Isaiah Crowell
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The strategy takeaways from the New York Jets 17-0 preseason Week 1 victory over the Atlanta Falcons are extremely intriguing.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY—Let’s get one thing straight from the word go: the preseason does, indeed, matter. While Todd Bowles would never unveil his specific Week 1 Detroit Lions gameplan on the Atlanta Falcons during the preseason, strategy in terms of offensive sets and defensive looks do count.

Tendencies are important to review in August.

For instance, Bill Belichick won’t unveil a brand new look or original blitz scheme during any of his preseason games. He sure will showcase some of the sets in which those schemes will be unleashed for coaches need and want their players to get used to certain sets and formations during the grueling summer month of August.

As it pertains to Bowles and Jeremy Bates, a few major things stood out from the New York Jets 17-0 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night.

The Outside Zone Running Scheme & Broncos Ties

This one was incredible to watch on Friday night. Save for a few rushes and quarterback scrambles, every single one of the Jets 32 rush attempts came in the form of an outside zone run.

It was C-gap and wider all night long.

Whether it was Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell or rookie speedster Trenton Cannon, Rick Dennison’s stretch was the name of the game as it pertained to rushing the football. As Brian Winters told Elite Sports NY earlier in the week, it’s clear that this O-line and the overall personnel of the offense favors the quicker zone-scheme style that intends to stretch the defense.

Don’t focus too much on the porous 2.3 yards per carry (32 rushes for 75 yards). The O-line did its job in the first half. The average dwindled to 2.3 in the second once the Falcons loaded the box and the Jets obliged in running out the clock.

More importantly, the zone-blocking stretch was used in conjunction with the hard play-action boot—very similar to the Mike Shanahan offense the Denver Broncos showcased two decades ago and then again recently under Gary Kubiak. The stretch is used to really draw that edge defender down to allow the quarterback nice looks out of the boot.

Though Jeremy Bates is the clear play-caller, it’s absolutely clear Rick Dennison has influenced this offense to a sound degree.

Jeremy Bates Loves The Empty Look

The other offensive takeaway is a Bates special. He loves going with those empty looks. In fact, the Jets must have used the empty look over 10 times on Friday night with at least three or four coming on critical third and short plays.

The Teddy Bridgewater to Isaiah Crowell touchdown on third-and-four came out of a no-back look.

Bates loves the empty 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) look, especially in third-and-short situations.

Single-High With A Very Aggressive Secondary

This one isn’t a huge surprise as Todd Bowles started to tip his hand last year with this one. In having the incredibly versatile Jamal Adams and excellent centerfielder in Marcus Maye, the single-high look has become a Jets defense special.

Though it’s true the single-high has already taken over the two-high look in the NFL in recent years due to the dink-and-dunk nature of the league, the way the Jets attack things reminds many of the Legion of Doom.

Maye plays centerfield the way Earl Thomas does (just not to that Hall of Fame level). Adams roams the field in the box in a nasty, much quicker way than Kam Chancellor did. And the two corners own each’s deep-third while playing extremely aggressive at the line of scrimmage.

The look screams to the quarterback “throw the ball deep” yet he knows it’s never that simple against such a stout secondary.

Should Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne hold their end of the aggressive deep-third bargains, watch out. This secondary just might be a top three or five unit.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]