FS Sheldrick Redwine
Recently-added New York Jets safety Sheldrick Redwine played 21 snaps in relief of starting safety Lamarcus Joyner, who left the game after only nine snaps.
Redwine was caught flat-footed against Robby Anderson and gave up a 57-yard touchdown. Earlier, he was the primary culprit on a busted coverage that gave D.J. Moore a wide-open 26-yard catch.
The former Cleveland Brown’s total of 83 yards allowed was more than double any other player on the Jets defense and made up over a quarter of Sam Darnold’s 279 passing yards.
LB Hamsah Nasirildeen
Hamsah Nasirildeen played 31 of the Jets’ 64 defensive snaps (48%) as the team’s weakside linebacker in base personnel.
The rookie was predictably poor in his debut. He was routinely moved around in the run game as he posted a gruesome 27.6 run-defense grade at PFF that was the worst among all 20 Jets defenders to take the field.
Nasirildeen did do a nice job in coverage as he prevented any targets from coming his way over 14 snaps. His issues against the run were highly problematic, though.
We will probably see Nasirildeen and fellow rookie Jamien Sherwood (who left the game after only three snaps with an ankle injury) have a lot of games like this throughout the year. If they are going to develop into successful NFL linebackers, it most likely will not happen until after they go through at least one full season of growing pains.
TE Ryan Griffin
Ryan Griffin had an all-around terrible game, which hurt the Jets quite a bit as he played a big role with 31 offensive snaps (14 behind Tyler Kroft’s position-leading 45).
Griffin was targeted six times and turned those targets into only three catches for 22 yards and one first down. He had a drop on a nice under-pressure underneath pass by Zach Wilson.
The veteran tight end was even more brutal as a blocker. He had a 43.1 run-blocking grade over 16 run-blocking snaps. His woes were a primary reason that Jets running backs combined for negative-6 yards before contact over nine carries directed outside of the tackles.
In pass protection, Griffin was a big part of the Jets’ issues, giving up two pressures over just four pass-blocking snaps. It’s unacceptable to allow heat on the quarterback multiple times over a number of reps that can be counted on one hand.
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C Connor McGovern
Connor McGovern’s attempt at a bounce-back second season with the Jets did not start off on the right foot. He earned an overall PFF grade of 45.4 that was the worst among Jets offensive linemen. His struggles with stunt and blitz pickups from the 2020 season appeared to carry over.
McGovern’s 41.9 run-blocking grade was the worst on the team among offensive linemen and was also worse than every tight end on the team. The Jets averaged a paltry 1.1 yards before contact per rush attempt on nine carries between the tackles.
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RG Greg Van Roten
Greg Van Roten’s 51.0 run-blocking grade at PFF was better than only McGovern on the offensive line.
Van Roten and McGovern were at the core of an abysmal rushing attack that produced four yards before contact over 17 carries (0.24). That is downright atrocious. It appeared that both players were consistently struggling to properly identify their assignments in the run game. Both players were often seen leaving defenders unblocked.
Van Roten also gave up two pressures and had a measly 58.0 pass-blocking grade.
Worth mentioning: LG Alijah Vera-Tucker
I do not think debuting rookie guard Alijah Vera-Tucker was necessarily one of the team’s five worst overall players thanks to how great he was in one phase, but in the other phase, he played a major role in the team’s most substantial problem throughout the game, so he is worth bringing up here.
The Jets’ pass protection was their biggest issue in Carolina, and Vera-Tucker was arguably the biggest culprit in producing those woes. He was credited with allowing six pressures in pass protection, four more than any other player on the team. Five of those were hurries and one was a sack. This was his first real NFL game after missing all three preseason games, and in pass protection, it certainly looked that way.
On the bright side, Vera-Tucker was excellent in the run game, earning a Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade of 74.2 that trailed only Mekhi Becton’s 77.2 among Jets offensive linemen. The Jets seemed to trust him, as their total of five carries directed to the left-side B-gap (Vera-Tucker’s outside shoulder) was their highest total of carries directed to any particular gap. That made up nearly one-third of their 17 carries in the game (29%).
This was a fairly promising debut for Vera-Tucker despite his numbers in pass protection. He recorded a ton of eye-popping reps in the run game that showcased his special athleticism and technique. There were a few good reps from him in pass protection, too.
It was glaringly clear that Vera-Tucker has the potential to become a great NFL guard. He was just going through the bumps that would you expect a player to go through as he attempted to block professional pass rushers in a real competitive setting for the first time in his life.
That excuse does not take away from the negative impact he had on this game – Zach Wilson took some enormous bone-shattering shots due to Vera-Tucker’s lost reps – but from a long-term perspective, there is nothing to worry about just yet. Vera-Tucker is a talented player with a play-through-the-whistle demeanor and he showed it in his debut.
Allowing six pressures in front of a prized rookie quarterback just does not cut it, though, so Vera-Tucker has to get his pass protection fixed up in a hurry.
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