Three on D: Maye, Nickerson, Williams

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:

Leo Rush

Leonard Williams finally had a breakout performance as he was in on three sacks in Sunday's game. Eventually credited with two sacks (one full one and two halves), Williams has already surpassed his sack total from last year with three.

The Jets found some creative ways to free up Williams. His first sack saw him line up outside and then loop up the middle untouched after the Jets sent an overload blitz.

On this next play, he actually lined up as an outside linebacker and drove the tackle back in the pocket. It's Henry Anderson who creates the chaos here, as he beat Connor McGovern and Williams picks up a half-sack cleaning up:


Williams' other half-sack saw him line up inside and blow by McGovern with a quick inside move.

In the running game, Williams was actually pretty quiet. He was credited with just one tackle, on a second quarter run stuff that forced the third down on which he picked up his first sack.

Williams has obviously been disruptive over the past few games, but it's good to also see this translating into statistical production and impact plays.

Slick Nick

With both Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine down, Parry Nickerson was called back into action in the slot and gave up a reception on each of his seven targets for 95 yards.

He initially struggled a bit in the first half, as he gave a 31-yard catch to Demaryius Thomas over the top and this 24-yard gain to DaeSean Hamilton on consecutive plays:


However, Nickerson settled down after that. His four targets in the second half went for just 34 yards as he did a better job of keeping everything in front of him and tackled efficiently with six tackles and no missed tackles. Two of those completions came in the final minute as the Jets were backed off in a prevent style defense.

Nickerson also made a third down stop on a short pass in the first half and had a few good blitzes, one of which helped lead to a sack.

Nickerson is a good athlete and seems to be starting to get more comfortable after looking a little out of his depth in Cleveland. Let's see how long Skrine will be out, because Nickerson might have to step up sooner than planned.

He could...go...all...the...Maye...(or Mayebe not)

Marcus Maye's day will be most memorable for his hilarious interception return that saw him run 104 yards only to be tackled right at the goal line by Courtland Sutton.

However, he had made plenty of other contributions with a career-high eight tackles, a half-sack and a forced fumble. In fact, this was arguably the most impactful game of his career so far.

It wasn't all positive from Maye, who got beaten by Sutton at the back of the end zone for a touchdown, but the only other catch he gave up in coverage was stopped short of the marker on third down.

Three of Maye's stops came close to the line of scrimmage, two of which were on short passes with the other being a run. This was a good play where he made a tackle in the flat as Jamal Adams dropped deep and Maye came up right before the snap:

Maye also did a good job of ranging deep to limit some other gains down the field.

In making his return last week, Maye seemed a little rusty, but this was an impact performance from him, which suggests his return is going to upgrade the defense from what we saw in the first three games.

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