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5 worst NY Jets players in loss to Carolina Panthers

Alijah Vera-Tucker, PFF Grade, Stats, NY Jets, Panthers
Alijah Vera-Tucker, NY Jets, Getty Images

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.

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.

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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2 years ago

According to Pro Football Reference the Jets delivered the same number of QB hits as the Panthers 10. So the Jets D-line didn’t play badly.

2 years ago
Reply to  JRussSha

I actually thought the D overall played much better than I expected. They only gave up 19 points and every team gives up a big play here and there. I am much more encouraged about that group than I was prior to yesterday. The new set of injuries will hammer them and they can’t keep this up. Losing Joyner was huge now and down another LB doesn’t help even if he is a rookie.

2 years ago

I am truly surprised at both Becton’s and AVT’s run blocking grades from PFF. Both looked awful to me yesterday. You gave the percentage of the runs that went in to the B gap, but not the number of yards or percentage of yards gained. I was actually surprised that that many carries went to the left. I remember most of them going straight up the gut or to the right. Regardless of where they went however, the run blocking was abysmal, as I think the Jets only rushed for 40 yards. On rushing plays, one of Kroft or Wesco need to be on the field, and both Davis and Mims need to be on the field, as they are our best run blockers.

Both AVT’s and Becton’s play were very disappointing to me, but in fairness, they have had few snaps together with Becton missing all of OTAs and mini-camp, and AVT missing half of TC and all of the preseason joint practices and games. McGovern has been a huge disappointment, unless he picks his game up quickly, he needs to be replaced during the upcoming offseason, as does GVR. Fant needs to show quick, dramatic improvement as well, or he should also be replaced.

2 years ago
Reply to  ncjetsfan

McGovern needs to be replaced now. They need a trade or something if possible. I realize it’s not that easy but every snap McGovern is out there is putting Wilson in harms way and it’s only a matter of time before he gets hurt because McGovern has no clue who to block. I’m done with him. I think you are correct with AVT, he basically missed all of meaningful camp. He will improve. The sad reality here is this is the same group of guys who STUNK last year with the addition of one rookie. Joe whiffed again on this and I’m tired of hearing how he’s an “OL guy” he’s been horrible at improving that group. Keeping McGovern and GVR was malpractice.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jets71

There is no way that they can replace him now. No team is going to trade their starting center or quality backup at this point in the season. McGovern did improve greatly as the season went along last year. He was a top 10, maybe top 5 center in the league just two years ago in Denver. IMO the problem is the scheme or the coaching. They can replace him next offseason, but barring injury, we’re stuck with him for the remainder of this season. Moses is new. I think it was hoped that Clark would win the RG spot, but then he got injured. Besides, solid OL play is usually a result of stability, i.e., the same players playing in the same system from year to year. The Jets haven’t had that. They had 4 new starters last year, now another new starter and a new blocking scheme and a new offense. That’s a lot to learn in one offseason, especially when your two best OL have missed huge chunks of time and had few snaps together. Blaming JD and saying that he whiffed is ignorant. The blame goes on the players, the scheme, the CS and the play calling. Also, Saleh said that most of the problems from this past Sunday, was the RBs and TEs blowing their assignments. With the way that padded practices have been shortened, rule changes, shortened preseason, etc., it’s almost a given that OLs are going to struggle early in the season unless there has been stability in terms of scheme and starters. The Jets haven’t had that.

2 years ago

You and everyone made excuses for McGovern all off season saying he bounced back after the start of the year…..HE STINKS! FLAT OUT STINKS. I hope you or Blewett show one of his plays in breakdown where he just had his hands in front of him and just spun around (I wish I had the time of the play). This guy is supposed to be the QB of the line and he couldn’t identify the stunts my local HS runs. Then I have to hear his smug remarks from the podium in training camp about how Zach wasn’t sacked so the pass protection looked good! And this is “his kind of system.” What a joke. Get his ass out of here ASAP before Zach gets killed. How he didn’t break ribs on that sack (illegal too) is a miracle. And your boy Van Roten who you claim wasn’t as bad as he looked and is a decent stop gap is miserable. What a mess. It doesn’t matter who the QB is with the kind of in your face pressure Zach and Sam had to endure they all stink. Look not further than Mahomes in the Super Bowl, ZERO TD’s and he’s supposedly the best in the game. Douglas better figure this out…FAST. Time for a trade. Why they didn’t sign Linsley is beyond me.