It’s time to get the 2018 Jets weekly coverage stats series underway! After tracking the Jets’ individual numbers in coverage throughout the preseason, we can now study some real, meaningful football! Let’s take a look at who shined (hint: a lot of Jets did) brightest in coverage against the Lions.
- The coverage numbers include only legitimate targets into the general area of a receiver/defender; throws in which a defender in coverage was directly involved the outcome. Throwaways and deflections at the line are excluded.
- The stats for each individual are that of the quarterback’s passing numbers when targeting the individual’s matchup. A player could receive coverage credit even if a teammate finished the play. For example, in Week 1 last season when Tyrod Taylor threw an interception targeting a tight end running into Jamal Adams’ zone, Juston Burris ended up with the interception, but I credited that pick to Adams since I deemed he made the primary play in coverage to cause the pick.
- Penalties and pass breakups counted are only those accumulated in coverage. Penalties/PBs picked up on blitzes, or penalties tackling another player’s responsibility, are not included.
First, here’s a look at each targeted player’s total numbers in coverage against Detroit.
Next, here’s a breakdown of the Jets in coverage broken down by player matchup and coverage type. Keep in mind receivers who saw targets lined up both outside and in the slot are listed twice.
- Overall, just an incredible outing for the entire defense in coverage. Matt Stafford posted his worst quarterback rating (47.9) at home since 2009, and in all the Lions only managed 10 points offensively. Jamal Adams and Darron Lee noted after the game that the Jets knew many of the Lions’ signals and were ready for their plays. As much as that is a negative indictment on Detroit, that’s a testament to the coaching staff and the film study of the entire team to have a team’s number to that level. No matter how they did it, the Jets were two steps ahead of the Lions for most of the night in the pass game, and when that’s the case, you can pick off five passes.
- Darron Lee. What a way to kick off a crucial season for the fate of his career. We pounded Lee all offseason for his struggles, especially in coverage. More particularly, his coverage against running backs. Starting the season off with a matchup against Theo Riddick, one of the most productive receiving backs in the league, was an incredible test. And Lee aced it. Lee was targeted 13 times and allowed only 1 first down. Matched up against Theo Riddick, he allowed only 8 yards on 5 targets. Lee was anticipating and not reacting, and when he is doing that, he can make plays like this.
- Jamal Adams was a terrific run stopper last season, but needed to make some strides in coverage this year to take the next step towards fulfilling his potential to become an All-Pro caliber safety. Like Lee, Adams could not have done a better job answering the questions that were lofted his way all offseason. You saw his interception (I’m going to skip over the interception clips in this piece - sp0rtsfan86 did a great breakdown here with the INT clips), but Adams made a few wonderful plays in coverage in which he ran incredibly fluent routes to meet the football at the catch point. In this receiver-friendly modern NFL, the importance of having the timing and anticipation to contest a pass without arriving early is paramount. Adams executed a pair of tremendous plays in that way.
- One of the major pluses of the Trumaine Johnson was the trickle-down effect he would have on the rest of the defense. He is going to take on the tough assignments, as he did against Detroit, and give the rest of the secondary the opportunity to take on more favorable matchups. In particular, Morris Claiborne’s shift to a #2 role was one of the huge talking points on why this defense could be successful. He could not have done a better job supporting that notion. Despite allowing one 28-yard catch and run to Marvin Jones, Claiborne was terrific overall, allowing only 1 of his other 6 targets to be caught for 3 yards. He forced two incompletions in the red zone, and also broke up a potential deep touchdown a drive that ended up with a field goal. This play was huge in hindsight.
- Trumaine Johnson had a shaky debut. He allowed a pair of 25+ yard first downs to Kenny Golladay and also held him for a first down penalty. Johnson did make up for it with an interception in a shallow zone, but he fumbled that one back on a blindside hit from Golladay.
Speed is not one of Johnson’s strengths. He will get beaten on plays like this.
All in all, as John B said on a recent Locked on Jets podcast, it’s encouraging that the Jets were as successful that they were in spite of Johnson’s struggles. Johnson is probably going to draw some ire for allowing plays like the one above more so than you would hope out of a top corner. However, on the whole, he should have a very positive impact in that he is going to take the tough assignments and execute them better than most players would, and in turn will allow his teammates to thrive in favorable situations. He’ll get beat now and then, and when he does it will likely be easy to see him trailing his matchup past the first down marker. However, over the course of the year he is capable of keeping top weapons out of the end zone at a very good rate, while making a strong share of big plays (as we already saw in spite of the unfortunate fumble), tackling well, and piling up un-targeted reps in isolated matchups that will be seldom be noticed.
What do you think? Will Darron Lee be able to elevate himself to at least an average cover linebacker this season? Will Jamal Adams be able to maintain consistent elite play? Will Trumaine Johnson rebound?
Who was the Jets’ top star in coverage against Detroit?
This poll is closed