The Jets fell to the Giants in their third preseason game. The offensive line received mixed reviews. The pass protection of the first team unit garnered a fair amount of positive feedback. On the other hand, the reserve line struggled once again, while the much-maligned Brent Qvale continued to take heat. Let’s take a look at how I charted the individual performances of the line against the Giants.
As I always say, it is impossible to capture everything with the stats, but with this series I hope to capture the most impactful plays accumulated by each linemen, both positive and negative, to help better our perspective on their production. Every single snap does matter, and here we will only be grading a small portion of those snaps, but this data can still help shape our opinions on players more properly and truly. Do not use them as final judgement, but as useful evidence.
So far, I’ve been tracking:
- Stuffs (runs for 2 yards or less and no first down) allowed in the run game
- Rushing first downs assisted
- “Setup runs” assisted (which I defined as a 6+ yard pickup on 1st/2nd down that did not result in a first down). Despite not resulting in a first down, these kinds of pickups are still positive plays that deserve to be tracked.
- Sacks allowed
- QB hits allowed
- QB pressures allowed (which I defined as instances where the QB was forced to throw an uncatchable incompletion)
- New for this week: Deflections allowed (occurrences when allowing the currently engaged defender to bat/deflect a pass at the line)
- Penalties (Total accepted, yards, first downs wiped out, and declined)
Here are the numbers for the Jets in Week 3. Not all linemen who appeared in the game are on the list - only those who tallied one of the plays above.
Some notes from me on this week’s performance:
- Man, oh man, Brent Qvale. Qvale added another 4 stuffs allowed to his collection, bringing his total through three games to a team-high 11 - almost three times as many as any other Jet. While he assisted on a pair of plus runs, he allowed a sack and had a holding call that was declined.
- Shaky game for Spencer Long. He looked to be out-muscled at the point of attack consistently. He did assist on a pair of runs, but I tagged him for 3 stuffs allowed in addition to a hit and a pressure allowed in the pass game. Not Long’s best game, but not time to panic after one poor half in the preseason.
- Brandon Shell was beaten clean off the edge for a QB hit, but he continued to impress in the run game with a pair of assists and no stuffs allowed. To this point, I’ve charted Shell for 4 rushing assists and 0 stuffs allowed - the best ratio on the team. He’s looked much improved in the run game - will it translate to the regular season?
- Eric Tomlinson allowed a bad pressure in the passing game and was also called for two false starts. Jordan Leggett also had an illegal peel block that cost the team 15 yards, while Clive Walford threw in a 12-yard penalty of his own.
Here is the pressure allowed by Tomlinson, as he is responsible for the edge and thus matched up 1-on-1 with Olivier Vernon. The results aren’t pretty - unless of you course, you root or work for the New York Giants.
- Walford did throw in an assist of his own, while Chris Herndon did as well. Quincy Enunwa might have made the block of the night, though. Already known as a strong blocking receiver even before his eruption in 2016, Enunwa proved he still has that tremendous ability when he nearly single-handedly carved out this Bilal Powell touchdown run.
Here is a look at how all players who I’ve charted so far this preseason are stacking up after 3 exhibition games:
All in all, I’m not going to sit here and wildly panic like all Jets fans seem to want to. Yes, the reserve offensive line of the Jets is terrible. That’s why they are backups. How many teams have backup linemen that would be considered starter-quality? Still, health is going to be especially essential for this group - which is a bit frightening considering every player in the starting lineup except James Carpenter has an injury history.
However, in the brief time the first team offensive line has played, the offense has moved the ball, even with at least one starter out the entire time. Brandon Shell has been much improved in the run game. Spencer Long seems to be at the very least an upgrade over Wesley Johnson. James Carpenter has played well. A starter has not yet allowed a sack.
All in all, this unit is littered with injury question marks and has very poor depth. However, if all five starters are healthy, the potential is there for this group to improve off of 2017 and become an average unit. We shall see if the starters can stay healthy enough and make the necessary progression to reach that level - but let’s not get too worked up over the performance of backups just yet. I assure you, the time for that will most likely come all too soon enough.