New York Jets part ways with Bless Austin
#Jets are releasing CB Bless Austin, source says. Surprise here, though they had talks with teams to see if they could trade him recently.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 1, 2021
Austin’s release comes as a surprise due to his depth chart positioning, but based on his play, it isn’t a surprise at all. As Joe Blewett broke down on Blewett’s Blitz numerous times in his game recaps throughout the 2020 season, Austin’s performance on film was brutal during his sophomore campaign. His coverage technique was not up to par for an NFL starter.
In addition, Austin was not much of a scheme fit for the Jets. Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich project to run a zone-heavy defense, which requires its cornerbacks to thrive at tackling underneath. Austin’s 47.5 tackling grade at Pro Football Focus ranked at the 24th percentile among qualified cornerbacks last season.
Those tackling woes resulted in poor zone coverage production for Austin. His zone coverage grade of 47.1 ranked at the position’s 10th percentile.
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The odds were strong that Austin would have been a liability in this scheme. Perhaps the Jets felt more comfortable taking a chance on a younger player in Austin’s shoes than seeing if the third-year man could recapture his rookie-year flashes.
Austin was the Jets’ most experienced cornerback (save for special teamer Justin Hardee) with three seasons and 16 starts under his belt.
Now, the Jets’ cornerback room sans Hardee features two second-year players and four rookies. The only players with NFL experience are Bryce Hall and Javelin Guidry, who started seven and two games last season, respectively.
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