New York Jets cornerback unit continues to hold steady
Well, it’s that time of the week again.
You know, the time where I rave to you about all of the tremendous statistics being compiled by a unit that every living creature on the face of the Earth thought would be the worst on the New York Jets‘ roster: the cornerback group.
Continuing their surprising run of success to begin the 2021 season, New York’s cornerbacks went through a fourth consecutive game without being credited for allowing a touchdown pass (via Pro Football Focus), staying clean against the Tennessee Titans.
Entering Week 4, the Jets and Raiders were the only two teams in the NFL whose cornerbacks had not allowed a touchdown. After Las Vegas cornerback Amik Robertson allowed a 10-yard touchdown to Chargers tight end Jared Cook on Monday night, the Jets’ unit is the last one standing.
As hard as it may be to believe, it’s true: the New York Jets’ cornerback unit is the only one in the NFL that has not allowed a touchdown pass through four weeks of play.
If someone had written that sentence as a prediction just one month ago, it would be immediately written off as satire. Nobody should have been taken seriously if they truly believed that would happen.
But here we are.
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New York Jets’ cornerbacks lock up against Titans’ depleted wide receiver unit
The Jets’ cornerbacks were spared from a daunting duel against A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. Instead, they faced a unit led by Josh Reynolds, Chester Rogers, and Nick Westrbook-Ikhine.
Nevertheless, the corners’ jobs were still tough. With Derrick Henry attracting extra defenders into the box, the Jets asked their cornerbacks to win their battles with less help than they would usually get. Winning one-on-one against wide receivers is difficult for any NFL cornerback regardless of who the opponent is thanks to today’s offense-friendly rules.
The unit responded to the challenge and held up once again, led by Bryce Hall.
Hall was the unsung hero of the Jets’ win over the Titans as he allowed just 2 completions on 8 targets for 27 yards while playing an absurd total of 100 defensive snaps. He consistently shut down routes on an island to keep Tennessee’s passing game limited to the underneath area. His tight coverage played a big role in allowing the Jets to amass seven sacks.
Hall has given up one reception every 21.4 snaps in coverage this season. That ranks fifth-best out of 79 qualified cornerbacks.
Michael Carter II continues to shut down the slot. He gave up 3 catches on 4 targets for 27 yards and two first downs over 50 snaps in coverage.
Carter II remains the league leader among qualified cornerbacks in fewest yards allowed per reception, a title he held after Week 3. He has yielded 77 yards on 14 catches, an average of 5.5 yards per reception that is the lowest among the 112 cornerbacks to allow at least five receptions this season.
Guidry was excellent. Over 53 snaps in coverage, he allowed a measly one first down, allowing 3-of-3 passing for 27 yards. He was also a highly effective tackler near the line of scrimmage, making 10 tackles without missing a single one. Notably, Guidry made a great open-field tackle on Derrick Henry in overtime that may have prevented a touchdown.
Even undrafted rookie Isaiah Dunn got in on the action. Dunn made a cameo appearance on defense with three snaps (his first career defensive action – he only played special teams in the first three games) and broke up a back-shoulder deep throw on one of those plays. It would have been a third-down conversion if caught.
The four-game returns for the New York Jets’ cornerbacks are promising
Here is a look at where the Jets’ cornerback unit ranks among all 32 units in a few different categories:
- Yards per cover snap allowed: 0.82 (4th)
- Yards per game allowed: 95.5 (5th)
- Yards per target allowed: 6.4 (2nd)
- Touchdowns allowed: 0 (1st)
- Penalties: 2 (T-5th)
Every cornerback to appear for the Jets this season was acquired by general manager Joe Douglas and is under 25 years old.
This unit continues to stack solid performances. The “it’s only X games” disclaimer will not apply for much longer. Week by week, the productivity out of the cornerback position continues to look less fluky and more legitimate.
Calvin Ridley and pseudo-receiver Kyle Pitts await in London as the next challengers.