Two good things to have in football are size and speed. Our old friend Stephen Hill shows us that these two things alone do not a good player make, but they are very useful attributes for this game.
The Jets already had a lot of size on their defense with their talented stable of defensive linemen. The speed part needed some work, which probably played into the reason the team drafted Darron Lee. Lee had a fairly important tackle for a loss in Thursday's game that shows how size and speed on the unit mesh when everybody does their job.
Lee's tackle came on a second and four run play. The Bills appear to be running another old friend, Power, or at least a derivative of it.
Now if you don't remember how this play is blocked up or don't feel like clicking on the link, essentially this is the story. If a defensive lineman lines up directly in front of you, that is your guy to block. If a defensive lineman lines up on your shoulder on the side away from where the play is going, that is your guy. If a defensive lineman does neither, you can help on the closest lineman on the side away from where the play is going, and then the linebacker closest on the side away from where the play is going is your man. There are two exceptions. The fullback gets the defensive lineman furthest on the side where the play is going, and the weakside guard pulls gets the linebacker furthest to the side where the play is going. That all makes sense, right?
Now that makes sense, right?
There is no fullback on this play, but 82 is essentially the fullback. His job on this play is going to be to take the guy at the end of the line, Muhammad Wilkerson (pink line). 64 is pulling and taking David Harris (orange line).
The wide receiver 10 at the right end of the line isn't part of the mix so he just takes the guy who would be covering him on a pass pattern Buster Skrine.
Since the left guard is pulling, the center takes the guy lined up outside his shoulder.
As it turns out, the key guy on this play is 79, the right tackle. He can help the right guard with Leonard Williams, but then his job is to go block Lee.
That looks like a lot of ground to ask him to cover, but remember, the run is going to the right. The natural flow of this play is going to make Lee run in the direction of the guy who is supposed to block him.
So what happens on this play?
For starters, Muhammad Wilkerson sets the edge. The "fullback" 82 is supposed to block him since he is at the end of the line on the playside. 82 is lined up all the way at the other side of the formation.
So the Bills need to switch. The pulling guard who is supposed to take Harris will block Wilkerson, and the "fullback" will take Harris.
Either way, Wilkerson gets into the backfield quickly enough to prevent this run from being potentially bounced outside by LeSean McCoy in the event nothing is there, which is important against a back like McCoy.
Now let's talk about what really makes this play work. There are two guys who make it happen. Since Lee made the tackle behind the line of scrimmage, we know he is one of them. The other is Leonard Williams.
So remember how right tackle 79 is supposed to get Lee? Well he first has the option of helping the right guard with Williams, and he does.
The problem is that Williams eats up both blockers to the point where 79 can't get to Lee.
Eventually 76, the right guard can make an attempt, but it is too late. Lee smelled the ball and exploded up the field to go get it.
Make no mistake. Lee is a work in progress. He is going to make some mistakes out there as a rookie. One thing he does really well is go get the carrier North and South when he sees nothing between him and the guy with the football.
In retrospect, this ended up being a pretty important play in the game. It took the Bills from second and four to third and six.
What happened next was Lorenzo Mauldin jumped offsides making it third and one. The Jets then stuffed the Bills on third and fourth down and then drove it down the field for a touchdown to take a two score lead in the fourth quarter. If that play goes even for no gain, Mauldin's penalty means a first down since it would be third and four.
This play is a good example of the vision for the defense. The Jets had those big linemen commanding attention and eating up blocking. These linemen make their share of plays, but the team has lacked speedy players behind them who can take advantage of the space the linemen create.
Here Lee exploded through the breach Williams created and made a play. The Jets hope to see a lot more of this going forward.