Michael Nania lists the New York Jets’ best and worst players against the Denver Broncos, and stacks up the roster according to each player’s impact on the team’s performance to date.
Each week this season, I will be laying out my picks for the Jets’ best and worst-performing players from their previous game – but with a twist. Each player listed as a “stud” will receive a positive score ranging from 1 (solid) to 5 (dominant) based on their impact level, while each player listed as a “dud” will receive a negative score ranging from -1 (below average) to -5 (horrendous). The sum of all players’ scores will be equal to the Jets’ scoring margin from the game.
As the season progresses, we will get an increasingly good look at each player’s contribution to the team’s success (or lack thereof) up to that point.
Here are my studs and duds from the Jets’ 37-28 loss to the Broncos. The Jets lost by 9 points, so the scores below add up to -9. At the end of the piece is a ranking of the season-long scores for each player, showcasing the team’s most valuable and most detrimental players on the year.
Kalen Ballage: -2
Ballage was brutal in pass protection, yielding three pressures (one of those a sack) over 11 snaps in protection. The Jets were obviously less than fond of his performance as they cut him four days after the game (likely to avoid hitting the criteria for the conditional seventh-round pick sent to Miami in the trade for Ballage).
Pierre Desir: -2
Despite two interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown, Desir was still a net negative. He allowed 8-of-9 passing in his direction for 134 yards, two touchdowns, three additional first downs, and one interception (the other interception was intended for Brian Poole‘s man).
Lamar Jackson: -2
The undrafted rookie was tossed into action after Blessuan Austin‘s injury and made some brutal mistakes. He was victimized on two huge plays late in the fourth quarter. With the Jets up by one and 4:11 on the clock, Jackson allowed a 31-yard completion to Tim Patrick on a 3rd & 7 play, putting the Broncos in position for the eventual go-ahead field goal. On the first play following the two-minute warning with the Jets looking to pick up three run stuffs and get the ball back down by two, Jackson overpursued and compromised the edge, allowing a game-sealing 43-yard touchdown run to Melvin Gordon.
The interior trio struggled a bit in pass protection, with Lewis yielding five pressures, McGovern also giving up five, and Van Roten allowing four. It should be noted that a few of those would not have happened if Darnold got the ball out quicker when receivers were open. The group also struggled in the run game, as Jets running backs were given only 0.7 yards before contact per carry on attempts through the A and B-gaps.
Henry Anderson: -3
Anderson continues to be silent, recording no pressures over 11 pass-rush snaps against Denver. He has one pressure over 35 pass-rush snaps since Week 2. While he did record a solid total of four pressures in Week 1, they were meaningless pressures, as Anderson usually overpursued and allowed Josh Allen to escape the pocket. The Jets should bench Anderson and spread his snaps among younger players such as John Franklin-Myers, Kyle Phillips, and Nathan Shepherd.
Chris Herndon: -3
Herndon finished the game with one catch on three targets for 11 yards over 36 receiving snaps. He had a brutal drop on a wide open checkdown as the Jets were attempting to drive for the lead late in the fourth quarter.
Through four games, Herndon has caught 11-of-19 targets for 74 yards and four first downs, averaging a disappointing 18.5 yards and 1.0 first down per game. He owns dismal averages of 6.7 yards per reception and 3.9 yards per target. While I do think Herndon’s production has been severely hampered by Sam Darnold failing to get him the ball when open on a sizable number of plays, Herndon has not done his part to earn Darnold’s trust, recording two blatant drops and a fumble.
Herndon was missed by Darnold quite frequently from Weeks 1-3, but in Week 4, he was not creating much separation and was rarely open downfield.
However, Herndon did have some solid blocks in the run game and looks improved in that facet.
Sam Darnold: -4
Despite an incredible touchdown run in the first quarter, Darnold had himself another game in which he was the team’s most detrimental player on offense. He looked at and passed on numerous wide open targets, showing an extreme lack of confidence. For the third time in four games, he was very inaccurate, posting an adjusted completion percentage (accounts for drops, throwaways, etc.) of 60.0% that was his worst since the Week 7 debacle against New England last year.
Conor McDermott: -5
Although McDermott was tagged with four pressures allowed, a poor but less-than-awful number over 43 protection snaps, he was at least somewhat involved in giving up many more than just the four. Bradley Chubb finished the game with 10 pressures, three more than his previous career-high and the most of any NFL defender in Week 4. Chubb recorded all 10 of his pressures over 34 pass-rush snaps from the defense’s right side, mostly opposite McDermott (Edoga had 2 pass-block snaps and Becton had 12).
In addition, the Jets picked up just seven yards over four carries (1.8 per carry) directed to the left side B and C-gaps, including zero yards before contact on those runs.