Bryce Hall, Javelin Guidry, NY Jets
Bryce Hall, Javelin Guidry, New York Jets, Getty Images

Where do the New York Jets need to improve as a complete unit after two preseason games?

Yesterday, we went over some of the New York Jets‘ most notable accomplishments as a team through their first two games of the 2022 preseason. Today, we will look at the other side of the coin. What are the biggest concerns for this Jets team after two exhibition outings?

These two things stand out to me as the most prevalent issues that plagued the Jets throughout their first two preseason games.

Cornerback depth

Thanks to the additions of Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, the Jets’ cornerback depth is expected to be a strength this year. The arrivals of Gardner and Reed have pushed a number of returning Jets corners into lower spots on the depth chart than they were last year, making each respective position on the depth chart stronger.

However, the Jets’ cornerback unit has been a liability thus far in the preseason. On throws in their direction, New York’s corners have combined to allow 15-of-25 passing for 225 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. That’s 9.0 yards per target and a 102.9 passer rating – woeful numbers.

Much of these struggles can to be attributed to Bryce Hall‘s performance against Atlanta. In that game alone, Hall allowed 4-of-4 passing for 90 yards and a touchdown.

The unit’s coverage numbers are not too bad outside of Hall. Still, though, save for Gardner and Isaiah Dunn, each of the other seven corners who have appeared for the Jets has allowed at least one first down reception during their short time on the field.

Additionally, the group has struggled with tackling, combining for six missed tackles (none of those were by Hall so he can’t bail them out here). This issue is especially alarming when considering that the rest of the Jets defense has been tackling well. The corners are responsible for 43% of the Jets defense’s missed tackles (6 of 14) despite only accounting for 24% of the defensive snaps.

Reed has yet to play while Gardner has thrived in his limited action, seeing no throws in his direction. But the rest of the team’s corners are collectively off to a shaky start. Hall’s struggles are particularly troubling since he is a primary backup and will see plenty of reps if a starter goes down.

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Run-blocking depth

New York’s reserves have taken most of the OL snaps throughout the preseason, seeing mixed results.

The pass protection of the Jets’ backup offensive linemen has actually been quite solid. Part of that is due to the Jets’ reliance on quick passes through these first two games, but even when accounting for that, this unit is playing good football in the passing game.

New York’s offensive line has allowed the third-lowest pressure rate of any team in the preseason so far at 14.3%, coughing up 10 pressures on 70 pass-blocking snaps. The unit has not allowed a sack.

But the run-blocking is a completely different story.

Outside of scrambles by quarterback Chris Streveler, the Jets’ run game looked ugly over the past two games. The running backs have been getting absolutely no room to work with.

Through two games, New York’s running backs have combined for 120 rushing yards on 40 carries (3.0 yards per carry). Of those 120 yards, 101 of them were gained after contact, which means they have only gained 19 yards before contact (0.5 yards before contact per carry).

Jets fans should certainly be intrigued by how effective the backup offensive linemen are performing in pass protection. At the same time, it is concerning how dreadful they are playing in the run game. This offense depends heavily on an effective rushing attack. It cannot afford to have the run game turn kaput if a backup or two is forced onto the field.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Psi
Psi
1 month ago

The coverage of the secondary seems to be heavily reliant on the effect of pressure from the front 4 in this scheme. If the front doesn’t get home, the scheme seems simplistic enough for most OCs to easily find holes to exploit. The pass rush of the reserve DLs so far in the preseason seems to be easily handled/exploited. Hope that changes with the ones, otherwise what we’ve seen so far will likely continue once the real QBs/Receivers are playing. The feedback from the Giants practice seems to confirm that on balance, this simplistic defense is what Ulbrich has been running throughout training camp.

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago
Reply to  Psi

I have to believe what we have seen is the “vanilla” schemes that are the norm in pre-season. The time to break their tendencies is Baltimore and although I have major concerns about Ulbrich, I’m thinking there will be changes and lots of mixing and matching.

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago

You know I agree with you on the CB front, I am disappointed the run blocking hasn’t been better considering they seemed to get it together last season. I know they have a lot of parts that moved etc but I am hoping to see some tempo Sunday. Realistically, do you think they will be adding any players who may get cut by some teams? I think that means they would have to claim them to the 53 man roster. I don’t see that happening. I could be wrong? I can actually see them adding a CB.

Psi
Psi
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

I’m thinking an IDL will be added after cutdowns. IMO, they are woefully thin there. Outside of Q, all else are average to substandard…especially against the run.

Psi
Psi
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

They certainly appear to be true believers in their system and the type players required to properly execute it. Hope our skepticism is proven wrong.