Three on D: Shepherd, Attaochu, Roberts

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:

Shepherd Steak

Nathan Shepherd's progress so far has been slow. Through six games, the rookie has just three tackles and four pressures despite seeing plenty of playing time.

That playing time may be starting to drop off, as he had a season-low 15 defensive snaps on Sunday. Henry Anderson had moved into the starting lineup and Mike Pennel got more reps than Shepherd in the first half. This came a few days after he might have been gearing up for an expanded role as Leonard Williams was dealing with a back issue.

At least Shepherd has started to show some flashes in his recent appearances. On this play, he shows good technique to get the right guard's hands off him, then uses a rip move to get upfield. Andrew Luck is forced to step up, but is able to pick up the first down:


In the running game, Shepherd was in on three plays in the first half, all of which were stuffed. However, he was in on four plays in the second half, all of which went for at least eight yards.

While he wasn't directly at fault on any of those plays - and hasn't had many negative plays overall - Shepherd needs to alert to the potential for a draw play when he's in the game in pass rushing situations.

We won't stop Jeremiah; he's on fire

The Jets added veteran Jeremiah Attaochu to boost their pass rush and he's done a solid job so far. He's averaging a pressure on every eight snaps, which is better than every other edge defender or defensive lineman on the team.

After recording a strip sack last week, Attaochu had a couple more pressures on Sunday, including this extremely impressive play:


That's Anthony Castonzo - arguably one of the best left tackles in the league - that Attaochu blows up with a big-time bull rush and puts into Luck's lap.

While the starters Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland played about 40 snaps each, Attaochu and rookie Frankie Luvu both played about 30, so everyone is getting plenty of opportunities.

As with Shepherd, Attaochu was on the field for some big runs in the second half, as the Colts gained 52 yards on five carries with him in the game, including a 25-yarder as he was kicked out by the left tackle.

Attaochu is in there to rush the passer though and he'll continue to get reps if he can produce in that role.

I, Roberts

With Trumaine Johnson out, Darryl Roberts has been exposed at times, but he held up quite well on Sunday.

On four targets, Roberts didn't give up a first down with the longest play being the 16-yarder in the above gif. He also had two passes defensed; one on a tipped pass in the end zone and the other on this nice play:


Roberts didn't have any missed tackles this week, although he only made one tackle, shoving the receiver out of bounds after a short pass.

While Roberts held up quite well, the Colts didn't actively go after him much and - as noted on Monday - he did make one major mistake on the Colts' second touchdown. Roberts was fooled by the fake screen action and let his man get behind him which drew Marcus Maye out of position.

It's not known how much longer Johnson (and Buster Skrine) will be out, nor how soon the Jets will expect Rashard Robinson to overtake Roberts in the pecking order. However, it's a good sign that the team was able to win two with him out because he might be needed again later this year.

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