Remember, this is not meant to bring a dark cloud over an enthusiastic time of Jets history! I hope that this review helps better shape your perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the Jets offensive line. To balance out the negativity, I have been and will continue to provide good plays as well.
This is not an exact science, but just one observer’s opinion. As always, feel free to have a differing opinion on who the culprits are, and do let me know your perspective!
SACKS: Week 9 (W vs. Buffalo Bills) & 10 (L @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
1ST & 10 AT NYJ 44 (Q2 - BUF 7, NYJ 10)
(:15) (Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 41 for -3 yards (C.Thornton).
The following sack is the only one picked up by the Bills in this game; the second time in 2017 they only managed to bring down McCown once (though this is a defense that ranked 31st in sack rate).
The Bills force McCown to step up into a sack with a stunt. It’s run by the strongside 3-technique (Kyle Williams) and 9-technique (Shaq Lawson) against right guard Brian Winters and right tackle Brent Qvale.
I think both right side players share the blame. Qvale never let go of his man and was not ready for the possibility of a stunt. Winters was ready, but gave up on Williams assuming Qvale would pick him up, which of course didn’t happen (you can see Winters’ frustration at the end of this clip). McCown steps up and is sacked.
Culprits: Winters (2-0), Qvale (4-2) (Season total of: Sacks primarily responsible for, sacks partially responsible for)
Source: Stunt (Season total: 3)
POSITIVE PLAYS OF THE DAY
A nice piece of work by three of the five projected 2018 starters up front. James Carpenter and Kelvin Beachum do a nice job on the double team (well, this is mainly Carpenter), and Beachum gets to the second level and takes down a linebacker. Winters’ pull and seal on the linebacker is the key opener to this hole. I believe Winters is asked to pull more than any other member of the Jets’ line.
The Jets had a really nice rushing day against the Bills, picking up 194 yards (third highest total of the season) on 41 carries (4.7 yards per carry). Like above, here is another nice rep from the left side of the line. Beachum allows his man to take himself upfield before sealing him out of the play. Carpenter, with a bit of help from Johnson, showcases impressive strength and hands to do his part in carving this hole. A demonstration of what he can do with man blocking.
Back to the sacks!
2ND & 6 AT TB 37 (Q2 - NYJ 0, TB 3)
(2:26) J.McCown sacked at TB 45 for -8 yards (W.Clarke).
The mashup got off to a nice start! Only one sack allowed. Great work on a big run for Powell. Well, things changed the following week. Drastically. To the tune of six sacks allowed on the Gulf Coast.
McCown gets hit almost instantly out of the play action fake by an unblocked defender on a four-man rush.
Not sure if the blame goes to Tomlinson or Beachum here. Tomlinson was lined up opposite the defender who got the sack, and instead of making any blocking effort, ran a route. Was he supposed to block? Beachum looked to double the man opposite Carpenter (who got smoked and probably would have given up a sack also). It’s hard to decide, so I will assign blame to both.
Culprits: Tomlinson (2-0), Beachum (4-0)
Source: Unblocked edge defender (1)
2ND & 10 AT TB 12 (Q2 - NYJ 0, TB 3)
(1:10) (Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at TB 20 for -8 yards (K.Beckwith).
I tagged Brandon Shell for 5 sacks allowed over his first 6 games. After missing the previous two games, he returns, and is back to allowing sacks off the edge in the same fashion; getting beat to the outside and underneath.
Most of his (and the Jets’) previous sacks allowed off the edge have been to defenders with their hand in the dirt, but on this play, Kendell Beckwith was standing up; same result.
McCown has to get partial blame here. When he made his initial escape, he did not know of the rusher coming from his right side. He just decided to drift left for some reason, instead of taking off through this humongous hole up the middle: (keep in mind the defender matched up with Beachum is drifting outside to the left)
Not a fan of the pocket presence by McCown here, but Shell still gets the blame.
Culprit: Shell (6-1)
Accomplice: McCown (3-3)
1ST & 10 AT NYJ 25 (Q3 - NYJ 3, TB 9)
(:22) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 19 for -6 yards (D.Tapp).
Wow. I’m sorry if this game is tough for you to relive. This was just a disaster. The Jets have two extra blockers in tight end Eric Tomlinson and fullback Lawrence Thomas, and face a four-man rush. Yet, Josh McCown again has absolutely no chance as he is pressured almost immediately out of the play action fake.
The primarily culprit is Tomlinson, who allows the sack after some really poor fundamentals opened an easily lane inside for the defender. Beachum also was pressured into McCown’s back with some really lackadaisical protection - I’ll nab him as an accomplice. Second guilty down of the game for both of these two.
Culprit: Tomlinson (3-0)
Accomplice: Beachum (4-1)
Source: 1v1 edge loss (12)
1ST & 10 AT NYJ 32 (Q4 - NYJ 3, TB 15)
(4:48) (No Huddle, Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 23 for -9 yards (R.Ayers Jr.).
Um.... what? Symbolic, I would say.
McCown literally just slips and falls on an invisible banana peel here. I thought he might have been thrown down by #93, but this sack goes to #91 Robert Ayers, who tapped McCown first once he hit the ground (not shown). After watching very closely multiple times, I don’t think McCown tripped on Winters. He just stumbles. The protection was decent here, too.
Culprit: McCown (4-3)
Source: QB trip (1) (Yes, this is a category now.)
3RD & 11 AT NYJ 31(Q4 - NYJ 3, TB 15)
(4:00) (No Huddle, Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 26 for -5 yards (G.McCoy).
Not a whole lot that needs to be said about this one. Brian Winters is finessed with some violent hands from Gerald McCoy. With McCown reading that side of the field, he senses the incoming pressure almost immediately and is unable to escape the sack.
Culprit: Winters (3-0)
Source: 1v1 interior loss (3)
1ST & 10 AT NYJ 30 (Q4 - NYJ 3, TB 15)
(1:53) (Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 23 for -7 yards (C.McDonald).
Down 12 with under 2 minutes left, the Jets are in desperation mode. McCown is holding out as long as he can hoping someone breaks open for a big play, so it’s really not fair to blame him here for taking this sack even after having nearly 4 seconds to throw the ball. The Bucs’ zone look shut down every option.
Even though the Jets front gave McCown well over 3 seconds of time before getting sacked, I can’t get around the combine efforts of Wesley Johnson and Brian Winters that led to this sack.
What was that? I am struggling to comprehend it. I do not kid you when I thought the clip started moving in slow motion at that moment. They have a solid double team in place. Then, both just stop. Definitely hit me with your thoughts on this wild play.
Culprits: Johnson (3-0), Winters (4-0)
Accomplice: Coverage (5-2)
Source: 1v1 interior loss (4) (An interior loss is the best way to describe this other than “stopped blocking”)
BONUS Positive Play!
While I tagged Shell for his team-leading 6th sack allowed of the season, it wasn’t all bad for him. Pro Football Focus awarded him the highest grade of any Jet in the game, praising him for his cleanliness in pass protection. Here is a textbook example of pass protection on the edge, something you hope to see a lot more of from the young tackle.
DAMAGE CONTROL REPORT
Season total sacks: 32
Brandon Shell - 6
Coverage - 5
Kelvin Beachum - 4
Brent Qvale - 4
Josh McCown - 4
Brian Winters - 4
Eric Tomlinson - 3
James Carpenter - 2
Wesley Johnson - 2
Matt Forte - 1
Effective Blitz - 1
Robby Anderson - 1
Jermaine Kearse - 1
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - 1
Josh McCown - 3
Brent Qvale - 2
Coverage - 2
Kelvin Beachum - 1
Brandon Shell - 1
Matt Forte - 1
Dakota Dozier - 1
Effective Blitz - 1
1v1 edge loss: 12
QB escaped into sack (forced by coverage/collapsed pocket): 6
1v1 interior loss: 6
DB blitz: 3
Botched receiver play: 1
QB tripped: 1
Talk about night and day. The Jets offensive line put out arguably their best performance of the season against the Bills under the Thursday night lights, producing big plays in the run game and allowing only one sack. You saw glimpses of their potential as a unit.
Then, they followed it up with an absolute mess in Florida. Not to beat it into submission, but let’s put this performance into perspective. The Bucs had 22 sacks last season and a 3.9% sack rate - both worst in the NFL. They compiled nearly a third of their season sack total in this one game!
It was a particularly tough report for Brian Winters (tagged for 3 sacks) and Eric Tomlinson (tagged for 2 sacks). I’ve been a big Eric Tomlinson fan, but it’s a little disappointing to see a blocking tight end contribute to so many sacks (3 at this point of the season). Two of the sacks he has been tagged for were possible miscommunications. I still think his run blocking is high-impact. For Winters, these two games brought his season total closer towards proper representation of his actual overall performance level. I can see why the Jets paid Winters. He’s an athletic guy who the team has faith in to play a versatile role. He is just not consistent enough. Injuries were likely a part of it in 2017, but let’s see him put his best foot forward on a full-time basis, both figuratively and literally.
What are your thoughts on the Buffalo and Tampa Bay games, in particular, that peculiar lapse from Johnson and Winters?