Michael Nania lists the New York Jets’ best and worst players against the Miami Dolphins, and stacks up the roster according to each player’s impact on the team’s performance to date.
Studs and duds + season-long roster rankings:
Week 2 vs. San Francisco 49ers
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’ 24-0 loss to the Dolphins. The Jets lost by 24 points, so the scores below add up to -24.
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.
Jordan Jenkins: -1
Only one pressure for Jenkins over 13 pass-rush snaps. He also contributed to just one tackle against the run (it was for a gain of three yards) over 15 snaps in that phase. Jenkins was knocked with a roughing the passer call, too, but it was somewhat fluky as he inadvertently hit Ryan Fitzpatrick in the head as he dropped for a slide at the last moment.
Not a disastrous performance by any means, but a quiet one for the Jets’ most-used edge rusher with 34 snaps (61%).
Lamar Jackson: -2
Jackson only played 18 defensive snaps (32% of team’s defensive plays), including only nine in coverage, but in that short time, he allowed a three-yard touchdown to Preston Williams in one-on-one coverage on a slant. It was very poor coverage, as Jackson had the advantage with inside leverage, but Williams sold the fade route tremendously, and Jackson bit hard on it.
Connor McGovern: -2
McGovern was not able to build on his great performance against the Cardinals. He had a handful of moments in which he reverted to some of his early-season struggles with awareness, allowing some unblocked pressures as he often failed to recognize blitzers and stunt loopers. McGovern tended to be too early to ditch his spot and help out elsewhere, sometimes failing to check for all potential threats before moving.
In addition, McGovern had a botched snap exchange with Flacco that turned a likely field goal attempt into a punt. McGovern snapped the ball as Flacco walked up to the line to make a change, and it bounced off of Flacco’s leg before he recovered it for a four-yard loss. No player on offense was anticipating a snap, so McGovern must have misunderstood something that Flacco said. Brutal mistake.
This was not a terrible game from McGovern. Miami challenged him greatly, placing a nose tackle over him for the majority of the game, and McGovern handled the unusually large diet of one-on-one reps quite well. In the run game, he was about his usual self – not great, not awful, but perfectly fine.
Vyncint Smith: -2
Smith only played five offensive snaps in his season debut, but he stood out on special teams, and not in a good way.
On a Braden Mann punt in Miami territory that dropped at the Dolphins’ five-yard line, Smith missed a chance to down the ball inside of the five, allowing it to bounce into the end zone for a touchback.
As the returner on one kickoff, Smith muffed the ball about two yards inside of the end zone, and it ended up rolling past the goal line, forcing him to return it, and he only reached the nine-yard line.
Smith also committed a holding penalty on the punt return unit that pushed the Jets from the 15-yard line (Braxton Berrios fair catch) to their eight-yard line.
Chuma Edoga: -3
Edoga was making a lot of mistakes in both phases. They just typically did not end up affecting the play, luckily enough for him. For example, he was beaten around the edge on four consecutive protection reps in the second quarter, each of which did not have a massive effect on the play due to Flacco getting the ball out before the pressure hit home. The Jets sent tight end help Edoga’s way on three of his ensuing four protection reps before pulling him for Conor McDermott due to a calf injury.
Although Pro Football Focus’ grading on him begs to differ, I don’t believe Edoga is all that much improved over last year.
Chris Herndon: -3
Herndon was not targeted over 17 routes run, continuing his stretch of incredibly abysmal production. Out of the 31 tight ends with at least 100 routes run this season, Herndon ranks 28th with an average of 0.78 yards per route run, collecting 98 yards (36th among TE) over 134 routes (17th).
Breshad Perriman: -3
While Perriman finished with a decent line – four catches on eight targets for 62 yards and three first downs – all of that production was in garbage time. He was essentially uncovered on two of those first down grabs. Prior to the fourth quarter, he had one catch on three targets for two yards. Perriman also had some bad moments as a run blocker.
Jeff Smith: -3
Smith had his second consecutive dud after a promising debut. He caught only 1-of-4 targets for eight yards and no first downs over 41 routes run, which made up 83.6% of the team’s 49 passing plays and placed him third on the team behind Perriman (45) and Jamison Crowder (47).
Flacco threw his lone interception of the game on a pass intended for Smith on a crossing route. The throw was behind Smith, but rather than come back to the ball and at least prevent the defender from making a play on it, Smith continued to run toward the sideline and float upfield.
Neville Hewitt: -4
Hewitt allowed two big completions to tight end Adam Shaheen. On Miami’s first touchdown of the game, Hewitt was completely absorbed by the play fake, allowing Shaheen to run into his area uncovered. Later, Hewitt was caught staring at the quarterback in his middle-of-the-field zone, failing to recognize and pick up the seam route by Shaheen going right by him, giving up a 43-yard bomb.
Hewitt also took some poor angles against the run to allow productive plays, as did his running mate.
Avery Williamson: -4
Williamson was tagged with allowing 8-of-8 passing for 79 yards and four first downs. In the run game, he looked like a shell of his peak self, often making poor decisions or being duped by eye candy to allow open running lanes.
While Williamson can still be considered a serviceable starter, he is not the difference-maker he once was. He looks like a near-lock to be cut after the season. Perhaps he could be dangled as trade bait over the next few weeks.
Blake Cashman is back healthy and waiting for an opportunity to build off of his 2019 rookie season. After going down very early in the season opener, Cashman returned against Miami but only played on special teams. The Jets need to give him the opportunity to audition for a long-term starting role. Whether Williamson is dealt or not, benching him (or Hewitt) for Cashman is the sensible move for the team’s future.
The dilemma on this team regarding forward-thinking moves like promoting Cashman is that the coaching staff is likely not all that eager to sacrifice perceived present-day value for the sake of long-term evaluation. Most of the staff will likely be gone after this season unless they can start rattling off victories, and even if they do not win enough to return, they need to build their résumés to impress future employers.
Thus, Adam Gase and Gregg Williams are most likely focused on playing the players who they believe help the team win today, and rightfully so. It’s a highly unfortunate predicament for the current team’s viewing appeal and the franchise’s long-term health, but from the perspective of the staff, it is understandable that they are probably unwilling to further risk their own futures for the sake of developing players for a team they will almost certainly not be a part of beyond this year.
Regardless, Cashman will most likely get his chance at some point. Williams has shuffled players like a deck of cards throughout the first six games, quickly yanking anybody who hits a rough patch and giving their snaps to somebody more promising. Pierre Desir, Henry Anderson, Nathan Shepherd, and Alec Ogletree (who was cut) are among those that have seen dramatic slices to their playing time following poor performances.
Perhaps the Miami game prompts Williams to make a change at linebacker heading into this Sunday against Buffalo.
Joe Flacco: -5
Flacco was atrocious, completing 21-of-44 passes for 186 yards (an unsightly 4.2 per attempt), no touchdowns, and one interception (50.0 passer rating). With three sacks taken for 38 yards (28 of those on one sack!), Flacco averaged 3.2 net yards per attempt.
In Week 5, Flacco was better than his measly box score numbers suggested, but in this game, he was as bad as advertised. Flacco earned an 11.1 QBR, second-worst of the week, and a 32.6 overall Pro Football Focus grade, also second-worst (both marks ahead of only Baker Mayfield‘s performance at Pittsburgh).