Three on D: Hewitt, Maulet, Poole

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:

Work of Art

While rookie Bless Austin has been getting most of the attention, Arthur Maulet's play as the other starting cornerback has also been crucial in this three-game winning streak.

Maulet wasn't targeted at all last week and this week was only targeted once down the field - for an incompletion. He gave up six catches but all of them came on short passes, three of which he stopped for a loss:


While Maulet's tackling was good, he wasn't flawless, as he missed two tackles, including one where Darren Waller ran over him in the open field for a 19-yard gain.

Maulet didn't just contribute in coverage, though, as he was also in on two run stops close to the line.

With Darryl Roberts due to return from injury, it would seem unfair for him to get his starting job back over Maulet or Austin, as both have been more consistent over the past three weeks than Roberts has all year.

Poole and the Gang

Speaking of consistency, Brian Poole has been one of the Jets' most consistent defensive players all season and he was rewarded with his first interception of the season on Sunday.

The play saw Neville Hewitt break up a pass that popped up into the air so Poole could make a one-handed catch and run it in.

Remarkably, his first interception would actually come on the first game all season where he wasn't targeted in coverage. He had previously been targeted at least twice in every other game.

As a result, Poole wasn't statistically productive, with his only tackle coming down the field on an 8-yard running play. He did have one pressure as a pass rusher though, beating the running back and chasing Derek Carr from the pocket on third down, although Carr did convert the first down with a dump-off underneath.

In terms of negatives, the only thing you could criticize Poole for was this missed tackle:


One interesting feature of this game was that the Jets played more base defense so Poole only played 45 snaps, his lowest total since opening day.

Based on his performances this year, during which Poole has given up just one touchdown and been penalized just three times, the Jets should make re-signing the pending free agent a priority in the offseason.

Oh, the Hew-manity!

With the Jets putting together an excellent team performance and Hewitt racking up seven tackles and a quarterback hit in addition to the play he made to set up Poole's touchdown, you might consider this to be a solid performance from Hewitt in his second game back from injury.

However, according to Pro Football Focus, Hewitt had his third consecutive game with a grade below 40. Even so, those three games were still wins over Dallas, Washington and Oakland.

Hewitt's main issue was missed tackles. He missed four in this game and leads the team with 11 on the season despite missing the Miami, Jacksonville and New York games:


There were other negatives too. He gave up three first downs in coverage, including the above play, was beaten for another would-be first down on a pass that was dropped and was blocked out of two plays at the second level. He also was late to react on Derek Carr's first down scramble up the middle.

Hewitt still made some positive contributions though. He was in on a fourth down short yardage stop, was in good position on an incomplete throw to the end zone and was in on a couple of stops near the line.

The remarkable thing is that the Jets' defense has been so good while there is still a lot of room from improvement at the linebacker positions. Whether that comes from Hewitt settling down and playing more consistently like he did earlier in the season and at the end of last year or from CJ Mosley's return providing an upgrade remains to be seen.

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