For the New York Jets to have any chance whatsoever against the Oakland Raiders in Week 2, the offense must take what is given to them.
Only one professional football week in and the professional complaining out of the Big Apple is coming at us in full force.
- Why did they only run 15 times?
- What is wrong with Darron Lee?
- Where in the world was Leonard Williams?
- Why did they play with six offensive linemen so much?
- What in the world is Todd Bowles doing punting down nine with just four minutes to go in the contest?
Defensively, the theme was disastrous. Not only did second-year Darron Lee look completely lost, but stud Leonard Williams was nowhere to be found and anybody Todd Bowles plugged at the nose tackle spot was pushed back mercifully all game long.
Enter the Oakland Raiders, one of the better offenses in the land (ranked sixth in total yards a season ago).
We know Derek Carr and the boys will score on the Jets defense. It doesn’t matter how well Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye play on the backend. The Jets will relent at least 24 points on Sunday (probably 30-plus). Who’s going to cover Amari Cooper? Who’s going to slow down Marshawn Lynch behind one of the better offensive lines in the league?
What this means is the Jets offense will need to score points if New York is to have any shot of competing.
Against Buffalo, we looked at the porous offensive line and its terrible job against the Bills front seven. Even with six big heavies in the game, they couldn’t block efficiently. Part of the reason is that this O-line plain stinks. The other part of it comes down to this offense constantly facing a loaded box.
In the loss, the Bills literally played eight in the box on almost every play. They were daring Josh McCown and the weapons to attack downfield.
The Jets wouldn’t take the bait.
Instead of attempting to go downfield to loosen up the defense, John Morton tried his very best to remain balanced. He rushed the ball while mixing in many short designed passing plays. This, obviously, failed with flying colors. When the defense is playing so aggressively, it’s going to be tough to pick up three or four yards.
The only remedy was to take what the Bills gave them and what they gave them was the downfield passing game.
The second offensive play of the game for the Jets, Morton called a power to the right with right guard Brian Winters pulling:
Matt Forte went for one yard. It set up a tougher 3rd-and-6.
Naturally, after passing on first down, the offense would be tempted in sneaking a rushing play in there to get one under the O-line’s belt. But this shouldn’t be the case.
Look at the Bills defensively on this play. Not only are there eight in the box, but both corners are in a press look. It’s a recipe for an intermediate passing play every time and especially a recipe for a four verts call to challenge a probable Cover 3 look.
On the very next drive after an Eric Tomlinson holding call created a 2nd-and-16, another running play was attempted. It was a quick B or C-gap hitter with Forte:
The mentality here is to pick up a nice chunk in order to make third down more manageable. When faced with a 2nd-and-16, the defense would most likely come out in a two-over look with a lighter box.
Not the Bills. Not on this day.
Look at the box. Again, eight in the box with one safety deep even in a 2nd-and-16. In this situation, any QB or offense worth a penny in the NFL would change the play to a five or seven-step drop.
Not the Jets.
Why, though? We all know McCown isn’t the greatest QB. We all know the weapons aren’t Pro Bowl bound. And we definitely all know this O-line isn’t the collection we see in Big D every Sunday. But this is still football. As bad as the O-line was in pushing the line and dictating terms against Buffalo, they did a solid job in pass protection.
Check out the video again. Notice who makes the tackle on Forte. It was safety Jordan Poyer who shot up to act as the eighth man in the box on a dominant passing down.
I don’t care if you have the best O-line in the history of the NFL. It’s tough to run in that situation.
This is why those fans who scream and yell about the Jets giving up on the run have no idea what they’re talking about.
The Jets averaged just 2.5 yards on the ground during Week 1 on 15 attempts. All of these attempts came against a tough run look provided by the Bills. If New York’s offense wanted to play competitively, they’d pass on every down and continue doing that until they finally find success and loosen up the Bills defense. Only then should they start the “balance” game again.
Offense in the NFL isn’t difficult. QBs pass against a heavy box and find the vulnerability in the run game against a light box. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is still trying to figure out how to beat NFL defenses who are constantly playing a two-deep look against his offense, for nobody is scared of Big Blue’s rushing attack.
New York’s offense ran 55 total plays. Here’s how the Bills defense looked on those plays:
- Showing 1-deep safety: 38 times
- Showing 2-deep safeties: 17 times
- Actually playing 2-deep safeties: 13 times
Over 69 percent of the time, the Bills showed a one-deep look. In fact, what they mainly love to do is take chances with the safeties. They’ll line up in a two-deep look but shoot the flat responsibility safety up with no regard for anything deep:
Did you see the safety shoot up to cover his flat responsibility? It’s completely absurd.
Although the Bills show two-deep, it’s a Cover 3 or Cover 1 man all the way. What’s absurd is the safety has no regard for being burnt on a wheel route. Equally absurd is the Jets mentality in not forcing the Bills hand into making sure the safety can’t shoot up that quickly without any regard for getting beat deep.
Adjustments need to be made in order to push the defense’s hand.
Strategy in the NFL is a chess match. The game of offense against defense is a matchup part of the game meant for minds to push the hand of the other and dictate terms of the game. Not once did the Jets offense have the heavier hand over the Bills defense.
Instead of attempting to go downfield and loosen up this aggressive defense, the Jets seemed to be content in allowing an average to poor attack to showcase itself all day long.
Whether that’s Bowles’s defensive mentality or Morton not trusting in McCown and/or the O-line remains to be seen. The only thing I know right now is if this mentaility continues in Week 2, a bloodbath in Oakland will be on everybody’s hands.