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:
Brian Winters has been under heavy scrutiny since signing a big contract extension during the offseason, especially since the team didn't seem to miss a beat when Dakota Dozier replaced him for a few games at the end of last season, and one this year.
Unfortunately, his performance yesterday once again left a lot to be desired.
Although this pass to Jeremy Kerley ended up with a successful completion, you can see how badly beaten he was:
He also was involved in two plays where the Jets messed up how they dealt with a stunt. In each case, Winters passed his man off to his teammate and picked up the other man, but his teammate didn't react in time and Winters' original man had a clean run at the quarterback.
In each case you have to have some sympathy with Winters because it could be a case where he's the experienced player who knows what to do in those situations but his less experienced teammate let him down. One mix-up, with Wesley Johnson, caused the pocket to collapse, while the other, with Brandon Shell, led to a costly sack.
Winters otherwise held up well in pass protection but also had some bad plays in the running game. In particular he made a couple of mistakes when the Jets got down to the goal line, leading to two runs being stuffed.
On the first play, the offensive line created a huge lane for the running back apart from Winters who allowed his man to penetrate into the backfield and slow up the runner long enough that they were able to fill the running lane:
Then, on the next play, he was stood up and pushed back, leaving the runner no room to get into the endzone.
Winters had a couple of good run blocks including one where he aggressively drove his man off the line and into the turf, following up by diving on top of him and slamming him into the ground again, which seemed excessive and possibly even worthy of a flag.
Still, a nasty streak is something at least. He sorely needs to couple that with some consistency though.
Robby Anderson's performance has been the source of much debate. He caught a respectable four passes for 76 yards, with three of those plays going for first downs. However, he was targeted unsuccessfully eight times and came close to making a few big plays that would have turned his performance into a breakout one.
Let's focus first on what he did achieve. He ran a great route to lose his defender on a post-corner for a big gain, raced up the sideline with a dump-off pass, went to ground for a tough low catch and made this clutch play on fourth down:
In terms of the plays he didn't make, they included two where they looked for him in the end zone twice but Josh McCown overthrew him each time on a fade to the back pylon. He looked for him again on a similar route but opted to check down later on.
There was also a couple of deep shots, including one that he nearly came down with, and a wide throw to the sideline which saw him unable to make a diving grab as he got two hands to the ball.
Anderson also came under fire for his route on the interception by Malcolm Butler, who jumped in front of him on a throw to the sideline. In defense of Anderson, McCown seemed to read the fact that he didn't have a step on Butler and threw it to his back shoulder but Anderson continued his route as if he expected it further upfield. Hopefully that's a fixable chemistry issue and they will be on the same page the next time they're in that situation.
It's difficult to know whether to be frustrated at these missed opportunities or excited that he was so close to a few more big plays and some monster numbers. Hopefully, it's the latter because Anderson has come a long way in a year and the fact he's producing anything with a player of Butler's caliber on him is impressive.
Brandon Shell has had worse games for the Jets than the one he had on Sunday in terms of his consistency from play to play and series to series. However, he had some damaging breakdowns in this one.
They included two costly fourth quarter sacks, one where he was driven back by Dont'a Hightower and the other being the play mentioned earlier where he dealt badly with a stunt:
He also gave up a few other pressures and they all seemed to be at key moments. He reacted too late to a cornerback blitz off the edge on fourth down, more or less shoving the player towards the quarterback. Another late reaction led to a quarterback hit and he was easily beaten around the edge for a pressure.
Shell didn't have much success in the running game either. He got stood up on one play, allowing his man to shed his block and stuff the run. Another saw him whiff on an attempted cut block that allowed his man to bottle up another run. Finally, he let his man get off his block at the point of attack one more time, although this time he missed the tackle.
As if all that wasn't bad enough, he also got flagged for illegal hands to the face.
Shell has terrific potential and looks great going downhill but he's pressing at the moment, especially on key plays. Maybe the Jets should consider Ben Ijalana for a few starts there to see if matters improve. They're paying him $6 million this year to gather dust, after all. In fact, if he does well, maybe you can trade Ijalana, save some money and pick up an asset.
PREVIOUSLY: 3-on-D: Lee, Ealy, Skrine