Three on D: Adams, Austin, Shepherd

After each game, we've been highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll begin today with the defense:

Positively-charged Adams

After a tumultuous few weeks, Jamal Adams' performance on Sunday rightfully earned plenty of plaudits.

Adams had two-strip sacks, including one where he snatched the ball away from Daniel Jones and ran it in for a crucial touchdown.

However, this wasn't just a game where he had a couple of impact plays. Adams was everywhere, leading the Jets with nine tackles, including two run stops close to the line, and also broke up a pass in coverage.

He also made a big third down tackle shy of the marker and this spectacular fourth down stop on a quarterback sneak:


In terms of negatives, the only one you could attribute to him was a first down completion given up in downfield zone coverage.

Adams seems happy once again, which is a good thing for the short and long-term future of the franchise. And, if the worst comes to the worst, at least this is going to boost his trade value.


Product of Rutgers {Bless}

Blessuan Austin's NFL debut went well, as he replaced the benched Nate Hairston at half time. Despite ultimately playing twice as many snaps as Hairston because the Jets had controlled the time of possession in the first half and the Giants controlled it after half time, Austin didn't give up anywhere near as much in coverage.

Hairston had two penalties - one a 15-yard pass interference penalty and the other a holding penalty that negated a sack - as well as giving up five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Austin gave up just one catch on four targets and also forced a fumble at the end of the last play of the game.

On the play prior to that, Austin showcased his closing speed and length as he made a play on the ball to force an incompletion. Had the receiver been able to get the lateral pass off to Golden Tate, as appeared to be the plan, who knows what would have happened:


Austin almost had an interception too, as he got his head turned around but saw the ball go through his hands as he made a play on it.

The one catch he gave up was a 14-yard completion on 3rd-and-11 on the outside, but Austin otherwise held up well. Tate did also beat him on a two-point conversion, but that was rightly flagged as offensive pass interference as Tate's push-off caused Austin to slip.

While Darryl Roberts may be able to return to the line-up soon, Austin certainly seemed to do well enough to warrant a longer look. He looks healthy right now, so if he can live up to the potential that had some experts projecting him as a day two pick before his second ACL tear, that would make him an excellent pick-up in the sixth round.

The Shep of things to come

The Jets seemed almost ready to give up on Nathan Shepherd, who barely made the opening day roster and was then suspended for six weeks. It wasn't certain that they'd activate him once he came off the suspended list, as he seemed to have been jumped by Foley Fatukasi in the rotation.

However, Shepherd played quite well last week and, with Leonard Williams' departure giving him an opportunity for some extra playing time, turned in easily his best game as a pro on Sunday.

While he only had three tackles, all three came behind the line of scrimmage. He also had a fourth tackle behind the line - and what would have given him two sacks - negated by a penalty. In addition to that, he had no negative plays and help blow up one other play with penetration.

Shepherd looked strong and showed some good explosiveness and technique on these plays. On his two run stops, the first saw him shoot a gap and blow up the runner cleanly in the hole. However, the second was even more impressive:


Shepherd takes on the double-team superbly here. Note how he widens his base to brace for the double-team and then, as the guard peels off, he narrows his base and attacks, driving the tackle backwards to bottle up the play. This is really good stuff from the former third-rounder.

As for his two sacks, the one that didn't count saw him matched up one-on-one with Will Hernandez. This saw him do some good work on the bull rush to get Hernandez's hands off him and then leverage his way to the quarterback on the inside.

The one that did count came in clean-up following pressure from Jordan Jenkins off the edge. However, this was equally impressive as he drove Eric Smith back and then threw him aside to close on the quarterback as he stepped up.

While it's only been a couple of games, it's very interesting to see some of the young defensive linemen stepping up after Williams was traded. It would be nice to see that start to happen at some other positions.

We'll be back with the 3-on-O tomorrow.