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:
Darryl Roberts returning to the deep safety role was something we suspected might happen in this week's game, especially when Matthias Farley was injured. Blake Countess would also have been an option but he ended up being the only healthy defensive back not to get any reps, while the other six all played at least 19 snaps.
Roberts also went to free safety at the end last year when Marcus Maye was injured and though he initially did quite well, he had some rough moments as he gave up a 55-yard catch and a 45-yard touchdown in coverage and had two bad missed tackles against the Packers.
Roberts is now getting another chance to show he can handle this role. He needs to show better positional sense and take better angles, but did well on Sunday. Can he sustain it this time though? And will he even get a chance to with Jamal Adams and Farley both expected back soon?
In Sunday's game, Roberts had seven tackles but all seven of them came on plays that went for a first down. Nevertheless he did a good job of keeping things in front of him and limiting yardage after the catch:
Aside from that nice hit, Roberts also contributed in coverage by disrupting an attempted one handed catch on third down with another hit.
When the Jets opted to move the guy who had essentially been their number one cornerback to safety rather than put him back in the rotation despite the fact that Brian Poole and Arthur Maulet were out, this spoke volumes.
In the previous week's game, Roberts was the fourth cornerback to get into the game and wouldn't have seen any reps at all if Poole and Maulet didn't get hurt at the same time. He did make some plays on special teams though.
It seems like the Jets may be done with Roberts at the cornerback position and are instead auditioning their collection of younger and cheaper players to see who deserves to stick around next year. Roberts showcasing the versatility to fill in at the safety position helps his value but is unlikely to raise it to the point where he'll be back without a paycut. Maybe they could interest a team in trading for him but they might need to eat a little money to facilitate that.
Roberts did play well on Sunday. However, once the four missing defensive backs start to return, will we even see him again?
Steve game on point
Steve McLendon continues to be a valuable leader and one of the keys to the Jets' outstanding run defense so far this season.
Sunday was one of his best games of the year, although he only ended up with three tackles and one quarterback hit.
He showed leadership on this play, explosively blowing up a run to pick up the defense on the play after they'd just given up their biggest play of the day on Blessuan Austin's pass interference penalty:
McLendon stuffed two other runs - although the Jets accepted a holding penalty on one of those - and was only driven off the line once - on a play that was stuffed anyway by Maye. He almost made one other play in the backfield too, but the back slipped away from him.
During the broadcast, the announcers stated that McLendon has 14 tackles for loss and Kyle Phillips has 15 on the year. This is obviously based on team statistics though, as officially they only have 14 between them. Otherwise that would put them both among the league leaders.
His quarterback hit saw him force Ryan Fitzpatrick to rush a throw out to the flat for an incompletion. On the play McLendon shoved Evan Boehm aside to get to Fitzpatrick cleanly. McLendon is obviously a run stopper primarily but has also posted the best pass rush numbers of his career this season.
The Jets were smart to lock McLendon up for next year already because the veteran still obviously has plenty in the tank even though he's less than a month away from his 34th birthday.
It's a Kyron shame
Having never previously played any defensive snaps in regular season action, undrafted rookie Kyron Brown was a surprise starter on Sunday, despite the fact that the more experienced Maurice Canady and Darryl Roberts were both options.
Brown had some issues in Sunday's game, giving up three first down catches. Two of these saw him giving up too much of a cushion in zone coverage whereas he whiffed on the jam in press coverage on the other.
Brown also came up to make an open field tackle on another completion and was targeted unsuccessfully three times. On one of those, he had his man covered in the end zone so Fitzpatrick had to throw it away. His man was open on another though, but the throw was wide.
Brown ended up with five tackles, but badly missed this chance to make a play against the run:
Brown suffered a quadriceps injury on that play and is done for the year as he has already been placed on injured reserve.
Brown will return in training camp next year and the Jets will hope he'll continue to show signs of progress. Ultimately, he'll be a long-shot to make the team though.
We'll be back with the 3-on-O tomorrow.