Hello, and welcome back to another edition of the 2017 Jets QB Protection Report! Previously, I analyzed the mere 3 sacks allowed by the Jets over Weeks 12-13. It was some of the better work done by the offensive line this past year. I’m afraid the next four games won’t be as peachy. Bryce Petty took the reigns for the final three games and part of Week 14, and the Jets averaged only 8.0 points over the fourth quarter of the season. How much of that was Petty, and how much of it was the line?
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: Weeks 14 (L @ DEN) & 15 (L @ NO)
3RD & 11 AT NYJ 24 (Q1 - NYJ 0, DEN 3)
(7:35) (Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 15 for -9 yards (B.Marshall). FUMBLES (B.Marshall), RECOVERED by DEN-A.Gotsis at NYJ 20. A.Gotsis to NYJ 20 for no gain (K.Beachum).
The Broncos show blitz. They’ll rush five; the highlighted linebacker is going to bring a delayed rush while the linebacker to his left will drop into coverage.
With Matt Forte and Eric Tomlinson both ready to pass protect in the backfield, the Jets are prepared for this, right?
It looks like a slide protection. The right three linemen do well as they handle two defenders. Beachum takes the 3-tech tackle opposite him, while Carpenter is left blocking nobody. Tomlinson takes the outside linebacker on his side, and Forte helps him out, leaving the lane to McCown wide open for the strip. This was a well disguised blitz, but I think Forte gets the most blame. Based on the looks of the protection and the way things played out, that rusher looked like his responsibility.
Culprit: Forte (2-1) (Season total of: Sacks primarily responsible for - sacks partially responsible for)
Accomplice: Effective blitz (1-2)
Source: LB Blitz (Season total: 1)
1ST & 10 AT NYJ 25 (Q1 - NYJ 0, DEN 10)
(7:16) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 17 for -8 yards (S.Harris).
What on earth happened with this breakdown? McCown is barely able to finish his drop before getting hit!
At first I thought this was on Powell, but it seems clear to me that his job was to get open on this play rather than to block. Wesley Johnson is the guy that Harris blows by, but Johnson picked up the man that smoked James Carpenter off the snap. Brian Winters was also in the vicinity and did not pick up a man off the snap.
I am going to settle on shared blame for Carpenter and Johnson. Johnson blocked the man that looked to be Carpenter’s initially; who would’ve had an open lane to McCown if Johnson didn’t pick him up. However, Johnson was still closest to the eventual “sacker” at the snap, and left him as easy a lane to the QB you will ever see. Brian Winters might’ve been at fault as well, I will tag him as an accomplice. This is an interesting one, let me know your take.
Culprits: Carpenter (4-0), Johnson (3-1)
Accomplice: Winters (4-1)
Source: 1v1 interior loss (7)
2ND & 5 AT NYJ 30 (Q3 - NYJ 0, DEN 20)
(6:09) (Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 30 for 0 yards (Team).
Like you saw them do earlier, the Broncos are going to bring another creative blitz, again rushing an inside linebacker and this time dropping the strongside outside linebacker.
Forte is in pass protection again. McCown makes the decision to ditch in about 1.5 seconds, primarily because of Forte getting rocked by the blitzing linebacker. He eats it at the line for the “sack.”
Shell allowed his man to get around him as well, but it didn’t seem to impact the play and Shell did get enough to put him on the ground. McCown’s conservative approach also came into play. I thought he had a good look at Austin Seferian-Jenkins here after escaping:
That’s just who Josh McCown is though. It’s pretty obvious in the clip above that he is making the decision to tuck that ball and get as many yards as he can. Since every other receiver was covered and he was forced to escape quickly, I won’t nab him here, but that was a noticeable element. He did get back to the line after all. Forte gets the blame, and I’ll tab Shell and coverage as accomplices.
Culprit: Forte (3-1)
Accomplices: Shell (6-2), Coverage (5-3)
Source: QB escaped into sack (7)
1ST & 10 AT NYJ 22 (Q3 - NYJ 0, DEN 20)
(3:45) (Shotgun) J.McCown sacked at NYJ 15 for -7 yards (V.Miller).
Here is a prime example of why the NFL places such a premium value on edge rushers. Watch Von Miller on the left side of your screen.
The finesse! The strength! The finish! This is an elite football player doing his thing. Brandon Shell typically does a decent job protecting the B-gap with his plus size, struggling more to the outside, but a great player just gets him here.
Culprit: Shell (7-2)
Source: 1v1 edge loss (14)
This wasn’t a sack, nor was it a “good play”, but it begs to be included here. You just saw Von Miller beat Shell with a spin move. On literally the very next play, Shane Ray beats Kelvin Beachum on the opposite side with the same exact move, in even more dominant and sleek fashion.
McCown takes a crushing hit from Ray, but he still completes this pass to Matt Forte for a 14-yard gain. It was his last pass of the year.
Now we know where Beachum was coming from when he said about Sam Darnold: “Until you get hit in the mouth, I don’t know what you’ve got yet.”
2ND & 6 AT NYJ 25 (Q4 - NYJ 19, NO 31)
(1:01) (No Huddle, Shotgun) B.Petty sacked at NYJ 16 for -9 yards (G.Johnson).
Are you dizzy from the spin moves? I hope not, because we aren’t done with them just yet.
James Carpenter gets the spin treatment from George Johnson. This was actually the only sack in the game from either team, coming on the Jets’ hopeless last drive of the game. In addition, Petty only took two other hits the entire game (one of them was a friendly shove that was arguably a penalty).
Culprit: Carpenter (5-0)
Source: 1v1 interior loss (8)
POSITIVE PLAYS OF THE DAY
Bryce Petty’s best throw of the day, a 38-yard dime in the bucket down the sideline to Elijah McGuire. Solid pass protection against five rushers.
Here is another great pass from Petty behind very nice pass protection. Shell, Beachum, and Carpenter in particular put in strong work. Rookie Chad Hansen finds a little bit of room behind Pro Bowl corner (and fellow rookie) Marshon Lattimore, and makes an outstanding sideline grab to convert the 3rd & 7 and extend the eventual touchdown drive. I chose the broadcast view here to give you a look at both sides of the action.
I thought James Carpenter did very well in the run game against the Saints. I saw him as a primary contributor to a healthy dose of successful runs. Check him out pounding a man into the dirt on this 6-yard Elijah McGuire run:
DAMAGE CONTROL REPORT
Season total sacks: 40
Brandon Shell - 7
Coverage - 5
Kelvin Beachum - 5
James Carpenter - 5
Brent Qvale - 4
Josh McCown - 4
Brian Winters - 4
Matt Forte - 3
Eric Tomlinson - 3
Wesley Johnson - 3
Elijah McGuire - 1
Effective Blitz - 1
Robby Anderson - 1
Jermaine Kearse - 1
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - 1
Josh McCown - 3
Coverage - 3
Brent Qvale - 2
Kelvin Beachum - 2
Brandon Shell - 2
Effective Blitz - 2
Wesley Johnson - 1
Matt Forte - 1
Dakota Dozier - 1
Brian Winters - 1
1v1 edge loss: 14
1v1 interior loss: 8
QB escaped into sack (forced by coverage/collapsed pocket): 7
DB blitz: 3
LB blitz: 1
RB loss: 1
Botched receiver play: 1
QB tripped: 1
Tampa Bay vibes returned as the Jets offense again found absolutely no groove in a road game against a subpar opponent. The offensive line played its part, allowing 4 sacks and 2 hits, one of which shut the offense down for the final three games of the year. The team ran for only 59 yards on 23 carries (2.6 average) with a long run of 12 yards. It was an all-around disaster offensively.
Perhaps something about the New Orleans atmosphere breathed life back into the line. Led by Bryce Petty, they allowed only 1 sack and 2 hits, scoring 19 points on the road against a team that was 8-0 at home in the regular season while allowing only 18.0 points per game. They also gained 124 yards on the ground on 4.4 yards per carry. I thought James Carpenter in particular had a very strong game against the run, in spite of the sack you saw above.
In terms of sacks, the tackles have steadied their game out. Over the first 4 reports (8 games), I had pinned 13 sacks on simple one-on-one losses on the edge. I’ve only counted 4 of those over the next 6 games. I tagged Shell as the primary culprit on 5 sacks in his first 5 games, but he has dropped down to only 2 over his next 6. The sack total isn’t the whole story, but he has seemed to be doing better overall. Beachum has also improved from 3 sacks in his first 5 games to only 2 in his next 9.
What are your thoughts on the offensive line in the Denver and New Orleans games?