After each game, we're going to highlight three defensive and three offensive players and look in detail at their performance. We'll wrap up today with the offense:
Okay, so maybe we're not going to highlight three offensive players this week, since so many of you wanted us to touch on Jeremy Bates and his offense.
As we've discussed at length, the offense was overly conservative and whenever they did try to come up with a big play, it tended to be through deception rather than just taking a shot and trusting your talent to beat their talent.
The offense leaned heavily on two staple plays, the outside zone run and the wide receiver screen. Inevitably, this leads to the defense starting to anticipate those plays and enables you to work in some tendency breakers to exploit that, but the Jets failed to do this effectively.
The toss plays could have set up a fake toss where Sam Darnold runs a bootleg, or a running back option pass or some kind of counter run. The receiver screens could have enabled the blocker to allow his man to beat the block and then leak downfield or perhaps set up a fake throw and then a delayed draw up the middle. Maybe the Jets will work in some of these tendency-breakers next week, but the Jaguars now have plenty of time to anticipate that.
Bates opened the game with another tendency breaker when he ran a throwback screen off the sail concept which they like to use. Even though they haven't necessarily had much success running that concept so far, this idea actually worked, but poor execution doomed it to fail.
As you can see, the Jets have five blockers against four defenders because the rest of the defense flows to their left anticipating the familiar sail concept action. Unfortunately, Denzel Ward knifes through everyone and makes a clean open field tackle:
If Ward reads that a beat late, Herndon breaks the tackle or one of the offensive lineman on the left side reacts and picks up Ward in space, this is a potential touchdown and maybe Bates gets plaudits for his play design.
Robby Anderson's slow start is something which is tied in closely with Bates' offense. The Jets aren't taking many downfield shots and Anderson isn't getting many targets. His snap count is also down, as he's averaging just 43 snaps a game, a number he exceeded in all but three games last year.
Anderson isn't going to find himself getting more opportunities if he keeps fumbling the ball away as he has once in each of the last two games, but this may be something that's more likely to happen if he isn't getting regular touches and isn't into the rhythm of the game. Teams will actively be trying to strip the ball from him now, too.
In Thursday night's game, Anderson wasn't targeted at all in the first half. Eventually, Darnold had a third quarter throw to him near the sideline which he caught but came down out of bounds. His first catch was on the play where he turned upfield for a 17-yard gain but then lost the ball and his only other catch was a short pass on the outside for five yards.
The only downfield shot to Anderson was more or less a Hail Mary pass, as Darnold was intercepted late in the game. Some criticized Anderson for not making a play on the ball, but he was completely boxed out by the cornerback in front of him as he turned back to look for the ball at the top of his route.
There was one play where they perhaps tried to set up a deep ball to him in the first quarter. Anderson ran a stop-go move which seemed to fool the defender and give him deep separation, while Terrelle Pryor had similar success with an out-and-up on the other side. Unfortunately, the protection didn't hold up and Darnold was sacked as he stepped up.
You have to wonder why they need to run a double move for Anderson to get open, though. He had several big plays last year where he just got a clean release at the line and ran past a defender to get open - even against some quality starters. Forget letting Sam be Sam, Bates needs to let Robby be Robby.
The other aspect of this is Robby's obvious frustration with his role and his production. If that manifests itself in a determination to succeed, that's healthy - unless you risk losing the ball while fighting for extra yardage. Conversely, if it manifests itself in poor body language and a lack of effort on some plays, then that's not going to inspire the Jets to look for him more.
Due to his lack of size, Anderson will probably never be a plus blocker, but he's capable of better effort than he gave on the game's first play, which should have been a bigger gain.
To Anderson's credit, he did make a couple of good blocks, notably on one of the receiver screens to Enunwa and one of Crowell's touchdowns. However, as his frustration built, he had another disappointly lazy effort late in the game.
THIS WHOLE CARP
Most fans are disappointed with James Carpenter's performance so far this season. He's been inconsistent in the running game, has given up more pressure than the other four starting linemen and is one of just two offensive players with multiple penalties.
However, the Browns game was actually his best performance so far this season. After giving up a lot of pressure in the Miami game, Carpenter didn't get beaten at all, only allowing his man to collapse the pocket once in the first quarter. While the Jets' quick passing and early running game success was a factor in mitigating the interior pressure, this is still a positive sign.
Carpenter had good success at the point of attack in this game, sealing his man off or opening a lane on four separate occasions and only allowing penetration to blow up a run once.
He was less effective in space though, although he had one good block on a screen pass. On one second quarter series, he whiffed on his block at the second level completely and then on the very next play, he locked onto his block but allowed his man to drive him back into the hole to bottle up the run:
Carpenter had another false start in this game, which was on the drive where the Jets started off deep in their own territory and the four plays included two false starts and Anderson's lost fumble.
There are concerns that Carpenter - who is still in his twenties - is washed up or isn't a fit for the system, but he makes enough impact blocks that it's apparent he could have more success. He just needs to be more consistent, which is pretty much the case for the unit as a whole.
PREVIOUSLY: 3-on-D: Nickerson, Shepherd, McLendon