Three on D: Pennel, Jenkins, Skrine

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

Good Wilk to all Penn

Muhammad Wilkerson's replacement in the starting line-up was Mike Pennel and, while he didn't play as much as Xavier Cooper, Pennel had a productive afternoon.

He was in on five run stops, all of which went for three yards or less, as he shed his block well on two of those plays. He also penetrated well to redirect the runner on another play and contributed a pressure with a powerful bull rush.

However, it wasn't all positive from Pennel, who basically carried Melvin Gordon over the goal line for the winning touchdown and was blocked out of the middle on this short yardage conversion:


Pennel has been a useful reserve this year and has responded well to getting some extra playing time over the last month or so as Steve McLendon and Leonard Williams have also missed time in addition to Wilkerson.

He also showed better discipline this week after having committed costly penalties in three of the last four games.

Pennel is not under contract for next year but a good showing in the final game could go a long way towards the Jets looking to bring him back for 2018.

Nativity Skrine

Would Buster Skrine continue his level of play over the last month, which had been referred to as "outstanding" by Todd Bowles? Unfortunately not, although he was arguably unlucky on a third down pass interference call which set up the opening touchdown.

Skrine had his share of good plays, including a pass break-up with a well-timed hit and a good open-field tackle in the flat. However, he gave up a couple of first downs on a third down conversion and this Antonio Gates play:


What's notable about this play is that Gates does a great job of disguising his leak into the open field. He comes downhill, leaning his body towards the line of scrimmage like he's shaping to block someone before breaking into a full sprint. Skrine realizes immediately but it's already too late.

Skrine also had a missed tackle and got lucky on another blown coverage assignment, but had one good coverage play on a deep ball, helped blow up a running play and created pressure once on a blitz from the slot.

This wasn't one of Skrine's worst performances, but he let himself down with a couple of lapses in concentration. Teams are going to continue to look to exploit that lack of focus unless he can eradicate it from his game.

J.J. in a manger

Jordan Jenkins had one of his better all-round performances of the season, as he contributed in the running game, in coverage and as a pass rusher.

Jenkins had six tackles and, like Pennel, five of these were on plays that went for three yards or less, including one for a loss. The other saw him chase down Gordon on a big gain after a dump-off pass.

However, he also affected some runs by penetrating at the point of attack. He showed impressive power to blow up this run on the edge:


Jenkins created pressure a few times too, although he unfortunately slipped over when he seemed to have a clean shot at Philip Rivers. He also batted a pass at the line of scrimmage and was in good position on an incompletion.

There weren't many negatives from Jenkins' performance, although he did allow himself to get driven downhill as the Chargers set the edge for Gordon's game-winning goal-line run.

Jenkins has yet to set the world alight as a pass rusher, but he's definitely progressed as a run defender, establishing himself as a solid every-down option going forwards.

PREVIOUSLY: Three on O: Petty, Harrison, Dozier