New York Jets cornerbacks combine for another stellar outing vs. New England Patriots
The New York Jets‘ cornerbacks were the greatest surprise of the team’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers. Covering an excellent wide receiver unit, the Jets’ young corners held their own and gave the Jets some outstanding production.
Make it two straight strong days at the office for the position that entered the season as arguably the team’s worst on paper.
The New England Patriots’ wide receivers combined to catch only nine passes for 69 yards against the Jets’ defense. Comparatively, they grabbed 12 passes for 133 yards against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1.
There are plenty of promising numbers to take out of the cornerback unit’s output in Week 2.
Overall coverage numbers
Here are the numbers in coverage for the Jets’ cornerbacks against New England, according to Pro Football Focus’ tracking.
- Bryce Hall (LCB): 35 coverage snaps, 1/1 passing for 32 yards and 1 first down
- Brandin Echols (RCB): 27 coverage snaps, 2/3 passing for 12 yards and 1 first down
- Michael Carter II (SCB): 30 coverage snaps, 6/6 passing for 20 yards and 0 first downs
- Javelin Guidry (RCB): 12 coverage snaps, 2/4 passing for 29 yards and 2 first downs
Altogether, the Jets’ cornerbacks yielded only 93 yards and four first downs on 14 targets. The starting trio of Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, and Michael Carter II combined to give up 64 yards and two first downs on 10 targets.
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Bryce Hall clamps down
The lone catch attributed to Hall was a 32-yard throw up the seam from Mac Jones to tight end Hunter Henry on a blown coverage. It was unclear whether Hall or linebacker Quincy Williams was more at fault, but PFF knocked Hall with credit for the big play.
Other than that, Hall gave up absolutely nothing. He was not targeted a single time otherwise.
Hall is doing a fantastic job of executing his assignments to discourage the opposing quarterback from throwing his way. Through two weeks, he has been targeted only three times over 72 coverage snaps. That’s an average of 24.0 coverage snaps per target, the best average in the NFL among 77 cornerbacks with at least 50 coverage snaps as of the Monday afternoon following Week 2’s Sunday games.
Brandin Echols isn’t allowing anything after the catch
Brandin Echols allowed a 10-yard first down to Nelson Agholor, a 2-yard completion to Agholor, and an incompletion to Kendrick Bourne.
Through two games, Echols has allowed 5-of-8 passes thrown his way to be completed for 38 yards and two first downs. He has allowed only 7.6 yards per reception, ranking seventh-lowest among the 68 cornerbacks to defend at least five receptions.
Sitting one spot ahead of Echols is Jalen Ramsey (7.0).
Echols has been great at forcing short passes and then rallying for strong tackles. He has yielded only 10 yards after the catch across his five allowed receptions, an average of 2.0 YAC per reception. That ranks fifth-best among qualifiers.
Michael Carter II is keeping everything in front of him
Michael Carter II has played like a star slot cornerback so far.
In Week 2, Carter II was targeted six times with all six passes being completed. He held those completions to a measly 20 yards (3.3 per reception) without letting a single one reach the first down marker.
No cornerback in the NFL has been better at forcing minimal receptions than Carter II in this young NFL season. Carter II has allowed just 37 yards on nine receptions through two games. That gives him an average of 4.1 yards allowed per reception, the lowest mark among 68 qualified cornerbacks thus far.
Of the 37 yards allowed by Carter II, 35 have come after the catch (since they’ve mostly been uncontested dump-offs or screens). He has allowed only 2 yards through the air.
Carter II’s coverage line on the season stands at 9-of-11 passing for 37 yards and one first down.
Javelin Guidry is getting picked on, but he has been tight
Javelin Guidry was the team’s least efficient cornerback in Week 1 and that was true once again in Week 2. The Pats targeted him four times over his mere 12 coverage snaps and completed two of those for 29 yards and a pair of first downs.
In fairness to Guidry, he has been victimized by a couple of great plays. In Week 1, D.J. Moore grabbed an extremely tightly-contested back-shoulder throw against the sideline for 27 yards, and in Week 2, Guidry had solid coverage on a vertical route by Jakobi Meyers but Mac Jones dropped in a perfect throw for 24 yards.
Through two games, Guidry has covered on 24 snaps and allowed 4-of-7 passing for 54 yards and three first downs. Both of those totals are the highest among the team’s four cornerbacks this season despite Guidry playing less than half as many snaps as any of the other three corners.
Nevertheless, those numbers are not bad at all for a team’s fourth cornerback.
The New York Jets’ early cornerback numbers are elite
It’s far too early to officially declare the Jets’ cornerbacks as a strength, but they are well on their way to establishing themselves as such if they continue to play as strongly as they have.
Here are a few of the Jets cornerback unit’s ranks among 32 cornerback units through two weeks (prior to Week 2’s Monday Night Football game):
- 5.0 air yards allowed per reception (3rd-best)
- 8.5 yards allowed per reception (4th-best)
- 5.9 yards allowed per target (6th-best)
- 0.84 yards allowed per cover snap (6th-best)
Most importantly, the group has been mistake-free.
The Jets are one of only three teams – along with the Chargers and Raiders – who have yet to see one of their cornerbacks allow a touchdown. To boot, their cornerback group is one of only six to get through two weeks without committing any penalties.
No other cornerback unit in the NFL currently boasts totals of zero touchdowns allowed and zero penalties.
The sky is the limit for this group.
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