Three on D: Jenkins, Lee, Maye

After each game, we're going to highlight three defensive and three offensive players and look in detail at their performance. We'll start today with the defense:

Isn't it a love Lee day?

Darron Lee had a rocky start to the season, but he's been improving his consistency and making more impact plays as the season has progressed. Thursday night was his best game so far, as he recorded eight tackles - tied for the team lead - including a sack and two more plays blown up for a loss.

Lee also had a quarterback hit, was in on two run stuffs and was able to escort Tyrod Taylor out of bounds on a third down scramble to force a punt.

More exciting for his long term potential, however, is the fact that it's hard to find many negatives for him. He definitely had fewer negative plays that he's had in any game so far this season.

There was one play where he was driven out of the play at the second level, but that was something that was happeningly constantly at the start of the year. The only missed tackle he had saw a defender slip away from his grasp after he had slowed him up and was finished off immediately by someone else anyway, so that doesn't really count.

In coverage, perhaps his worst misstep was to be fooled on this double move by Logan Thomas, but even that might have been overcome had Marcus Maye not also been fooled:


Lee didn't look anything like a first round pick over the first month, but if he continues to improve at anything like the rate he has over the last month, then perhaps anyone who gave up on him did so prematurely.

Mayebe tomorrow

Maye's contributions this season have been good and his range and discipline have helped the Jets make improvements, especially in terms of not surrendering as many big plays.

Speaking of big plays, he came up with one himself when he stripped the ball away from Nick O'Leary to force a second half turnover. The Bills were driving towards cutting it to a two-score game at that moment, with time still remaining in the third quarter.

With that said, Maye didn't have a major positive impact otherwise. His four tackles all came down the field and he whiffed on a chance to record a sack off the edge.

He had a couple of negatives too, in addition to the above play in zone coverage. A holding penalty negated a Jamal Adams sack and he perhaps lost focus on this play after initially doing a good job of covering his man, eventually letting him get free after Taylor extended the play:


Maye has been great so far this year, but his concentration has to be razor sharp because he's often the last line of defense and any lapses like the one he had on Rob Gronkowski's touchdown in the Patriots game can prove costly.

Jordan Sparks

Jordan Jenkins entered yesterday's game with zero sacks on the year and just 2.5 in his 22 career games. However, it didn't take him long to get off the mark, hauling Taylor down near his own goal line on the Bills' first play after bursting unblocked into the backfield. That set the tone for the Jets' defensive performance.

Later on, Jenkins had an even bigger play as Taylor was flushed from the pocket and then tried to set up to throw just in front of the line of scrimmage. Jenkins nailed him from behind for a strip sack with the resulting fumble returned inside the 10-yard line by Demario Davis.

Since being drafted in the third round last year, Jenkins has been a steady player but hasn't had many impact plays so it is good to see him break out like this.

He didn't otherwise generate much pressure off the edge and didn't have any tackles apart from his two sacks. However, he blew up one play - finished off by Lee in the backfield - with excellent upfield penetration to set the edge.

There were a couple of negatives though. He was kicked out of the play on a screen pass that went for a first down and beaten for a would-be touchdown by LeSean McCoy, only for the veteran to drop the pass. There was also this play, where he got sucked inside and allowed McCoy to escape around the edge.


On the whole though, it was good to see Jenkins making some noise and it will be a boost if he continues to be a reliable starter that can make these big plays from time to time.

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