people talk about a Chan Gailey offense working for a quarterback, I think this is a good example. It is a very simple read. Is it a huge gain here? No, but it is a positive play on first down. That is what you want.
2-7-NYJ 16 (12:23) (Shotgun) 29-B.Powell left tackle to NYJ 20 for 4 yards (50-M.Spaight).
This Powell 4 yard gain is wiped out on a holding penalty by a pulling Winters.
2-15-NYJ 8 (11:59) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass short middle to 47-K.Davis to NYJ 22 for 14 yards (50-M.Spaight). FUMBLES (50-M.Spaight), RECOVERED by WAS-23-D.Hall at NYJ 25. 23-D.Hall to NYJ 17 for 8 yards (15-B.Marshall).
On this play, it looks like Washington is in something resembling a Tampa 2. The middle linebacker is dropping deep at the snap so Kellen Davis reads the coverage correctly and just sits in the hole in the zone.
Fitzpatrick does a nice job freezing the only linebacker near the play with his eyes to prevent him from moving to help on Davis.
Fitzpatrick hits Davis over the middle for a 14 yard gain. Of course, since this is Kellen Davis, we can't have nice things. Not content to make a good play, Davis fumbles it away. Washington ball.
1-10-NYJ 8 (9:48) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass short left to 15-B.Marshall pushed ob at NYJ 13 for 5 yards (20-G.Toler).
This is a quick presnap read by Fitzpatrick that the coverage on Marshall is way too soft.
Fitzpatrick dumps it to Marshall at the snap because the cushion is so big. If you have ever heard Phil Simms call a game, you know this is frequently not a designed play. It is quite possibly a read the quarterback and receiver made on the fly. The defense is giving away free yardage on first down by playing like this. A 5 yard gain on first down is a successful play, and Fitzpatrick and Marshall are more than willing to take it.
2-5-NYJ 13 (9:19) (Shotgun) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass short right to 87-E.Decker to NYJ 26 for 13 yards (47-Q.Dunbar).
This is another tricky one without the all 22 film, but it looks like a pretty basic comeback route against a cover three zone. Kenbrell Thompkins occupies one undeneath defender, and Quinton Dunbar is too soft to make a play on Decker because he has deep responsibility.
I think Jace Amaro occupies another underneath zone defender, occupying him in the middle of the field just enough to prevent him from undercutting Decker.
The right side of the line gets pushed into Fitzpatrick's face, but this one does not seem like an extraordinarily difficult read or completion, and the Jets hit it for 13 yards and a first down.
1-10-NYJ 26 (8:43) (Shotgun) 29-B.Powell left tackle to NYJ 37 for 11 yards (56-P.Riley, 50-M.Spaight).
We have another zone running play. On this one, everything is flowing left.
Earlier, Baker was victorious over Wesley Johnson. This time, however, he goes to the offense's right while the play is going left. Meanwhile, Preston Smith is going to the right with the flow of the run game, opening a big lane for Bilal Powell.
Baker gets into the backfield, but that doesn't matter. Zone blocking isn't about mauling the other guy into submission. It is about playing angles. If the other guy has leverage, you can use it against him. Here the play is flowing left, but Baker is going to the offense's right. All Johnson has to do is let Baker go as far up the field as he wants to the offense's right and then keep him from going left. Meanwhile James Carpenter and Ryan Clady are taking care of Smith, who has gone to the offense's left with the flow. A big hole opens up for Powell.
Powell just needs to hit the hole before unblocked backside defender Trent Murphy gets to him, and he does, going for an 11 yard gain and another first down.
1-10-NYJ 37 (7:59) (Shotgun) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass incomplete short left to 88-J.Amaro.
If the occasional Marshall drop is something we can live with due in the context of how productive he is, this Amaro drop is infuriating. We're dying to see something good out of the guy and have hope for the tight end position, and he can't give it to us after running a nice route.
2-10-NYJ 37 (7:54) (Shotgun) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass incomplete short right to 10-K.Thompkins.
It's tough to go into a ton of detail on this one without the all 22. We do see an incompletion on a short pass to Thompkins.
What we do see is that once again Winters is a culprit. He gets driven too far back, and Fitzpatrick's pass is altered as a result. He doesn't seem to have a clean line of sight and shortarms it as a result.
3-10-NYJ 37 (7:49) (Shotgun) 14-R.Fitzpatrick pass incomplete short middle to 29-B.Powell [92-C.Baker].
Unfortunately, Winters' rough night is not over. He gets beaten cleanly off the snap, and Fitzpatrick is under duress.
Fitzpatrick does a nice job here avoiding the sack and dumping the ball off the Powell to give the Jets a chance to salvage this play. Unfortunately, Powell drops the pass.
There was something fitting about the first team offense ending its night in such sloppy fashion.