Jeff Ulbrich, NY Jets, Defensive Coordinator, DC
Jeff Ulbrich, New York Jets, Getty Images

Sunday’s game against the New York Giants will be a good opportunity to get a better look at this New York Jets team’s schematic identity

The New York Jets will face the New York Giants on Sunday, at 1 p.m. ET, marking the final event of the 2022 preseason.

Despite Zach Wilson’s unfortunate knee injury and losing Mekhi Becton for the season, it has relatively been a good offseason for the Jets.

Most of the young players seem ready to take over the prominent roles they will have to exercise, while, health-wise, the team is at a much better place than it was at the same time of the year in 2021.

Nonetheless, Jets fans haven’t gotten the chance to see the full starting lineup on the field yet, which will happen Sunday, according to HC Robert Saleh, who will treat this game as a “dress rehearsal”.

Besides being the first opportunity for fans to see the Jets’ best players live this preseason, the game against the Giants presents some interesting schematic matchups for Saleh’s squad.

After a few months of practicing against a four-man rush, heavy-zone defensive scheme, the Jets offense will take on Wink Martindale’s defense, which is known for pressure looks and aggressive man-coverage.

On defense, the Jets will be facing a much different offense than what they are used to, considering Brian Daboll’s spread principles.

With that in mind, below are three interesting challenges that the Jets will face, schematically, against the Giants.

Jets OL vs. Giants pressure looks

Over the past few years, one of (if not the) the biggest issues with the Jets’ offensive line has been communication.

Early last season, especially, the Jets’ OL struggled against simple stunts and overload pressures, which created problems for the team’s passing game.

Some of this relates to the fact that the team practices against a defense that bets on a simple 4-man rush most of the time, trusting in the overall “attacking mentality” of the front four. Regardless, the Jets’ recent communication issues up front are undeniable, and it starts with the unit’s lack of rapport on the field.

This year, however, will be the first time the Jets offensive line has had some continuity in a while.

It’s the same system, with 3 of the 5 starters returning. Also, both of the newcomers, Duane Brown and Laken Tomlinson, have experience in the scheme, which should make things easier.

Still, playing against Martindale is going to be a good task for this group.

Considering that Brown will play, according to Saleh, it will be valuable to see exactly where the unit is at in its gelling process.

Mistakes will be made, for sure, but it would be excellent news to see the unit holding up well on a couple of 3rd downs vs. Martindale’s pressures, giving Joe Flacco enough time to operate.

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Jets WRs vs. Giants man coverage

Another one of the biggest issues we saw from Mike LaFleur’s Jets offense in 2021 will be tested against the Giants.

Jets fans shall remember the Week 3 game against the Denver Broncos, where none of the receivers could create separation against the Broncos’ man/match coverage.

Things have changed, as Elijah Moore has evolved, Garrett Wilson has arrived and the Jets have two new, good tight ends to work with on offense.

Still, considering that the Giants will run their pressure looks and play bump-and-run man coverage behind it (as they have done throughout the preseason, which warranted some complaints from Bill Belichick and a spirituous response from Martindale), Jets receivers will have many opportunities to beat man-coverage.

A solid performance from the group will be a promising sign for a team that faces the New England Patriots twice a season.

All things considered, if Joe Flacco and the OL are on point, I expect either one of Garrett Wilson or Elijah Moore to have a good amount of catches against the Giants, as the Jets’ receivers are much improved this year when compared to 2021.

Jets defense vs. Giants spread offense

On the defensive side of the ball, first and foremost, it will be interesting to see if Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich show some creativity with their coverage disguises and blitzes.

The fact that it’s preseason and defenses are more vanilla than usual is worth mentioning, but Saleh/Ulbrich’s lack of inventive power on defense is a complaint that dates back to last season.

It’s not an issue to play Cover 3 most of the time. That’s not where the problem lies.

The issue is that no matter the coverage, the Jets’ defense never disguises it, which creates opportunities for easy yards on early downs for the opposing offense.

That’s a topic that will surely be more discussed during the season. Right now, the important thing is that the Jets will have a chance to face a spread offense, run by Daboll, which is going to be very similar to what the Buffalo Bills do.

Last year, Buffalo put up 45 points at MetLife, exploiting the easy completions that were there against the Jets’ defense. Daniel Jones is no Josh Allen, but I believe he will have the same ease to drive the ball down the field No. 17 had.

What’s worth looking at: the Jets’ ability to pressure on 3rd downs, sacks, and red zone performance.

Ultimately, the Jets’ red zone defense will dictate the unit’s ceiling this season. It would be great to see a strong performance this Sunday.

Final thoughts:

  • I don’t think Joe Douglas gets anything more than a 5th rounder for Denzel Mims.
  • Watch for Corey Davis with Joe Flacco. Veteran quarterbacks love veteran receivers.
  • I would love to see FA signing Jacob Martin flashing his speed off the edge against the Giants.

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A former quarterback, Vitor Paiva wants to showcase a deep analysis of what's really happening on the field, showcasing what's really on the mind of a football player during a play, in his Sidearm Session. Email: vitorpaivagon[at]gmail.com
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verge tibbs
verge tibbs
1 month ago

Good read, appreciate it.
Im just saying… maybe a responsible team offers a 5th for mims but itd be more valuable to keep him at that price. Nothing less than 4th, it only takes 1 tepper/rhule type gm on a hot seat, especially in the currently insane wr market. I wouldnt be surprised if he gets better than a 4th tbh. That would check out with JDs previous trade record. Id look for a team that has good depth at positions the jets are weak at. Like LB, FS, or OT. Maybe shoot for a player swap. Dangle the great mike white while theyre at it.

Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 month ago

What would be the best ways for the offence to beat the Blitz or The Giants pressure looks? Maybe Boots, Screens, and a Two Back set for extra blocking?

Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 month ago

I love the In depth Analysis. Thanks for all the research and sharing it with us fellow fans. Keep up the good work at Jets X Factor. You all are true fanatics over there.