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Midseason Review-Defense

Run Defense

It has been a good year for the Jets when it comes to playing the run. The defense is led by NT Kris Jenkins who has done a spectacular job of occupying blockers and completely sealing off the middle of the line. Jenkins gets a great push off the snap forcing runners to change direction long before they want to. Teams are not running nearly as much on the Jets this year simply because of the presence of Jenkins. If there is a weakness in the run defense it comes from the linebackers who have not done the greatest of jobs containing the backs if they break free and get past the three down lineman. The Jets are allowing a little too many runs of 20 or more yards than they should be, especially since the defense is often dominant in the run game. Its possible many of those runs have come with Jenkins on the bench as there is a major drop off between he and his backup Sione Pouha and maybe some of them have come in spots where it was an unexpected run, such as against the Bengals, or off an end around play. The only other weakness is that teams feel that they can pound the ball into the end zone against the 3 man front when in the red zone. While the Jets are holding runners to 13% below their averages, those same teams are scoring nearly 28% more touchdowns on the ground against the Jets than they do other opponents. Harris, Barton, Pace, and Thomas need to do a better job of holding their position by the goal. The teams pass coverage woes probably contribute as well to the poor performances as the Jets often have their LBs playing on their heels worried about a playfake.

Statistical Breakdown:

Att Yards Yards/carry TD 1st 20+ 40+
Jets 23.38 81.75 3.50 1.0 5.38 0.75 0.13
Opposition 26.75 107.56 4.02 0.79 5.9 0.61 0.11
Differential -12.63% -24.00% -13.00% 26.67% -8.82% 22.14% 18.75%


TD/Att 1st/Att 20+/Att 40+/Att
Jets 0.043 0.23 0.032 0.005
Opposition 0.030 0.22 0.023 0.004
Differential 44.97% 4.37% 39.80% 35.92%

Pass defense

Darrelle Revis has been a standout this year. With the exception of one bad game he has been nearly unstoppable in coverage. You never hear his name mentioned because his WR is rarely open. Unfortunately Revis is more or less the only bright spot for the teams secondary. The Jets second and third corners are being abused by the opposition and the Jets linebackers and safeties are having a terrible time containing tight ends and running backs. Teams are passing on the Jets over and over again picking up crucial third downs in the process. Teams are picking up more first downs on the Jets than they do any other opponents by going thru the air.

Besides Revis, the strongest part of the Jets defense has been their pass rush. Shaun Ellis is having his best season since 2004 and doing a great job of getting to the QB. The addition of Kris Jenkins in the middle has made Ellis’ job that much easier thus far. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace have both had their share of moments coming from the outside and most of the corners and safeties are all excellent blitzers. On the season the Jets are racking up 48% more sacks than their opponents norms and even adjusted for pass attempts is still nearly 32% better.

The Jets need to take advantage of their pass rush and take more chances in the 2nd half of the season. The Jets have become a squad that seems to either bring the heat or just totally back off with little in between. The Jets take a very passive approach to defense. They do a good job protecting the deep ball, giving up nearly 50% less deep completions than the norm, but in doing so they are giving little aid underneath the field and giving up too many easy passes that are going for first downs. The overall numbers, when adjusted for pass attempts are not awful. In fact they are basically average. It looks worse for the Jets because in too many spots the QB is never rushed and the receivers who do well are not the usual household names. It is one thing to get beaten up by Antonio Gates and something entirely different to get beaten by Derek Fine.

If the Jets were to limit pass attempts for the opposition it would bring the numbers way down from where they currently stand. They have to have faith that Revis is not going to yield the bomb and that their LBs can get to the QB more often than not. More plays with a rush will lead to more interceptions and less attempts. But continuing to drop 8 into coverage rather than trying to utilize your best strengths in getting to the QB and attacking are just going to see similar results that frustrate the fans and see the Jets make superstars out of bad quarterbacks.

Statistical breakdown

Comp Attempts Yards TD INT 1st 20+ 40+ Sacks
Jets 23.38 35.25 236.4 1.38 0.88 13.75 2.75 0.25 3.63
Opposition 19.50 31.2 203.8 1.19 0.77 10.24 2.40 0.49 2.44
Differential 19.82% 12.94% 15.96% 15.25% 13.35% 34.20% 14.41% -41.11% 48.65%


Comp % Yds/Comp Yds/Att TD/Att INT/Att Sack/Att
Jets 66.31 10.11 6.71 0.039 0.025 0.10
Opposition 62.5 10.45 6.53 0.038 0.025 0.078
Differential 6.09% -3.22% 2.67% 2.05% 0.36% 31.61%

Overall

The bottom line with the Jets defensive unit is that they need to find ways to make more stops to force the ball back to the offense. Both their 3rd and 4th down conversion percentages are below average which is leading to more plays and more opportunities for the opponents. Their turnover numbers are average and more aggressive playcalling should tip the scales towards more fumble recoveries and interceptions for the team. If the team can start doing that there is no reason this can not statitically be one of the top defenses in the NFL.

Statistical Breakdown:

Plays 3rd Made 3rd Att 3rd Conv% 4th Made 4th Att 4th Conv%
Jets 63.25 5.5 13.63 40.37 0.88 1.25 70.00
Opposition 60.26 4.95 13.10 37.76 0.46 0.90 51.00
Differential 4.96% 11.17% 3.97% 6.93% 91.82% 39.71% 37.31%


TOPG Fum Fum Lost
Jets 30:08 1.88 0.75
Opposition 29:47 1.35 0.72
Differential 1.21% 38.80% 4.27

Click Here for the 2008 Offensive Breakdown