Here are notes from Pro Football Focus following the first week of the season for the Jets.
Brandon Shell (80.1 overall grade) looked superb in pass protection -- grading out as the top offensive player for the Jets. Across his 42 pass block snaps, he surrendered only 1 pressure (a QB hurry).
I don’t mean to denigrate the job Shell did. It certainly was not a bad performance by any stretch of the imagination, but I did get the sense the Jets were sending a lot of help his way. In fact, the Jets even had a sixth offensive lineman in the game on 20% of the snaps. I did think Shell looked good, but it is important to look at these things in context. The Jets did what they could to avoid putting too much on his plate. Against Khalil Mack this week, more help seems to be in order.
Newly-acquired WR Jermaine Kearse (75.8 overall grade) earned the second-highest grade on offense. He caught all 7 of his catchable targets while picking up four first downs. Kearse spent 43 snaps as an outside WR and 12 snaps in the slot.
The targets are going to have to go somewhere on offense, and through the first week, Kearse seems like a candidate for many of them. He might be one of those guys whose statistical production is greater than his true impact just due to the volume of passes heading his way.
Will Tye, another newcomer who produced for the Jets on Sunday, finished with a 74.1 overall grade (3rd highest on team's offense). Targeting him yielded a 113.9 passer rating for QB Josh McCown. Tye was used in a variety of roles -- snap breakdown: 10 in the slot, 2 as an outside WR, 22 as a TE, & 3 as a FB.
Tye certainly was a welcome addition to this offense. This is exactly the type of player who the Jets should have been targeting the last two years, a tight end with a history of production. I thought he struggled as a blocker, but he can help this offense in the receiving game in some capacity.
LG James Carpenter was also sound in pass protection against Buffalo. Across 42 pass block snaps, he allowed just 1 pressure (a QB hurry). The Jets OL as a whole surrendered 4 pressures all game -- Josh McCown's pressure rate was a mere 17.5% (highest for the 1 PM EST slate of games was 46.3%).
It is tough to judge the quality of the offensive line with the Jets throwing so many short passes. When the ball comes out quickly, the line doesn’t have to block for very long. Todd Bowles said this week that he wants more aggressive throws down the field. We might have a better idea of the true quality of the protection.
Until the late 3Q came around, Josh McCown was having himself a decent game -- he only had 1 negatively graded throw up until that point. Even though the Jets didn't allow much pressure, that is when he crumbled. When under duress, McCown was 2/6 for 16 yards, 2 INTs, and 1 sack (2.8 passer rating). When he faced no pressure, he was 24/33 for 171 yards (84.3 passer rating).
This is an example of where I think PFF’s grades fail. As far as I can tell, their grading system gives a quarterback credit for taking a short completion, but they don’t dock a quarterback when that short completion comes at the expense of an opportunity to push the ball down the field for more yardage. There wasn’t any point during this game where I had the sense McCown was having a good outing.
Leonard Williams (83.6 overall grade) finished as the highest-graded player on the team. Rushing the passer, he generated two QB hits & a hurry. In the run game, Williams had no trouble beating his blockers, compiling a massive 4 run stops.
I don’t think I really appreciated how good Williams looked until I watched the game a second time. He was a force on the defensive line. As bad as things were, he almost single-handedly at times prevented them from being worse based on the way he was dominating his assignments.
In his first regular season action as a Jet, Kony Ealy (83.5 overall grade) had himself a game. He flashed both in the run game and disrupting the QB, as he notched 1 QB hit & 2 hurries (on 19 pass rush snaps) to go along with a batted pass and a run stop.
I’m not sure what Ealy’s ceiling is with this team, but it was a stellar start last Sunday. It felt like he was living in the backfield for much of the first half.
Juston Burris was the Jets starting nickel CB in week 1. He played 30/77 possible snaps (21 snaps in coverage). He looked poised in coverage, as he was targeted 1 time all game and didn't allow a reception. Burris also took advantage of a great play by Jamal Adams to reel in his first INT of the year.
Like the offensive line, the cornerbacks were a bit tough to gauge. The Bills simply didn’t have any need to test them because they were having so much success in the middle of the field. This weekend will tell us a lot more about Burris.
Rookie first round selection Jamal Adams had a solid debut. While he struggled in the run game with a missed tackle & getting blocked out of plays, he flashed in coverage. Leading the team in coverage grade (81.6), Adams notched a pass breakup, while allowing just 2 receptions for 39 yards across 29 coverage snaps.
I concur with this assessment. Adams did get himself caught in traffic a couple of times, but he was all over the field against the run and the pass. This was a very encouraging start based on what I saw.
Darron Lee (38.3) finished with the lowest grade on the team. He looked fine rushing the passer (1 sack) and in the run game (2 run stops), but his chief problems remain to be in coverage, where he allowed a 134.7 passer rating -- 6 targets, 4 receptions, 54 yards, and a TD.
I don’t think Lee was as bad as Demario Davis, but this was a troubling start to his second season. We saw a lot of the same mistakes as last year, namely being in the wrong place. Whether it was overpursuing in the wrong gap against the run, biting on play action, or lacking a feel for zone coverage, there were a lot of negative plays that were Lee’s responsibility.