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Jets vs. Bengals: A Failure to Communicate

Steven Ryan/Getty Images

A.J. Green's touchdown against the Jets today was not a thing of beauty from the Jets' perspective. It was a coverage breakdown. What happened? Let's take a look.

The Jets' deep coverage appears to be a cover 3, which is to say the deep part of the field is divided into three parts. The one at the top of the picture belongs to Darrelle Revis. The one in the middle seems to belong to Marcus Gilchrist. The one on the bottom appears to be Marcus Williams'

One of the first things that jumps out about this play to me is that Buster Skrine underneath is playing underneath and within five yards of Green off the snap. I don't know whether he was told to do this on the play, but I would like to see him get physical with Green as the receiver goes into his route. Against a wideout this good, you should be doing everything possible to make his life difficult. Obstruct him and throw off his timing. Make him restart to get to full speed. If Skrine was told to try and redirect Green, he missed. If he wasn't, I wish he had been.

Now in this next picture, you can see where we start running into problems. Revis is funneling Green to the middle of the field with his positioning, where Gilchrist is supposed to be providing help. That is in the yellow circle. But there is a problem. At the bottom in the orange circle, Marcus Williams is doing the same thing underneath. Look at how much cushion Williams is giving. He is clearly beaten.

This is our issue. Gilchrist is caught in the middle of the field with two guys coming at him, one underneath and the other over the top. It doesn't seem to me like he does a good job reading this because he essentially ends up in no man's land. Green is over the top of him, but he wouldn't be in a position to make a play even if Andy Dalton was throwing to the underneath target.

I think Darron Lee might have helped a bit by getting more dropping further down the field to congest the passing lane to the underneath guy.

Lee got sucked in by the play action aspect of this play, however. At any rate, it is tough to blame this on Lee given the problems on the back end.

Ultimately, Revis thinks he is passing Green off to Gilchrist, but Gilchrist is occupied with Williams' man. As a bonus, here is Phil Simms' telestrator work.

What we really have here is a communication breakdown. Revis and Williams are both expecting help from Gilchrist. You can see Gilchrist pointing at Williams that Williams was supposed to back and help Revis if he is passing his man off to Gilchrist.

As with any communication breakdown, I think there is blame to go around here. Williams simply gives up too much cushion. He also appears to have missed that he was supposed to go back and help Revis. For Gilchrist's part, he ends up in position to help with neither player and appears to lose track of Green.

I have to give Revis grief for this also. Yes, he is expecting help. Yes, his teammates were probably supposed to help him out. Know what, though? Part of the reason you pay a guy the money the Jets gave Revis is he is supposed to be good enough to bail you out when everything breaks down. It's not like he ultimately releases Green. Green just gets too much separation for Revis to make up that kind of ground at this point.