In Thursday's win over the Bills, the Jets contained Tyrod Taylor to 2 rushes for 25 yards. They mixed up what they did, but the impression I got from watching was the focus of the gameplan was for the pass rushers to keep Taylor in front of them and prevent him from getting on the move. His touchdown pass to Greg Salas showed the dangers of Taylor once he broke out of the pocket. At this stage of his career, he is much less dangerous when confined to the pocket. Perhaps he will improve going forward, but he at this point is not a natural anticipation thrower.
The Jets used many methods. One that stuck out was their use of linebacker Julian Stanford as a spy on some obvious passing downs. Stanford is number 51.
Stanford's job on these plays was neither to rush the passer nor play in coverage. He was out there to defend Taylor and choke off running lanes for the quarterback. On these plays, the Jets rushed three instead of the customary four.
The goal was not to get to Taylor. It was to confine him to the pocket. While the Jets explicitly used a spy on limited snaps, it shows the mentality of the gameplan. A week after getting seven sacks against the Bengals, the low production of the pass rush stuck out.
It wasn't that the Jets were aiming to not sack Taylor. You can still push the pocket. If you are aiming as a pass rusher to keep the quarterback in front of you rather than go get him, it will naturally make you more tentative, and the pressure numbers will go down. On one of the few plays when Taylor hurt the Jets, Catapano got himself caught too far up the field and out of his lane.
Ultimately, the plan worked pretty well. Taylor's numbers were good overall, but that was helped by a few big plays. On a play to play basis, the defense had a lot of success playing this way.
It was also a pretty good use of Stanford. This is a guy who was going to have limited snaps so give him one specific limited job in his preparation.