Lamarcus Joyner's versatility and aggression fit the NY Jets defense nicely.
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

A move back to the free safety position could help NY Jets safety Lamarcus Joyner return to the peak form he showcased with the LA Rams.

The full Jet X member-only video is near the bottom of this page and can also be seen on the Blewett's Blitz homepage (if you're a paid member and logged in).

After trading Jamal Adams prior to the 2020 season, the New York Jets struggled to maintain consistent safety play next to Marcus Maye.

Rookie safety Ashtyn Davis battled injuries, playing in only 10 games (starting six). When on the field Davis showed that he was a raw player in many areas (which was predicted) while also flashing potential.

Bradley McDougald, who was acquired in the Adams trade, played poorly across seven games. Arthur Maulet was moved to safety out of necessity and did not perform well. Backup safety and special teamer Matthias Farley’s workload increased late in the year but he proved to be ineffective.

Safety proved to be a need entering the 2021 offseason, one that was underrated by fans. The Jets didn’t need to make a splash as they should still be banking on the future success of Davis, but they needed to have a contingency plan who could be relied upon as both a starter and a backup. Adding a player who could fulfill both roles would allow Davis to grow at his own pace while also providing depth if either Davis or Maye went down. 

The Jets set their sights on the 31-year-old Lamarcus Joyner, a former standout Los Angeles Rams safety and “interesting” Oakland/Vegas Raiders slot cornerback.

Joyner proved to be a very effective and versatile safety in his first five years in the league with the Rams. Oakland signed Joyner in the 2019 offseason to a relatively large contract (four years, $42 million, $16.7 million guaranteed). The Raiders pulled a “Raider” and played the former safety out of position in a nickel corner role.

While Joyner did flash with the Raiders at times, he was wildly inconsistent and predictably struggled. He was released following this past season.

Joe Douglas signed Joyner to a cost-effective one-year, $4.5-million deal, which has some incentives tied into it. The plan is to play him at safety, where he belongs.

Let’s take a look at some plays showcasing Cole’s major strengths and weaknesses. Below, you will also find a full list of strengths and weaknesses, plus an episode of Blewett’s Blitz digging into Lamarcus Joyner’s film (over an hour and forty minutes long).

Podcast episode

Highlighted strength: Aggression/big-hit ability

Joyner (deepest defender) is playing the deep safety role in this Cover 1 defense. Joyner runs his feet as the ball is snapped and reads the quarterback’s eyes/shoulders, which takes him to the isolated slant from the boundary by Will Fuller.

Joyner closes ground in a hurry and explodes through contact while leading with his shoulder (legal hit), popping the ball out. Even though Joyner is a smaller player, he makes up for it with effort and top-notch aggressiveness, as shown here.

Highlighted strength: Athleticism


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You may know Joe Blewett from his wildly-popular film breakdowns and podcasts on websites including Turn on the Jets and Jet Nation. His ability to analyze film is second to none. From a player on the field in high school (FS/CB/WR/RB), to working with former NFL players including Marcus Coleman and Erik McMillan, as well as many hours of studying, Joe brings a rare level of expertise to his content. Joe is currently hosting Blewett’s Blitz, bringing player and game film breakdowns and podcasts (video and audio). Email: [email protected]

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