Suffice to say, the New York Jets have an absurd amount of holes to patch up to prevent their ship from sinking before the calendar flips to October.
Missed tackles are an enormous problem
For the second consecutive week, Gregg Williams‘ defense has embarrassed itself when trying to finish tackles.
According to Pro Football Focus’ tracking, the Jets led the NFL in missed tackles last week with 16. This week, they whiffed on 13, tied for second-most. With 44 tackles converted, they posted a chronic miss rate of 22.8%, second-worst of the week behind only Pittsburgh’s 22.9%. That’s even worse than their Week 1 rate of 21.1% (16 missed / 60 made), which was third-worst of the week.
Altogether, through two games, the Jets are tied with the Chiefs for an NFL-worst 29 missed tackles defensively. New York’s miss rate of 21.8% barely trails Kansas City’s league-worst 22.3%.
What is frightening for the Jets is that this issue has been unit-wide. It’s not a couple of players that are dragging the numbers down – everybody is sputtering. The Jets have had an NFL-high 15 players credited with at least one missed tackle.
However, Blessuan Austin has been the biggest culprit, missing three tackles in each game for a team-leading total of six that is also tied for the NFL lead. With his length, power, and aggressive mindset, Austin’s tackles pop off the screen when he converts them, but his head-first, diving tackling technique leads to a ton of whiffs and needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible. Austin is loaded with potential both as a downhill player and in coverage, but if he continues to miss tackles at this rate, all of that upside will be for naught, and another benching from Gregg might be on the way.
Marcus Maye also had three missed tackles against the 49ers, a rough downturn after his exciting season opener. Positively, Bradley McDougald and Brian Poole have finished well – McDougald has made 14 tackles without a single miss while Poole has made 13.
With the shortened offseason and no preseason, tackling was considered to be an aspect of the game where players around the league might need some time to get back up to speed. That has not seemed to be the case, as the leaguewide miss rate thus far has been 14.5%, basically identical to 2019’s 14.8%. The Jets have just been flat-out blowing it in this department, which is surprising considering they fared well with the league’s 11th-lowest miss rate last season (14.1%).
Adam Gase wasted the offensive line’s first down success
The Jets offensive line did a great job of creating successful runs on first down to put the Jets ahead of the chains, but on second down, Adam Gase’s baffling decision-making put the line’s impressive efforts to waste.