QuickFix: Slipping away

The Jets let the lead slip yesterday, but that wasn't the only thing to slip as both teams contested the game on a field that was in poor shape following a college football game between Miami and Syracuse on Saturday.

Two players in particular seemed to struggle with the conditions: Darron Lee and Jamal Adams.

When looking at the situations where players slipped, this makes perfect sense. Players would either slip initially as they made their read and tried to burst in the direction of the ball or as they attempted to change direction. Adams and Lee, being two young players, eager to fly around and make plays and probably focusing on making quick movements as they get used to the speed of the NFL, were both victims of the slippery turf on a few occasions.

On the very first play of the game, Adams came up into the box and then slipped before he could react to the play-action and drop with the tight end. He sprung back to his feet but the tight end was behind him, wide open for a big gain with Demario Davis trailing:


David Bass (who also slipped) had the rollout contained, so it seems likely Adams was responsible for the tight end there. You have to be extra careful not to overpursue in conditions like these, because it's especially difficult to recover and both teams ran plays designed to exploit that.

Later on, Adams was also unlucky on Anthony Fasano's touchdown:


This time, his feet gave out as he tried to make his initial burst towards the ball. This left him picked by Darryl Roberts, who had been driven back into Adams' path.

That could have been called a pick play. While the receiver who picked Roberts did not break the rules because the pick happened within a yard of the line of scrimmage, he could be called for a pick on Adams further down the field if the officials determined that he deliberately impeded Adams, regardless of whether or not he was engaged with another player. However, if they ruled that it was Roberts who got in Adams' way and that the receiver didn't directly impede Adams himself, then perhaps that's what led to the no call.

Either way, if Adams doesn't slip, he has a chance to go underneath that pick and still have a shot at making a play on the ball. As soon as he does, it's basically over.

As for Lee, here's an example where he seemed to struggle with his footing as he gives up a catch in coverage:


He didn't necessarily slip here (although he actually did right at the end of the play), but you can see that Landry makes a sharp break while Lee - perhaps cognisant of the tricky conditions, seems to make a more tentative turn, allowing Landry to gain a little separation and hurdle Roberts down the field.

Lee's issues with his footing didn't stop there though. There was another play where he slipped over in the flat, allowing the receiver to make a short catch and then missed the tackle as he scrambled to his feet but wasn't able to secure his base.

Then, late in the game, he was in a good position trailing a receiver over the middle, only to slip as the throw was being released, setting up a big first down. You could tell from Lee's frustrated reaction after the play that he was saying "Are you [freaking] kidding me?"

That almost led to the Dolphins being in range for the go-ahead field goal, but a Demario Davis sack ended the threat, only for John McCown's interception to set them up anyway.

This rivalry has a history with bad fields, as the Dolphins famously sabotaged their own field to slow down the Jets' offense in the 1982 AFC title game to deny the Jets a Super Bowl appearance.

However, this isn't intended as an excuse for the Jets having lost the game. Both teams had players on both sides of the ball that slipped or lost their footing at key moments.

What it does tell us, though, is that Adams and Lee were perhaps unlucky on a few of their negative plays. Considering they both played well even taking these errors into account, that's hopefully a positive sign that maybe they're ascending even faster than it seems.

PREVIOUSLY: Reviewing the rotations