Know Your Enemy: Scouting the New York Jets


I’ve spent most of my free time over the past couple days scouting the Jets in preparation for this Sunday’s game. They are a tough team to get a handle on. Some weeks they dominate, in other the get dominated. There are some really wide swings in the quality of their play, making it tough to figure out exactly who they are as a team.

Oct 21, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) hands off the ball to running back Shonn Greene (23) during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Shonn Greene is an under rated runner, but he’s not used well by the Jets offense. Most of his carries are through the A gaps (between the center and guard); at least twice as many carries there as any other gap. While A gap runs tend to get a couple of yards reliably, it’s also the toughest gap to run through for big gains. It shows up in his stats. He’s averages just over 2 yards per rush in the A gaps, but right at 5 yards per rush in the B gaps (between the guard and offensive tackle). By forcing the runs in the center so often, the Jets are actually hurting their own offensive potential.

The passing game is as bad as advertised. Mark Sanchez has been a mess all season, but he also has very little little to work with. Losing Santonio Holmes means that the Jets have very little to work with on the outside. Rookie Stephen Hill should be good with time, but he’s suffering from the usual rookie WR problems.

Watching the game tape, I was quite surprised by Jeremy Kerley. The 5-9 receiver has a bit of Wes Welker in him, and will offer the Seahawks big challenge to try and cover. Perhaps this was why Walter Thurmond was activated early off the PUP list this week.

The offensive line remains the strength of the Jets offense. Nick Mangold is easily one of the best centers in the NFL, but he is currently hobbled by an ankle injury. There should be some concern for Jets fans with the injury. He simply didn’t look the same last week.

Defensively, the Jets aren’t as good as they think they are. Muhammad Wilkerson has been very good, and Quintin Coples is proving to be a very good compliment on the defensive line. Antonio Cromartie has played well, and he has to with Revis out for the year. Mike Devito, the 3rd member of the D line, is also having a good year.

The problem for the Jets is that the the rest of the defense is a collection of players who lack talent or are severely underperforming. The Jets coaches are forced to scheme up pressure and coverages to make up for the fact that individual players aren’t getting it done. When the schemes work, they win (or lose close games to good teams like the Patriots). When the schemes fail, they get get blown out.

The problem that I see, from a Seahawk’s viewpoint, is that the coaches coming up with these schemes are good at what they do. They find ways to bring pressure in a way that lets a guy come in free, without rushing more than 5 guys. They sell an all-out 8 man blitz then drop everyone off and only bring 2. It works, it’s effective, and it’s tough on young QBs and young offensive linemen.