Three on D: Thomas, Echols, Sherwood

After each game, we'll be highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll wrap up today with the defense:

Save my Sol

Backup defensive tackle Solomon Thomas was in the game for 33 snaps on Sunday, the most he's had in a Jets uniform. Despite this, Thomas - who was hoping for more opportunities in 2023 when he opted to re-sign for the Jets - still played less than the other three defensive tackles.

In addition, Thomas was hoping to get more reps alongside Quinnen Williams and on passing downs but this isn't really happening either. Basically all his reps on Sunday came alongside Al Woods, who also played several snaps in the goal line package.

Nevertheless, Thomas came up with a few good plays on Sunday. He shed a tight end's block to stuff a run, slipped through a gap to pressure Dak Prescott and chased Prescott from the pocket three times, including on this play where he closed impressively for a sack.

Thomas was also sealed off a few times in the running game but did manage to hold his ground against a couple of double teams to enable a couple of runs to be bottled up.

The Jets continue to be happy with how Thomas is performing his role, but he could still be frustrated with the opportunities he isn't getting. However, it's not like the three guys ahead of him are underperforming so that's probably unlikely to change.

It's all gone to Ech'

One concern for the Jets on defense is their lack of secondary depth and this was stretched to the limit when, with Bryce Hall already inactive, Jordan Whitehead, Tony Adams and Deuce Carter all got hurt.

In the end, Whitehead returned and Robert Saleh said Carter could have if necessary, so there was no need to resort to using Justin Hardee on defense. It did mean extra playing time for Ashtyn Davis, Adrian Amos and Brandin Echols though.

In the case of Echols, he played 21 snaps which is the most he's played since he was a starter for most of his rookie season in 2021.

Echols had a costly play with the score still only 10-7 when he failed to get his head turned and interfered with Jalen Tolbert in the end zone on 3rd-and-13. Tolbert is the Cowboys' punt gunner, only playing because Brandin Cooks was out, and entered the game with just two career catches so the Jets would expect Echols to be able to handle this matchup.

Another key play saw CeeDee Lamb left wide open for 21 yards as Echols anticipated a receiver screen and let Lamb get behind him.

This play is a good example of how the Jets' zone defense failed them on Sunday. They have enough players over there to make this play but Echols needs to pass Lamb off to DJ Reed and Reed needs to pass the outside receiver to the safety.

Echols did make one nice play where he tripped the runner in the hole for no gain, but he also missed two tackles (although one of these was in the flat and Jermaine Johnson made the play cleaning up behind him anyway).

Carter will hopefully return this week, but even if he does Echols is only one injury away from being called upon again. His coverage skills have always looked relatively solid but his awareness remains a concern.

Jame as it ever was

Jamien Sherwood was another returning player who saw more snaps in this game than he did at any point last season. He was in for 27 plays, a total he surpassed twice as a rookie, but one of these was the game against New England where CJ Mosley got hurt and they gave up over 50 points.

Sherwood's improved physicality was on display again in this game. He took on Terence Steele's block in space to force a runner to cut back and get bottled up and was in on four tackles that were stopped for three yards or less. He ended up with seven tackles without a missed tackle and also had a key block on the fake punt.

It's in coverage where Sherwood remains a potential liability. Specifically, much like Echols, this is in terms of his awareness or lack thereof.

On one play, Lamb ran in behind him on a slant for 31 yards as Sherwood was peeking into the backfield the whole time and only reacted to the pass once it was too late.

Sherwood also got beaten on Dallas' second touchdown as he again was playing the run and couldn't recover after having allowed separation at the line.

Sherwood has shown enough to far that he can hopefully contribute well in base packages but he's still someone who you fear could be exploited in coverage which will limit him, or could make him a liability if injuries force him into a bigger role.

Previously: Three on O: McGovern, Tomlinson, Davis