Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Brian Poole, and Bryce Huff were among the New York Jets’ defensive studs in their Week 4 loss to Denver.
Bryce Huff saw a jolt in playing time and showed promise
Gregg Williams was quick to give Huff a major uptick in snaps after the rookie looked solid over a mere seven snaps in his NFL debut against the Colts.
Huff played 42 of the team’s 70 defensive snaps (60%) against Denver, making some noise in his first extended action. He picked up two stuffs in the run game, two pressures, and stopped a third down screen pass short of the line of scrimmage.
Brian Poole was in peak form
Poole was excellent in coverage on a night where the secondary was shredded by first-time starter Brett Rypien, allowing the first-time starter to post an impressive 7.8 net yards per attempt (equal to Seattle’s fifth-ranked average this season).
When targeting Poole, Rypien completed 2-of-4 passes for 20 yards, one first down, and two interceptions. One of those picks was snagged by Poole, and the other was by Pierre Desir as he undercut a throw intended for DaeSean Hamilton, who was covered by Poole on the play.
Poole also continued to finish tackles well, recording his fourth straight game without being credited for a miss. His season total of 22 tackles without a miss is more than triple that of any other player on the Jets.
Feast or famine for Pierre Desir
There will never be another day in history where we hear Joe Buck mention the name “Pierre Desir” as much as we did last night.
Desir was everywhere on Thursday night, in ways both good and bad. On the plus side, he snagged a pair of picks, one of which he took to the house for six. However, Desir was mostly bad otherwise. Overall, he allowed 8-of-9 passing in his direction for 134 yards, two touchdowns, three additional first downs, and one interception.
John Franklin-Myers is playing out of his mind
After an impressive first two games to begin his Jets career, Franklin-Myers broke through the ceiling with a dominant game against the Broncos. He racked up six pressures on only 19 pass-rush snaps, an incredibly fantastic pressure rate of 31.6% (position average: 7.4%).
On the season, Franklin-Myers now has 11 pressures (7th among interior defensive linemen) on just 47 pass-rush snaps (73rd). His pressure rate of 23.4% is currently the best among qualified IDL, way ahead of second-ranked Aaron Donald‘s 18.9%.
Of course, it’s a small sample size, but Franklin-Myers has been unstoppable so far. He is not merely lucking into right-place-right-time production – cleanup sacks, coverage sacks, deflections – he is destroying offensive linemen on a regular basis with outstanding technique. The Jets may have a keeper here.
Henry Anderson should probably see a slice in playing time
Clearly a poor fit in Williams’ defense from the very beginning of last season, Anderson hardly contributed anything in 2019 and is doing the same in 2020. He had no pressures over 11 pass-rush snaps against the Broncos and now has one pressure over 35 pass-rush snaps since Week 2.
Anderson’s production is not warranting his playing time and should see a slice in snaps. It looks like Williams is beginning to agree.
Anderson played only 20 snaps – 29% of the team’s defensive plays – against Denver. That is his lowest total as a Jet, save for a game he was pulled out of due to injury and another that he left early since it was Week 17 and the team wanted to give some other players a look. The previous week against Indianapolis, Anderson played 40% of the snaps (23 total), his second-lowest portion as a Jet up to that point.
Nathan Shepherd was a healthy inactive against Denver after struggling to start the season. Perhaps it makes sense to give Shepherd another chance by throwing some of Anderson’s snaps his way. Or, the Jets could boost Franklin-Myers’ role even more. Franklin-Myers has played 44%, 36%, and 44% of the defensive snaps in his first three games, respectively. His performance warrants a snap count in the neighborhood of Quinnen Williams’ portion this season, 64%.
Quinnen Williams was far better than most realize
Williams probably received a lot of vitriol for his two penalties against Denver, but those should not take away from an excellent outing in which he was as omnipresent as he was in his breakout game against San Francisco two weeks ago – perhaps even more so.
In addition to his three stops in the run game for gains of one yard or less, Williams collected a season-high four pressures, a total that does not include the two plays (1 QB hit, 1 sack) he was penalized on. It’s worth noting that the roughing the passer call on Williams’ quarterback hit was a highly questionable one (although his facemask penalty on the sack was undeniable).
On the season, Williams has seven pressures over 85 pass-rush snaps for a pressure rate of 8.2%, slightly above the 2020 positional average of 7.3% and a notable improvement over his 2019 rate of 5.8%. He also has eight run stops (tackles that constitute a poor result for the offense) over 72 run defense snaps for a rate of 11.1%, well above the positional average of 6.8% and a few ticks higher than his 2019 average of 8.9%.
This is Williams’ second strong game in the past three weeks, with a quiet trip to Indianapolis (against the great Quenton Nelson) sandwiched between them. Playing at this high of a level in half of his games is excellent. The key for Williams is raising his floor – what does he do when he is not locked-in?. Silent performances like the ones he had in Buffalo and Indianapolis will drop him from a dominant player to a solid one. If he can manage to be decent rather than completely absent in his worst games, he will be on his way to fulfilling his sky-high potential.