After each game, we've been highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll begin today with the offense:
Chuma Edoga got the start at right tackle for the second week in a row and again had mixed results. It was a tough match-up for him though, as Demarcus Lawrence lined up almost exclusively on the left, as he usually does.
Edoga surrendered a handful of pressures, mostly by Lawrence, but no hits or sacks. He was cleanly beaten outside and inside and also had a couple of plays where he initially made the block but then let his man fight off the block to generate pressure.
There was some signs that he is developing though, as he showed on a 3rd-and-13 in the fourth quarter.
Although, Lawrence basically wins this rep by creating separation with his initial punch and gaining leverage on Edoga's outside shoulder, Edoga responds in the correct manner with a counter punch, extending his arms and forcing Lawrence wider. This gives Sam Darnold room to step up as Edoga pushes Lawrence upfield. Although the pass is incomplete, at least this prevents the sack and it would have been interesting to see what happened if Darnold dumped it to Le'Veon Bell underneath.
In the running game, Edoga had a minimal impact and got blown up on a play that was stuffed at the goal line. It will be telling to see if he develops each week or if teams find ways to exploit him as his weaknesses become more apparent on film.
Assuming Edoga retains the starting role at right tackle, it will be interesting to see if he fares any better than Brandon Shell did in the first match-up with New England. That was a rough game for Shell.
Buy or Shell?
Some were questioning why Edoga wasn't moved to left tackle when Kelvin Beachum got injured, despite having played and practiced there extensively in preseason while Shell has only ever played on the right. However, in retrospect, it's probably because the Jets spent the entire week prepping Edoga for Lawrence and how they'd deal with him, both individually and as a unit. Moving Edoga to the left to face an in-form speed rusher in Robert Quinn with no dedicated prep time would have probably caused much more disruption than just replacing Beachum with Shell.
In the end, Shell did a decent job in place of Beachum, although he had two bad negative plays in pass protection in just under half a game.
On one, Quinn - who lined up in the neutral zone - got around him and drew a hold as Darnold had to take off and run. On the other, Quinn picked up the sack as Shell blocked down initially before realizing too late that Quinn was coming off the edge.
Shell made some good contributions in the running game this week with one driving downhill block and one good kick-out. He also showcased his athleticism on this wide receiver screen that went for a first down.
Of course, Shell was somewhat fortunate to get away with this one, as it could have been called a block in the back.
If Beachum - who Gase said is "week to week" with an ankle issue - will miss a start, the Jets have a few options. Plan A could have been putting Alex Lewis at left tackle and re-inserting Kelechi Osemele into the starting line-up, but that's obviously out with Osemele requiring surgery. We'll see what they do instead.
Robby Anderson came up big this week, with 125 receiving yards to almost match his output from the first four games. Of course, most of that came on his 92-yard touchdown where he showcased his speed to beat Chidobe Awuzie on a double move and blaze past the deep safety.
What you might not have noticed was the pre-snap communication between Darnold and Anderson that led to Darnold motioning for Crowder to motion from right to left so that Anderson was isolated on the right side of the field. He also "OMAHA'd" an audible at the line, perhaps ensuring that Ryan Griffin stayed in to block.
Anderson's other five touches generated 34 yards, but that included two key first downs in the second half. His route running was on point on this play, as he lined up in the slot, got the defender on his heels with a quick change of direction and was open for the back shoulder timing throw.
Anderson was unsuccessfully targeted three times, including one where he had both hands on the ball but Byron Jones knocked it away. He did also contribute a 20-yard gain by drawing a pass interference penalty.
In the first game against New England, Anderson was held to just 11 yards on three catches against Stephon Gilmore, who some experts are saying is the best cornerback in the NFL right now. Or, is it more accurate to say that he was held to those numbers by the limitations in the Jets' offensive personnel?
With Sam Darnold back in the fold, a solid output from Anderson on Sunday would prove something and set him up for a strong second half of the season.
We'll be back with the 3-on-D tomorrow.