After each game, we'll be highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll start today with the defense:
Whitehead shade of pale
The last time the Jets were on national television, Jordan Whitehead played a starring role with three interceptions. However, on Sunday night, Whitehead had a rough game.
Whitehead played a central role in both Chiefs touchdowns. Initially, he was pancaked in the open field, allowing Isiah Pacheco to break into the clear:
On the other Chiefs touchdown there was a blown coverage that allowed Noah Gray to get behind the defense down the seam. This was a brilliantly designed play as Travis Kelce lined up out wide with Sauce Gardner in off coverage, but closely bunched with Gray and a slot receiver. The slot receiver ran a go route with inside leverage to cause Deuce Carter to drop with him and Kelce ran a whip route near the marker which caused Whitehead to hesitate rather than drop with Gray and Gardner to drop into the middle of the field so Carter was in the way of him recovering across to stop Gray.
Errors like these would have been easier to swallow if Whitehead had made a lot of positive contributions, but that wasn't really the case. He also had three missed tackles, including one in the box that allowed Pacheco to run for a first down and one as he went in for a big hit and the ball carrier bounced off him.
One of the best plays Whitehead made was inconsequential anyway as he broke up a pass on a downfield hit but the Jets were awarded a safety anyway. He did come up fast to get in on a run stuff near the line though.
Whitehead has shown both the good and bad in his game already this season. He remains too inconsistent to be a true star, but clearly has potential to make impact plays on a more regular basis.
Clems da rules
Micheal Clemons also played a key role in the Pacheco touchdown as he missed the tackle in the backfield that allowed Pacheco to break free. Interestingly, though, this was the first missed tackle of Clemons' career.
He didn't have many negatives apart from this, although he did get sealed inside once and allowed Mahomes to escape the pocket on a first down run. In addition, the one time he lined up as a defensive tackle, he was blocked off the line by Creed Humphrey and the run went for nine up the middle. Clemons inside continues to be a non-viable option.
Generally, though, he consistently holds up well in the trenches, bottling up a lot of runs and getting in on multiple tackles that he didn't get credit for.
While his strength in the trenches and abilities against the run are apparent, Clemons has never been particularly productive as a pass rusher. He had one pressure on Sunday night. It was an impressive one though:
In preseason, it looked like Clemons had shown some growth as a pass rusher, but that hasn't translated to the regular season so far, as he has four pressures in the first four games - the same as he had last year. Nevertheless, his ability to hold up in the trenches and potentially clean up when he's out there to rush means he remains a solid contributor.
I see this as an absolute Quin
It's worth taking a look at Quincy Williams again, because he has sustained the excellent play he began the season with, after a strong finish to last year. It got some attention this week that he's now grading out among the best linebackers in the NFL.
It's easy to see why this is. You can tell that Williams is reading things a lot quicker now and flying to the ball. His production on Sunday might was sensational. 11 of his 13 tackles came within five yards of the line of scrimmage, including two behind the line, and he also added a pass breakup and a quarterback hit.
In coverage, he did give up two first down catches to Travis Kelce and was also called for defensive holding on him, but otherwise he was targeted five times for just 13 yards with no first downs.
A few years ago, Robert Saleh caused raised eyebrows when he said Williams could be a pro bowler if he can improve his consistency. For the past month, he's proven that he can play at that kind of level. He just needs to maintain this now.
What's perhaps more interesting is that with Saleh potentially having been proven correct in this regard, maybe Zach Wilson's performance this week is a sign that he was right about Wilson's potential too, not just trying to boost the player's confidence. Now, read the last paragraph on Jordan Whitehead again and you'll get an insight into the decision that will face the Jets when his contract is up at the end of the year.
Like Whitehead, Williams had a couple of missed tackles, but this is an example of where Williams' mistakes are easier to accept because of all the positive contributions he made and hopefully will continue to make as the season progresses.
Three-on-O will follow tomorrow.