Michael Nania lists the New York Jets’ best and worst players against the New England Patriots, 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’ 30-27 loss to the Patriots. The Jets lost by 3 points, so the scores below add up to -3.
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.
Blessuan Austin: -1
Despite a few nice tackles and a pass breakup on a deep shot, Austin came up small in a huge spot late in the game. With 5:39 to go in the fourth quarter and the Jets leading by seven, Cam Newton threw an incomplete pass on third-and-10, but it was wiped out by an Austin holding penalty on the intended receiver (Jakobi Meyers), turning the tide of the game. In addition to the holding penalty, Austin allowed three first down receptions over eight official targets for a true total of four firsts allowed over nine targets. Joe Blewett went in-depth on the nuances behind Austin’s struggles in the game.
Bryce Huff: -1
Huff lost contain on a read-option play in the red zone and allowed Newton to rumble in for a touchdown, and was also knocked off the ball a few times in the run game.
As a pass-rusher, Huff had one hurry over 10 pass-rush snaps, which isn’t a terrible rate, but that play was not an impactful one (a relatively long-developing pressure on a stunt that Newton easily stepped up from). The handful of “wow” reps that Huff was producing per game over his first few appearances have not been there in recent weeks.
Of course, he is a 22-year-old undrafted rookie, so he deserves all of the slack in the world.
The roller-coaster ride that is Huff’s snap count took another steep drop this week. Huff played only 31% of the defensive snaps (25 total) after playing a season-high 70% (46 total) the previous week.
Arthur Maulet: -1
In his first defensive appearance of the season, Maulet yielded 3-of-3 passing for 25 yards and two first downs over just 17 snaps in coverage (28 total snaps).
Nathan Shepherd: -1
As per usual, Shepherd was a liability against the run. He was pancaked on an 11-yard Damien Harris run in the second quarter and was the primary culprit on Newton’s game-tying sneak in the fourth quarter. From the 2-technique position, he was blasted inside by the right guard, and Newton snuck his way in through the B-gap that Shepherd should have had covered.
Tarell Basham: -2
Basham picked up zero pressures over 25 pass-rush snaps.
Chuma Edoga: -4
Prior to Mekhi Becton‘s exit, the Jets had been averaging 5.3 yards per rush attempt with 37 yards on seven carries. After Becton was replaced by Edoga, they averaged 2.5 yards per attempt with 28 yards on 11 carries.
In the other phase, Edoga was knocked with three pressures and a holding penalty over just 19 protection snaps, which is atrocious.
He was not credited for it since Flacco should have gotten the ball out earlier, but Edoga was also beaten for a crucial sack on Flacco with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Despite the long amount of time from snap-to-sack on that play (4.0 seconds), Edoga lost the rep rather quickly as Deatrich Wise absorbed Edoga’s punch and then yanked him down to win the edge. The sack itself occurring was more so on Flacco, but it was still a bad rep by Edoga, and better protection would have prevented the sack even with Flacco’s bad pocket presence.
So, with three pressures, a holding penalty, and a sack with partial blame, that’s five bad plays in protection over 19 snaps, a 26.3% rate. That is downright awful. The sole reason Edoga does not get a minus-5 here is that he only played 31 offensive snaps.
Neville Hewitt: -4
Hewitt was the primary culprit in allowing the Patriots’ non-quarterbacks to rush for 143 yards on an efficient 4.6 yards per carry. He had three missed tackles against the run that each led to big extra chunks of yardage, and also took a few more poor angles in the run game.
Pierre Desir: -5
Desir allowed 6-of-7 passing in his direction for 115 yards and four first downs. He has allowed the fifth-most total yards (491) among cornerbacks this season. Out of 76 qualified corners, Desir has allowed the fourth-most yards per cover snap (1.77).
Alex Lewis: -5
Lewis has become the clear weakest link on the starting offensive line. Over just 28 protection snaps against the Patriots, Lewis allowed four pressures, three of which were knockdowns. He has allowed the second-most pressures (25) among guards this season and has the fourth-worst pressure rate allowed (8.7%) out of 76 qualifiers.
In the run game, Lewis was the most frequent culprit on unproductive plays. He struggled mightily to pick up linebackers, whether it be at the second level or on a run blitz. On the front side of outside zone plays, he was unable to either create lateral movement or pin his man to the backside, consistently allowing his man to control the point of attack.
We have nine players in the “studs” section this week, by far the most of the season!