We're going to kick off today's analysis with some things you might not have noticed from yesterday's loss to Cleveland:
After the loss to Miami, one major concern was the inability to maintain outside contain on boundary runs, read option keepers and end arounds.
However, the Jets completely fixed this issue and the main way they did it was by using safeties and inside linebackers to fill the outside lane and funnel runs back to the inside.
This was reminiscent of the approach one of Rex Ryan's teams took to overcoming similar issues at one point during his tenure.
One other approach they took on a few plays was to put four defensive linemen on the field as a four man front rather than exposing their outside linebackers on the outside. Here is an example of a four-man line with Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson on the edge and Steve McLendon and Nathan Shepherd inside and, as you can see, Anderson stretches the run out effectively and Jamal Adams comes up fast on the outside the prevent the runner from getting around the edge:
Shepherd also played some snaps on the edge across from Williams in a few four-man fronts.
The downside to this approach is that it can enable the offense to spread your defensive line out, making you more susceptible to cutback runs up the middle. Also, with players coming up fast to fill the outside lane, you can become more susceptible to play-action. It will be interesting to see how opposing teams opt to try and attack the Jets in the weeks to come.
The twilight zone
The Jets opted to play a lot of zone coverage in the second half but match-ups presumably played a major part in this decision. Morris Claiborne struggled to stay with Antonio Callaway all day and when Buster Skrine went down with a knee injury, the Browns kept putting Jarvis Landry in the slot so that Parry Nickerson was forced to cover him.
The Jets obviously lacked confidence in being able to slow Baker Mayfield down if they stayed in man-to-man but he picked apart their zone defenses, finding a lot of holes.
The Jets tried to confuse him a few times, but it didn't really work. On this example, on a key 3rd-and-long conversion late in the game, the Jets opted to send Trumaine Johnson on a blitz and dropped Darron Lee into the passing lane. However, he didn't quite get across far enough and Mayfield still had the angle to complete the pass in front of Adams:
While Bowles told Erin Andrews at halftime that the Jets had watched plenty of footage on Mayfield and wouldn't change their gameplan for him, you have to wonder if the Jets being unprepared to face him was a factor in his success. It's akin to a young pitcher being tough early on because the other team hasn't seen him yet and doesn't know how best to handle him. We'll see how Mayfield fares going forwards.
Going to the 'well too many times
The Jets' offense as they built their early lead essentially consisted of two core plays - an outside zone run off the left side and a receiver screen to Quincy Enunwa in the right flat.
Running left was doubly effective because, not only did it have an effect on Myles Garrett's ability to pin his ears back and rush the passer, but it also saw them block effectively on a number of plays for decent yardage gains.
That set up plays like this one where Bilal Powell was able to cut back for a first down:
Carpenter and Long both do a good job of opening up the cutback lane here and Jordan Leggett does a creditable job of keeping Garrett sealed on the outside. However, the most fun part of this play is Kelvin Beachum's contribution, as he takes a defensive back and drives him a good 10 yards out of the play.
Unfortunately, as you'd expect, the one-dimensional gameplan became too predictable and the Browns were able to adjust. They started getting their hands in the passing lane to disrupt the tosses to Enunwa and ended up stopping over a quarter of the Jets' running plays for a loss.
By the end of the game they were ready for these plays. Here they everyone over to that side with Garrett doing a good job of penetrating against Eric Tomlinson and moving laterally to stretch out the run to the sideline and Carpenter and Enunwa unable to make their blocks in space because the defensive players could anticipate them:
The Jets face another formidable defensive front in their next game against Jacksonville. They'll need every bit of the long week to come up with a better offensive gameplan than this one.
The pancake own-goal
Rookie Chris Herndon threw a pancake block on one of Isaiah Crowell's first half touchdown runs, but unfortunately, he threw it on his own man, as Spencer Long was the unfortunate recipient. Luckily, it didn't affect the play:
On the other touchdown, the Jets lined Jonotthan Harrison up as a fullback on the play, but he stumbled out of the blocks and almost ended up getting in the way. Tomlinson deserved the most credit on this play, as he set the edge and then peeled off that block to drive out another defensive player:
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.