Easy Pickings Against Jets Soft Secondary
East Rutherford, NJ- The Jets dropped their third straight game and the obvious storyline revolves around Geno Smith getting benched at halftime, but equally alarming is the way opposing offenses have figured out how to swiftly attack the Jets and slowly pick them off with simple unders, outs and hitches allowing them to move the ball downfield with great ease.
As dominating as the Jets front four can be at times teams have figured out they can negate the pass rush by using a ton of short, quick routes and it continues to work because Rex Ryan has had his corners giving opposing receivers extremely soft cushions.
As we’ve had to watch this unfold, really since the Steelers game, it’s hard to not scream and shout wondering why they continue to play off coverage so much, after all Rex Ryan is still the coach and he isn’t one to use a lot of soft coverages, but there’s a very obvious reason for why we are seeing so much of this. Ryan clearly doesn’t trust his corners to hold up in tight man coverage and after watching the secondary through 12 games it’s easy to understand why.
Ryan is so worried about his corners getting beat deep that he’s basically conceding the short yardage passes just hoping the defense will do that whole bend but don’t break thing. Clearly it’s not working as teams continue to identify the soft coverages and casually matriculate their way down field with simple, easy passes that completely negate the Jets pass-rush.
Ryan’s strategy is sound, if you’re biggest worry is making sure you don’t get beat deep then back off the receivers and make sure to keep everything in front of the secondary. This strategy has worked for many teams, including the Jets, in the past but the strategy is irrelevant if the execution isn’t there and this secondary has struggled to execute the simplest of things this season, like tackling for example.
“That was the biggest disappointment, without question. We know it was tough sledding. We hadn’t done anything offensively and you’re kind of hanging in there, holding onto that rope and you just have got to believe. You just got to get him on the ground. They hadn’t done anything. We knew we felt confident in what we were doing in the red zone and it’s like, they’re not in until they’re in. Your job is to prevent them from scoring and even if you give up a play, get the guy on the ground and that was unfortunate.” Ryan said, “We had on the first slant pass, they run a slant for 50 yards. You think again, there’s three guys (that) had a shot at him and that was certainly disappointed. And we missed another one, so the tackling was poor. I think that was without question my biggest disappointment.”
Antonio Cromartie had an interception, but he continued to get beat repeatedly. As soon as the receiver cut in, out or hit a comeback Ryan Tannehill knew exactly where to go because Cromartie just kept running. On the other side Dee Milliner wasn’t much better, the most frustrating part is Milliner seems to be getting closer (for the second straight game he dropped two interceptions), but when he has a breakdown it’s ugly.
“Again, I think, with Dee we have to know the situations and things. I think that’s what I was disappointed most, not just with Dee but others, you know, we tell you certain things for a reason and if you don’t do it, it just adds to the problem. ” Ryan said, “And again I’m not blaming the players, I look at me first. I have to do a much better job and that’s where I’ll start with.”
Everything certainly needs to get better, the simple game of pitch-and-catch has become far to easy for opposing offenses, but the problem is there just might not be an answer until the free agency and the draft.