Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Inside the Jets' loss
By Rich Cimini
Did I miss something? Have the Jets lost three in a row?
This Joe Namath-fueled firestorm over Rex Ryan's coaching style is ridiculous. They lost one game -- a bad loss, for sure, but still only one loss. Now, suddenly, Ryan's coaching style is on trial. Now the team is in trouble because he talks too much, because his bravado makes the team over-confident.
Gimme a break. The Jets lost because the Raiders made better halftime adjustments, plain and simple. They played more zone and started sitting on the Jets' short routes, knowing they weren't going to go deep. They took away the Jets' boots and rollouts. They ran plays to get the Jets' linebackers in space, knowing it's a problem for them.
If the Jets were over-confident, they wouldn't have had a 17-7 lead. This game was decided in the second half, when the Raiders overpowered the Jets up front and used their edge in team speed to their advantage.
A closer look:
OUTSIDE THE BOX: The Raiders exploited the Jets by running outside the tackles. Here's a breakdown of the Raiders' "hit" chart -- where their runs hit the defense (determined by the official play-by-play):
Left end: Seven carries for 135 yards.
Left tackle: Five for 18.
Left guard: Two for 4.
Center: Seven for 24.
Right guard: Zero for 0.
Right tackle: Six for 41.
Right end: One for 2.
RUN DEFENSE: Obviously, it was horrible, but it wasn't about missed tackles. Actually, I counted only three missed tackles. It was about poor positioning and breakdowns in communication.
First, let's look at Darren McFadden's 70-yard TD run. The Jets were in nickel, but they had seven in the box, expecting a run. McFadden received an Express E-Z pass around left end because LB Bart Scott was pancaked by light-blocking TE Kevin Boss. S Eric Smith couldn't get off his block and was stuck inside. LB David Harris got caught up in the trash and couldn't get outside. S Jim Leonhard missed a tackle 25 yards downfield, the first time anyone actually touched McFadden. This was horrible. Ryan probably will take this play to his grave.
Okay, now let's review Denarius Moore's 23-yard reverse for a touchdown. Moore was lined up split right and, when he took the pitch from McFadden, the Jets had eight players on that side of the field. The containment was atrocious. LB Jamaal Westerman had him 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage, but missed the open-field tackle. After that, it was all speed. Scott was juked so badly that it looked like his feet were nailed to the grass. Leonhard was knocked into next week by C Sam Satele. From there, Moore simply outran the defense to the end zone.
On the play before the TD, it was pretty much the same deal on McFadden's halfback option. Clearly, he wanted to throw it back to QB Jason Campbell, but LB Bryan Thomas sniffed it out and did a nice job of covering him. McFadden, with five players in his face, pulled it down and ran around left end. It was like the parting of the Red Sea. Bad defense.
MIDDLE MAN: All things considered, rookie C Colin Baxter held up reasonably well in his first NFL start, but the Raiders did something the Ravens may discover in their film study. The Raiders are a 4-3 team, but they covered Baxter with a tackle, head-up, on 21 plays -- and it worked effectively. On those plays, Baxter struggled against the Raiders' rather large interior linemen. The Ravens are a 3-4 team, so they're more likely to use a "Zero" technique (head-up on the center).
Here's an unofficial breakdown of how the Raiders attacked Baxter, and how the Jets fared:
• Covered with nose tackle: Six rushes for 3 yards ... 8-for-15, 85 passing yards ... 1 sack.
• Shaded nose tackle: 10 rushes for 51 yards ... 4-for-5, 47 passing yards ... 1 interception.
• Uncovered/open middle: Nine rushes for 38 yards ... 15-for-23, 237 passing yards, 2 TDs, 3 sacks.
The NICK MANGOLD EFFECT: The Jets surrendered four sacks. On three of them, it appeared that miscommunications may have been the problem. It's quite possible that Mangold's absence contributes to the mistakes; one of his strengths is reading fronts and making protection calls.
• First sack: DE Jarvin Moss was unblocked on a bootleg.
• Second sack: There seemed to be a mix up between RT Wayne Hunter and TE Dustin Keller, and OLB Kam Wimbley was unblocked and broke Sanchez's nose.
• Fourth sack: TE Matt Mulligan was beat on an outside rush by Moss, who recorded a half-sack. The other half came from DT Richard Seymour. For some reason, Hunter and RG Brandon Moore let Seymour go.
ODDS AND ENDS: The roughing-the-passer penalty on DE Mo Wilkerson was one of the lamest calls I've ever seen ... WR Plaxico Burress did a nice job as a blocker, throwing a key block on LaDainian Tomlinson's 74-yard screen pass. LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson also had a nice downfield block ... Speaking of Tomlinson, he ran a great route on his 18-yard TD reception. Mark Sanchez did a nice job of identifying the mismatch, LB Quentin Groves trying to cover Tomlinson ... CB Antonio Cromartie (bruised ribs, lung) was injured with 8:45 left in the game, when he tackled WR Darius Heyward-Bey on a third-down pass.