We're going to continue today's analysis with some things you might not have noticed from yesterday's loss to the Titans:
Do you hear what I hear?
After last week's, Avery Williamson said that he perhaps needs to convey some of the defensive signals more clearly because players hadn't always been hearing them. One obvious candidate for a play where this may have happened was the play where Buster Skrine dropped off into a short zone but everyone else was playing man, so Chris Hogan was totally uncovered on a deep crosser.
On the final drive of the first half, following an admittedly excellent performance to that point, the Jets gave up two key plays to let Tennessee back in the game, with the problem being the exact opposite this time.
It appears clear Skrine is the only player in man coverage on this play, as he follows the receiver on a drag route but the Jets fall back into a zone coverage with outside linebackers Brandon Copeland and Frankie Luvu dropping off.
Two plays later - following a Marcus Mariota first down scramble on a busted play - a similar issue led to the Titans' first score.
Williamson's reaction is telling here. Clearly he is sitting in the middle in zone coverage ready to pick up the crossing route coming from the left side. However, Skrine again stays with that player in man coverage, so the left side is left totally uncovered.
Had Marcus Maye been in the game, maybe he could diagnose the mistake and come up faster to prevent the touchdown, but you wouldn't expect Darryl Roberts to be able to do that so soon after having switched positions.
These were just two elementary and avoidable mistakes but they changed the game from a 16-0 Jets lead to 16-6 with the Titans taking some momentum into the half.
Some of the more interesting trends this week in terms of playing time:
- After Robert Nunn was critical of his performance last week, Nathan Shepherd didn't start and played a season-low 12 snaps. This was the first time all year the Jets didn't list Shepherd as a starter, but he had only actually been in the starting line-up five times;
- At wide receiver, Charone Peake played just two snaps and, despite being active, Deontay Burnett didn't even get on the field for special teams duties. Meanwhile, 30-year old Andre Roberts played 10 snaps and got two touches on offense;
- Rashard Robinson saw action on defense for just the second time all year. He played eight snaps with some in the dime package and some while Morris Claiborne was sidelined with an injury. Kevin Pierre-Louis also saw action on defense for just the second time, this time due to a Darron Lee injury;
- Dakota Dozier saw action for the first time all season, playing every snap at left guard due to Spencer Long being ill; and
- Brent Qvale played his first offensive snap of the season despite having started all four preseason games. With Long supposedly ill, Qvale was the only available backup lineman on the bench as a healthy Ben Braden was inactive.
Keep feeding Robby
As you may have seen in this morning's article, Josh McCown was just 1-for-7 for eight yards when targeting his wide receivers in the second half. He was also 0-for-5 with an interception on throws beyond 20 yards downfield.
However, the Jets had the right idea in the first half, as Robby Anderson, who ended up with a team-high 48 yards on four catches, delivered on three first down catches.
The Jets have been too one-dimensional in their efforts to involve Anderson this year (and similarly myopic in how they've used Quincy Enunwa). Making Anderson a productive threat on underneath passes and comeback routes is not only going to move the chains but then could open up some downfield stuff for himself or others. In fact, McCown overthrew four of those downfield attempts and otherwise could have had some big plays.
When Anderson is targeted in intermediate areas, he has produced well. He's been targeted 31 times on passes less than 20 yards down the field, with 24 completed. That includes a solid 9-for-12 on passes more than 10 but less than 20 yards down the field. He also only has two drops.
However, his overall catch rate has been poor because they've targeted him 20 times on deep passes more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage. Three were touchdowns, but the other 17 were unsuccessful, including four interceptions. However, Anderson had showed he can be successful on deep passes in the past, catching 12 of 26 last year (with seven touchdowns).
It seems like the Jets have been impatient at times in terms of setting up the deep opportunities for Anderson. While some of the blame also lies with the quarterbacks, it's also evident that teams are aware of the threat and rolling coverage support out that way to mitigate it. That should be a gift to an offensive coordinator, who can then exploit the safety being drawn out of the middle of the field or the cornerback being too far off Anderson. It's disappointing that Jeremy Bates has been unable to scheme a way of exploiting this.
Much more analysis to come later today and over the next few days. Please let us know who you'd like to see us feature in more detail in 3-on-D and 3-on-O.