Three on D: Maye, Williams, Johnson

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:

Maye-o Soup

When Marcus Maye made his return from injury, the expectation was that the secondary would get a boost. However, the opposite happened as they had a rough game in Jacksonville. It would be difficult to pin much of the blame on Maye himself though.

As usual, Maye was lined up deep on the majority of his snaps, although he did come up into the box on about a quarter of them.

It seems unlikely that Maye was the man at fault on the numerous crossing patterns that led to receivers being left open, but it's theoretically possible that perhaps he was expected to come up from deep to prevent some of those. However, that's not something Doug Middleton ever really did in Maye's absence.

Since he was playing deep, Maye wasn't really involved in the success or failure of many plays. However, he came up to make a few tackles. He was credited with six tackles, but they were all at least nine yards downfield, apart from one where he chased Blake Bortles out to the sideline on a five-yard scramble.

Maye was only directly targeted in coverage once and got pretty lucky as he left a man open at the back of the end zone on this two-point conversion:


Maye also added a tackle on special teams, but the team will be expecting for more of an impact from Maye going forwards as he gets his legs back under him.

The Leo star sign

Leonard Williams came in for some criticism last week because he didn't register a single statistic. However, this went a bit far, as he had three or four pressures and bottled up a few runs.

This week, he made more plays himself though, highlighted by a sack up the middle. Prior to that, Williams had only recorded three sacks in the previous 28 games.

The sack wasn't Williams' only pass rushing contribution as he had a few more pressures including this one where he lined up outside and beat the right tackle on a rip move that led to a Bortles interception:


As a run defender, Williams was in on three run stuffs close to the line. However, he also missed a tackle in the backfield and was handled at the point of attack a few times, including on TJ Yeldon's last minute touchdown.

Williams' final line - five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one quarterback hit should quieten the media criticism for a week or two (although ironically, most of them are probably unaware that if you record a sack, you also get credit for a hit and a tackle for loss so this line sounds better than it actually is).

If you think back to the early Rex Ryan era, there was a somewhat similar situation with Kerry Rhodes, who was grading out as one of the best safeties in the league, but received criticism for not making enough impact plays. This led to him starting to gamble a bit more and he was ultimately benched for Eric Smith even though the Jets had the number one defense in the league. Hopefully, this misguided analysis isn't going to affect fan perception and influence how the coaches use him or how he himself approaches the game.

If Williams wants to earn the big money he looks destined to covet, he will need to make more of a direct impact, though. This game was a good step in the right direction in that regard.

Tru Love Waits

The Jets gave Trumaine Johnson big money in the offseason, but he's been unconvincing so far and it was distressing to see him burned so easily for a long touchdown.


Jeff Fisher suggested on the TV broadcast that Johnson might have got a bit lazy on that play because he wasn't expecting the throw, but you also have to give credit to Donte Moncrief for a sneaky push-off.

Entering this game, Johnson's coverage numbers through the first three games had been good, with just a 50 percent success rate when he was targeted and only one play of over 20 yards. However, in this game the touchdown wasn't his only negative play.

Johnson was successfully targeted three other times, including a comebacker for a first down and a 3rd-and-long conversion where he got caught up in a rub route. He also missed a tackle in the open field, enabling the receiver to pick up a first down.

Johnson did make some positive contributions, headlined by his fumble return down to the five-yard line. He had a season high four tackles too, including two short of the first down marker and one in the flat for a short gain.

"Some positive contributions" isn't going to cut it though. Hopefully this game was an aberration for Johnson, because if he has many more games like this, the fans could start to turn on him.

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