After each game, we've been highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll conclude today with the defense:
That Quinnen Feeling
Quinnen Williams continues to come off the bench and didn't really light up the stat sheet with just two tackles and a pass defensed, but he's starting to show signs that he's finding more and more ways to have an impact.
Williams impressed with his ability to read his keys on this play. As the left guard pulls and the center slides across to seal Williams at the point of attack he gets out ahead of that to shoot into the backfield and blow the play up for a loss:
He also impressed on a goal line stuff where he stood up his man at the point of attack, kept his head up and shed the block so he could stop the runner from scoring. That came one snap after he had helped to bottle up the previous run that was right at him. However, he was controlled at the point of attack at the third down run broke the plane.
He didn't make any tackles in the second half, but started to make some impact as a pass rusher. On one play, he got upfield on Shaq Mason to get Tom Brady backpedaling as he threw to his running back on a play that went for a big loss. A few plays later, he lined up outside and beat Marcus Cannon with an arm-over move to force Brady to step up. He also burst into the backfield to bat down a pass.
Perhaps more importantly, Williams didn't have many negative plays. If he can start to make more and more of a positive impact over time, that should be a recipe for him to eventually become as dominant as expected.
CJ Mosley's return was supposed to restore the Jets' defense to its full glory, but New England chewed up nine minutes on the opening touchdown drive and Mosley didn't ultimately make much of an impact.
Of his three credited tackles, two came down the field on runs of 11 and nine yards, one of which saw him dragged for a few extra yards by the runner. His other credited tackle was an assist on Williams' goal line stop and he also was in on one other run stuff that saw the Jets accept a holding penalty instead.
Mosley did a decent job in coverage, though, allowing just 22 yards on six targets, with all 22 yards coming on one play. That play was worrying though because it was the kind of blown coverage the Jets were expecting to eradicate when Mosley returned:
This play is particularly interesting because the Jets are running a zero blitz of the kind New England terrorized the Jets with. If you're wondering how the Jets could have succeeded against such a defense, here's your answer.
The Patriots didn't pick up the rush perfectly, because Steve McLendon comes unblocked with immediate pressure. However, Brady is able to identify the mistake immediately and get rid of the ball. Had there been no mistake, he'd have simply thrown it away.
The assumption is that Mosley either should have dropped off to the flat or directed the defense so that someone else could do so. Blake Cashman hesitates momentarily but then opts to go with the slot receiver, perhaps because Jamal Adams shouldn't have rushed if Mosley was. And if Cashman goes with the back, Brady probably hits the slot guy instead. Any attempt Mosley could make to recover out to the flat is scuppered by the guard grabbing hold of him which is unlikely to be flagged because it's away from the ball.
While he didn't make any other obvious mistakes, Mosley looked noticeably slow in pursuit on multiple plays and it was obvious he didn't have the burst he began the season with, so clearly he isn't close to 100 percent. Sure enough, the Jets sound like they have basically shut him down and you wonder when (and if) we'll see him again this season.
In the end, Mosley was quietly taken out during garbage time and the Jets moved Brandon Copeland to the Mike linebacker role and had him wearing the headset. Clearly they don't trust the rookie Blake Cashman to do this yet.
Phillips Seen More Often
Kyle Phillips basically played Henry Anderson's role in this game, as he played over 50 snaps and 12 more than his fellow rookie Williams. He was productive against the run but less so as a pass rusher.
Phillips was credited with seven tackles, including four on runs that were stuffed for no gain and one other that went for a short gain. He also made a third down stop on a short pass shy of the marker to force a punt.
What was impressive about Phillips in the running game was that he was doing a job of cleanly shedding blocks to get in on the tackle, although he did much of this damage against tight ends. On this play, he did it against Mason though.
In terms of the pass rush, Phillips only really got close to Brady once, forcing him to step up as he got pressure off the edge. He also had an effective bull rush on the play where Leonard Williams' pressure led to a Trumaine Johnson interception.
With Henry Anderson back at practice yesterday, will we still see Phillips getting reps or will his playing time fall off and see him employed in more of a situational role? If it's the latter, he should probably get more reps in run stopping situations for the time being.
Previously: 3-on-O: Harrison, Edoga, Bell