After each game, we're going to highlight three defensive and three offensive players and look in detail at their performance. We'll continue today with the offense:
It probably wasn't a good sign for Wesley Johnson when he was driven back four yards into the backfield by Danny Shelton on the very first snap of the game. Just two plays later, he was the spare man in pass protection, ready to give help to anyone who needed it, but reacted really slowly to James Carpenter whiffing on Myles Garrett's inside move, leading to a sack for the rookie:
From there on, it didn't get much better for Johnson, who has been anchoring a unit that has held up better than expecting, but is grading out poorly on an individual basis.
He was responsible for most of the pressure the Jets gave up in pass protection, including one play where he was bull rushed and ended up flat on his back causing pressure at Josh McCown's feet and another where he gave up a quarterback hit on a bull rush. He also reacted late on a blitz pick-up one other time.
Obviously, nobody graded out well in the running game with the backs combining to average less than two yards per carry. Johnson had a couple of good blocks on runs that didn't gain much yardage, but was stood up at the point of attack a couple of times.
With Nick Mangold's durability issues over the past few seasons, the main thing Johnson seems to have provided the Jets with is stability so it is probably early to advocate for a change at the position. Jonotthan Harrison hadn't been particularly impressive whenever he got a chance to replace him, anyway.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins may only have accounted for 29 yards this week, but his contributions played a big role in keeping the Jets ticking.
His go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter looked easy and the obvious size mismatch against a safety illustrates how he can create some mismatches in the red zone this season:
Aside from the touchdown, Seferian-Jenkins also contributed two nice third down conversions, one of which saw him make a tough diving catch on a play where fullback Lawrence Thomas almost deflected the pass, thinking it was intended for him in the flat.
As a blocker, Seferian-Jenkins didn't have as much impact this week as he did last week and put the team in a hole with a holding penalty on their second possession. However, he had a good block on a screen pass.
There was also a play where he initially allowed his man to stand him up and drive him back a couple of yards at the line but he showed good strength to regain control of the block and allow Elijah McGuire to get around the edge and upfield for some positive yardage. James Carpenter was also driven back on the same play, so McGuire had to try to bounce it outside but then would have been blown up for an even bigger loss had Seferian-Jenkins not managed to recover and reanchor.
That's 15 catches in three games for Seferian-Jenkins. Hopefully he can raise his yards per catch average from the current level of seven yards per catch. It would be good to see him get into the open field for some yards after the catch in the games ahead.
What's the best way to open a Jah?
McGuire didn't have much success in Sunday's game, but it's still an interesting one to review, especially because of his bigger role in this game and perhaps the next one too in light of the injuries to Bilal Powell and Matt Forté.
McGuire rushed for just 20 yards on 11 carries with only one of those plays going for more than four yards. He gained seven on a play where he made a nice cut in the hole.
It's difficult to blame him for this lack of production because there simply wasn't any running room.
His best offensive play saw him set up the Seferian-Jenkins touchdown with an 11-yard gain on a dump-off. He did well at the end of the run to slip past a defender and fall forwards to get the first down.
McGuire's other catch saw him stumble and fall on a screen pass, losing a yard. He looked to have some room to run on that one.
They looked for him one other time on a third down play where he was isolated in the slot against a linebacker and he did an excellent job of faking outside and then breaking back to the inside to gain some separation. Unfortunately, the pass protection didn't hold up for long enough and McCown threw too far out in front of McGuire as he was hit by a blitzing defender. Had McCown hit McGuire in stride, that could have gone for big yardage too, but it was at least a missed opportunity to convert on third down.
With Powell out, McGuire was called upon to pass protect several times and perhaps could have done a better job of bracketing Garrett on the play where he recorded his second sack:
On one other play, he allowed his man to beat him outside for a pressure, but otherwise did a decent job in pass protection.
If McGuire is to have an extended role on Sunday and going forwards, his all-round skill-set will serve him well, but the Jets will need to block better if he's going to generate good statistical production.
PREVIOUSLY: 3-on-D: Wilkerson, Adams, M. Williams