Through two weeks, inside linebacker is looking like the biggest weakness for the Jets. Last week Demario Davis had a really rough game. It wasn’t a picnic for Darron Lee either.
Things did not get much better on Sunday. The duo once again really struggled. Lee in particular had culpability in two long Raiders touchdown runs in the second half that put the game away.
First was Cordarrelle Patterson’s 43 yard touchdown run. This one was a team effort.
In Todd Bowles’ defense, each gap is typically assigned to one defender. A gap is the space between offensive linemen where the ball might be run. Lee and Davis were responsible for the middle on the Patterson run. Lee is the yellow line. Davis is the orange line.
Right off the bat you can see Davis gets pancaked (right) while Lee gets blown off the ball (left).
That picture above doesn’t do justice to how far Lee gets driven back so here is a different angle. Lee is driven a yard past the first down marker. The shame in this is you can see the Jets got good penetration otherwise. There are three Jets in the backfield.
Muhammad Wilkerson gets off his block and would have had a chance to make the tackle had Lee or Davis held the point of attack and all and forced even a slight redirection by Patterson. Because of the domination of the linebackers, Oakland could have driven a bus through this hole, however, and Patterson has plenty of room to fly past Wilkerson.
Juston Burris then whiffs on an attempted tackle of Patterson, and it is goodnight.
Unfortunately for the Jets, Lee wasn’t done yet. Jalen Richard still had not broken the game open with a 51 yard touchdown run.
On that play, Lee has an outside gap (yellow).
The shame in this is it should have been a very easy tackle for Lee with a minimal game. That is because Jamal Adams reads the play before it develops. Adams shoots outside at the snap and does a good job setting the edge, forcing Richard back inside right into Lee. Adams is so quick off the snap that he draws two blockers and keeps Lee clean.
Adams has done all of the hard work, and this should be a pretty easy tackle for Lee, but he simply overruns the play. He leaves Richard daylight. Lee is eventually blocked out of the play because he pvercommitted, but I’m not sure the block really mattered. Lee took himself out of the play and left a ton of open field for Richard.
Richard then finishes the run in the end zone. You might see our friend Demario unable to get off a block downfield to help and Marcus Maye getting caught in no man’s land a bit.
Linebacker play is killing this team right now. David Harris spent much of his career being underappreciated. I’ll admit there were points where I probably didn’t appreciate Harris as much as I should have. These first two weeks have shown what happens when you don’t have a steady force in the middle of a defense.