Let’s take a look at how the Jets first team defense did in its two series from Saturday night. As always with the preseason, I do not have access to the all 22 film so I am dependent on the views from the broadcast feed and replays. There will be some plays that will be difficult to provide full analysis.
With that in mind, let’s jump in.
(11:08) 8-M.Mariota pass short right to 18-R.Matthews pushed ob at TEN 40 for 15 yards (41-B.Skrine).
The Titans run play action on the first play from scrimmage. They fake a run to their left to get the Jets defense flowing in that direction, but Marcus Mariota is going to keep it and go right on a pass. Hopefully this gets the Jets defense flowing away from the direction of the pass. Muhammad Wilkerson is unblocked by design (yellow circle). Mariota has to beat him.
Wilkerson is a superlative athlete for a 300 pounder, but even he can’t chase down a guy like Mariota.
The Jets seem to have a bust somewhere in the secondary, and Mariota finds Rishard Matthews on the right sideline for a 15 yard gain and a first down. Unfortunately we don’t get a view that really tells us what happened in the back of the defense that allowed Matthews to go open.
(10:39) 22-D.Henry up the middle to TEN 45 for 5 yards (41-B.Skrine).
The Titans had a first down. This time they run up the middle. Sheldon Richardson does a really nice job here eating up two blockers (yellow circle). This keeps Demario Davis clean with a clear path to the ball carrier (red circle).
Unfortunately for the Jets, Davis drifts and loses his gap. Take a look at where he is in the red circle on this picture, and compare it with the last picture.
He essentially ran himself into a block and opened up a hole. Had Davis not drifted, he would have been in position to shoot the gap and stop this for no gain.
Instead, Derrick Henry is able to pick up 5 yards, and the Jets are lucky that Buster Skrine recognized what was happening, and came in to make the tackle because this could have been a big run had he not.
(10:03) 22-D.Henry left guard to NYJ 46 for 9 yards (41-B.Skrine).
This is another run play, and the Titans bring Matthews in motion to help block.
Jamal Adams reads the play and shoots the gap correctly, but Matthews is there to block him.
Adams gets off the block juuuuuuuust a hair too late as Henry blows past him.
Henry picks up 9 yards, but I don’t think the real problem was Adams. Even though it was technically Adams’ gap, the reason the hole was so big looks like it was Darron Lee. Lee gets sealed on a block by tight end Phillip Supernaw.
At first I thought the issue was Lee not getting off his block, but upon closer inspection it was the awkward first step he took that essentially prevented him from being able to hit his gap and get to the ball on time. Take look at his false step to start this play.
The run resulted in another first down.
(9:26) 8-M.Mariota sacked at TEN 47 for -7 yards (92-L.Williams).
Analysis: Leonard Williams is a bad man.
One thing I will note is the alignment of the defensive linemen at the snap.
The Jets have Steve McLendon over the center and Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson shaded over the two guards.
That means the three interior offensive linemen are all one on one. None of the three interior offensive linemen can help with a double team because all three guys have a Jets lineman across from them.
Why don’t the Jets do this more often with Sheldon Richardson in for McLendon? Then you have Wilkerson, Richardson, and Williams all with one on one matchups. You just need one of three guys to win their battle. What are the odds one of those three can win on a given play? I’d say very high.
(8:43) (Shotgun) 8-M.Mariota pass short left to 22-D.Henry to TEN 47 for no gain (56-D.Davis).
On second and 17 the Titans went to a safe play to try and get some yardage back. They throw a screen pass to Henry and seem to have it set up pretty well. Demario Davis just reads it well and beats Ben Jones’ block to make a tackle for no gain.
(7:29) (Shotgun) 8-M.Mariota scrambles left end pushed ob at TEN 48 for 6 yards (50-F.Bishop).
A delay of game penalty left the Titans with a third and 22. The Jets were content to sit back and keep the play in front of the sticks. Mariota dropped back to pass, but Sheldon Richardson generated pressure to flush the quarterback from the pocket and force him to scramble for a minimal gain.
The Titans had to punt.
The defense took the field for a second series in the first quarter.
(3:17) 22-D.Henry left tackle to TEN 30 for 4 yards (26-M.Maye; 58-D.Lee).
The Titans have this play blocked pretty well and come up with a solid 4 yard run on first down. Look at the amount of ground Marcus Maye covers to hold this to a 4 yard gain.
(2:39) 22-D.Henry up the middle to TEN 33 for 3 yards (58-D.Lee).
Remember that play earlier when Darron Lee took the bad first step, and it cost him? This play was the opposite. Lee moves decisively up the field to get to the ball before the blocker gets to him.
Look at how decisive he is going to get the ball on this play.
(2:03) (Shotgun) 8-M.Mariota pass short right to 82-D.Walker to TEN 43 for 10 yards (33-Ja.Adams) [91-S.Richardson]. PENALTY on TEN-87-E.Decker, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards, enforced at TEN 33 - No Play.
Here Delanie Walker is running a shallow crossing route and is Mariota’s target. He is originally Jamal Adams’ man, but Adams passes him off to Darron Lee who is stationed in the middle of the field and better able to handle Adams.
Lee picks Walker up and then looks into the backfield at Mariota for some reason, allowing Walker to get a few steps and open for Mariota to find him for a first down.
I am guessing what happened was that Lee’s responsibility was to play zone in the middle of the field. He carried Walker until the tight end left his zone. Lee didn’t realize that Adams had passed Walker off to him, and Lee’s job was now to play man to man on Walker.
The Jets ended up catching a break here because old friend Eric Decker was called for offensive pass interference for brushing Lee.
This was a shaky call. You can see the issue was that Lee looked into the backfield, not that Decker obstructed him.
The WCBS-2 Jets broadcast showed a replay that displayed Decker barely touched Lee if at all, but that was unavailable.
(1:39) (Shotgun) 8-M.Mariota pass incomplete short right to 82-D.Walker (41-B.Skrine).
With the Titans pushed back to third and 13, the Jets show a zone blitz, rushing five but dropping a pair of edge rushers into coverage.
The Titans actually seemed to pick it up pretty well, but Mariota forces one late to a covered Walker.
Without the all 22, I’m not really sure I can say what he was looking at. He didn’t seem to be under pressure, and Buster Skrine was mirroring Walker’s route. Mariota got away with one.
With that, the first team Jets defense forced its second punt on its second series.