Tarell Basham
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Michael Nania lists the New York Jets’ best and worst players against the Cleveland Browns 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:

Each week this season, I have been laying out my picks for the New York 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’ 23-16 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The Jets won by 7 points, so the scores below will add up to +7.


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.

Duds

Mekhi Becton: -1

Mekhi Becton settled in nicely after a rough start against Myles Garrett, and he generally played well in the run game throughout the afternoon. However, Becton was victimized by the freakish pass-rush star for two huge plays in the first half, allowing a sack in addition to a second play that should have been ruled a strip-sack. Becton also committed two false start penalties. In total, he allowed four pressures.

This was surely one of Becton’s worst games, but that’s hardly surprising considering the opponent he was facing. Garrett is a problem for any tackle, let alone a rookie. And yet, Becton still figured things out and had a relatively steady game – it’s just the two massive plays allowed in the first half that land him on this list. It’s remarkable that Becton continues to avoid having any truly awful performances.

Sam Darnold: -2

Sam Darnold has had far worse games this season, but he still was a net negative against Cleveland. He posted 4.7 net yards per attempt (ranking 28th of 33 qualified QBs in Week 16), a 37.1 raw QBR (26th), a 68.0% adjusted completion percentage (26th), and a 58.8 overall PFF grade (21st).

While Darnold had a nice stretch of efficient game management in the middle of the contest, he struggled with downfield accuracy, near-turnovers, and over-complacency near the start and finish. Overall, Darnold went 2 for 12 on passes over 10 yards downfield, completed only two passes that were caught beyond the first down marker, and tossed four throws that were very close to being intercepted, two of them hitting Browns defenders on the hands.

Pat Elflein: -2

Pat Elflein recorded a good bundle of nasty highlight-reel blocks, but those plays mask just how bad his overall consistency is. Elflein was knocked with allowing three pressures of his own, and he was actually in on far more than just those. Multiple times, Elflein’s man carried him into one of his teammates, preventing that teammate from blocking his own man and thus letting the defender reach the pocket untouched. Becton and Connor McGovern were victims of this.

George Fant: -2

George Fant continued his roller-coaster of a season with a rough game in protection against the Browns, giving up four pressures. He particularly struggled with Olivier Vernon, who led the game with eight pressures, seven of them coming when lined up on Fant’s side of the line.

Neville Hewitt: -2

Neville Hewitt notched a pair of pass deflections, but he still yielded four first downs and 91 yards in coverage over 11 targets his way. He was also eerily quiet in the run game, recording zero tackles in that phase. Hewitt was a culprit on just about every one of Cleveland’s (few) successful running plays, getting caught up on blocks at the second level and showcasing his lack of speed as he pursued plays to the outside.

Breshad Perriman: -2

Breshad Perriman was targeted six times and failed to record a catch (two of those targets were throwaways, however). On a well-placed go route throw from Darnold, Perriman high-pointed the ball but had it knocked free by Denzel Ward, who made a tremendous play. On another deep shot from Darnold, Perriman came just inches short of a 49-yard touchdown, possibly slowing up just a bit as he attempted to track the ball. That one was far from egregious – Perriman was clearly giving his all and also had to fight through contact from the defender – he just came up a little short on a play that seemed makeable.

Henry Anderson: -3

In perhaps his worst performance of a second consecutive disappointing season, Henry Anderson recorded just one pressure over 33 pass-rush snaps. Over 15 snaps against the run, Anderson missed two tackles and failed to record a stop short of the first down marker.

Josh Andrews: -4

Josh Andrews allowed four pressures over just 26 protection snaps before exiting the game.

The Jets desperately need to find a way to improve their depth on the offensive line next season. Their starting unit showed signs of decency as a group, but whenever somebody went down, the replacements were downright terrible. Obviously, you always expect a drop-off to some degree when a backup comes in, but that drop-off cannot be as big as it was for the Jets’ offensive line this season.

The league’s best squads are the ones that experience the smallest drop-offs in production when a starter gets hurt. Whether or not Joe Douglas can build the Jets into that kind of team is what will determine how far they go under his leadership.

Studs

With a second consecutive victory, we have 12 studs this week, tying last week’s Rams win for a season-high.


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