Saints at Jets: In-depth analysis - Defense

We're breaking down every player's performance in the third preseason game against the Saints. We broke down the offense earlier today.

Let's review the defensive performances in depth:

Defensive Line - Fatukasi and the Sunshine Band

The Jets did a solid job against the run this week, giving up just 3.2 yards per carry, including 2.8 in the first half.

Leonard Williams saw his first action in preseason and played hard. He was in on three run stops and had a quarterback hit, although he was driven downhill on one running play.

Henry Anderson was also in on a couple of run stuffs. He was also credited with a quarterback hit and batted down a pass. Anderson was also driven downhill on one run and missed a tackle on the edge though.

Once again, Steve McLendon did a disruptive job at the nose tackle position. While he wasn't credited with a tackle, he got penetration or helped bottle up a run on a handful of occasions and also had a pressure. He was only blocked off the line once.

Rookie Quinnen Williams once again wasn't credited with any statistics but he had a quarterback hit negated by a penalty on a stunt and one other pressure. He got penetration a few times and helped bottle up a run. For the second straight week, he flattened an offensive lineman too, although the quarterback got rid of the ball quickly anyway:


Foley Fatukasi once again got into the game ahead of Nathan Shepherd as most people seem to think these two are battling for one spot. Fatukasi got into the game in the middle of the first quarter, while Shepherd played only two first half snaps, right at the end.

Officially, Fatukasi did not record any stats, while Shepherd had two run stops. Fatuaksi stood up his man on one play and helped bottle up a run on another, but also jumped offside. Shepherd took on a double team to bottle up one run and got into the backfield to flush the quarterback from the pocket on another play. He also drew two holding penalties, while Fatukasi also drew one that negated a Taysom Hill touchdown scramble.

Rookie Kyle Phillips also drew a holding penalty and was in one run stuff but he was also blocked out of a few plays and had a missed tackle.

Fellow rookies Trevon Sanders and MyQuon Stout saw brief action in the fourth quarter with Stout in on one stop at the line.

Edges - It's been a Langi time coming

After last week's dominating performance, the Jets' pass rush wasn't as strong this week with two sacks both coming from defensive backs and only four other quarterback hits.

Jordan Jenkins was the only player with more than one, as he had one on an inside move and another as he was unblocked. He was also unblocked for another pressure, was in on a run stop and drew a hold.

Tarell Basham and Bronson Kaufusi have had solid camps and could be in with a chance to start, at least while Brandon Copeland is suspended. However, general manager Joe Douglas has indicated he will upgrade the edge positions if he can.

Basham and Kaufusi were both kept quiet in this game. They had one tackle between them - by Kaufusi on a short-yardage run that went for a first down. Basham had a pressure and another play where he dropped off the line on a dropped screen pass, but also missed a tackle.

Frankie Luvu didn't register any statistics either, although he did have one pressure off the edge. Luvu got hurdled by a receiver in the open field on one play.

Harvey Langi finally got a chance to play this week after some injuries throughout camp. He had four tackles and a couple of pressures, making some good plays near the line of scrimmage and one third down stop. However, he missed the tackle twice when he had a couple of chances to make an impact play in the backfield.

Rookie Jachai Polite had one pressure off the edge and another play where he was unblocked and chased the quarterback out of the pocket. However, he also gave up a first down in coverage. Expect him to get a lot of reps next week.

Undrafted rookie Justin Alexandre saw brief action at the end but didn't make an impact while Jamey Mosley remains injured.

Linebackers - Neville may cry

It's unclear how big of a loss Avery Williamson will be this year, but there was some cause for concern on Saturday night as the Saints seemed to have identified his replacement, Neville Hewitt, as a weakness and went after him a few times.

Hewitt, who was credited with two tackles, was blocked out of a few plays and overpursued on another. He also gave up a first down in coverage as he got caught up on a rub route. There was also a play where he nearly got beaten for a touchdown and was lucky the throw wasn't better. He had one pressure.

CJ Mosley was credited with just one downfield tackle. However, he had a couple of good plays. On one run he took on the full back in the hole to help bottle the play up. Then he took a deep drop in coverage and distrupted a high throw.

The Jets and their fans have been hoping rookie Blake Cashman can step up, but the time he's missed in camp seems to have set him back. Two of his three tackles came on plays that went for a first down anyway, including one where the tight end found a space between him and Arthur Maulet in zone coverage on third and long. Cashman was in on one run stuff and had a pressure that led to an intentional grounding penalty. He's likely to play a lot on Thursday night too.

James Burgess led the Jets with seven tackles, including one for a loss, a couple more run stops and a hit on third down to force a punt. However, he also had a few negatives. He missed a couple of tackles, gave up a few plays in coverage and overpursued a few times, including on a couple of bootlegs. Gregg Williams may trust him more than Cashman at this stage, though.

Anthony Wint was credited with three tackles, including a couple of run stops, but got banged up a couple of times.

New additions Albert McClellan and Stephone Anthony did not get any defensive reps last night.

Defensive Backs - Deadly Poole

At cornerback, a handful of players on the bubble got reps as they look to earn a roster spot, but it's possible none of them will make it. Tevaughn Campbell got the start this week, while Maulet, Parry Nickerson and Alex Brown came off the bench.

Brown fared the best out of all of them, with two pass break-ups and five tackles but even he gave up three first downs and had two penalties so it was hardly a convincing display against backups.

Campbell got beaten for a touchdown by Michael Thomas, who blew past him for a 19-yard score over the top. He left the game after that drive and didn't return until the fourth quarter, where he made one good play in coverage.

Nickerson had a couple of good tackles, including one to blow up a receiver screen for a short gain but was also blocked out on another screen pass and had a defensive penalty away from the ball.

Maulet, who was back in the slot this week, wasn't targeted but did blitz for a sack.

New signing Marcus Cooper may have a better chance at being on the final roster than any of these players and he got plenty of work. Cooper had a missed tackle and gave up a first down on 3rd-and-short but was also in on a run stop.

Mark Myers and Dee Delaney only played briefly at the end of the game. Delaney got burned deep for a 49-yard gain.

Trumaine Johnson and Kyron Brown remain out with sixth round pick Blessuan Austin still on the inactive list. It's assumed that Brown would be ahead of the likes of Jones, Campbell and Maulet, but we really haven't seen enough of him to know this for sure. It would be useful if he could get healthy by Thursday night.

Of course, it might also have been useful to get some idea of how Darryl Roberts might hold up as a full-time starter, but he somehow managed to navigate the first three games without ever being thrown at. Hopefully that's a sign he was constantly in position, at least.

The one cornerback to make meaningful contributions yesterday who can be sure of his spot is Brian Poole. Poole gave up one first down in coverage, but had a pass break-up and a tackle for loss and was in on a couple of good open field tackles.

At safety, Jamal Adams was bailed out by a (correct) replay reversal after it looked like he'd given up a first down catch. He had two tackles, including this huge hit:


Rontez Miles, who had been starting, didn't get any reps at all on defense this week with Marcus Maye returning. Maye had two tackles.

Doug Middleton put in an error-free performance with the second unit. He had two tackles and disrupted a high pass down the field.

Brandon Bryant had an eventful game. He started well with a good open field tackle to force a punt, but then gave up two downfield catches for first downs and was flagged for three personal fouls, although one of them was picked up. He was actually credited with a sack on that play, although that was generous because - having initially missed the tackle on a blitz - the quarterback had already stepped out of bounds before he chased him down.

On the final one of those three plays where he was flagged, Bryant knocked himself woozy with a helmet-to-helmet hit which is destined to be a factor in his roster status as well.

Godwin Igwebuike and Derrick Kindred also got reps at safety and each was in on a couple of run stops. In his first game as a Jet, Kindred had a missed tackle and seemed to be out of position on a pass that was dropped in the end zone. There was some kind of communication breakdown with Nickerson on that play. Igwebuike also missed a couple of tackles.

Don't go away because we'll have our special teams review later this afternoon.