Home | Articles | Film Room | NY Jets Film Review: Sauce Gardner is the best CB in the NFL

NY Jets Film Review: Sauce Gardner is the best CB in the NFL

Sauce Gardner
Sauce Gardner

Sauce Gardner is the NFL’s gold standard at the cornerback position

Sauce Gardner is one of the most scrutinized NFL players on social media. As Bob Saleh once famously said, “If you ain’t got no haters you ain’t popping.”  

It rings wildly true for Sauce. Being the best cornerback in the NFL comes with a lot of hate. 

A large quantity of Twitter users claim that Sauce is not good because he “holds” (is elite in press coverage and uses his physicality legally). These people should probably check the NFL rulebook. Under the section “Permissable Acts By Both Teams While The Ball Is In The Air” is “Laying a hand on an opponent that does not restrict him in an attempt to make a play on the ball.” As stated in the NFL rulebook, what Sauce often does while the ball is in the air is indeed legal – surely surprising to those who do not know football!

Another large quantity claims Sauce is not good due to his low number of targets, which contributes to a low number of interceptions. For example, former CB Asante Samuel let off a series of tweets about this.

These two claims are as laughable as they get. The latter is particularly concerning because it is being led by a former player who should know better.

Because of these narratives, this article is personal to me. The haters need to know that Sauce is the best CB in the NFL. It is quite easy to prove, which I will do through stats and film.

Sauce followed up an unheard-of rookie season with another elite season, showing that his rookie year was not a fluke. He ranked first among his peers when it came to preventing separation and earned the second-best coverage grade at Pro Football Focus (90.8), trailing Jaylon Johnson by 0.2 points. He also allowed the second-fewest yards per cover snap (0.44) while finishing third in forced incompletion rate (21.1%) and allowing the fourth-fewest first downs (11).

As seen above, Sauce was the No. 1 CB of 2023 in preventing separation. It’s funny how corners like Jaylon Johnson and Jalen Ramsey are often commended for the lack of targets they receive but with Sauce it’s a “negative” thing. Anyways, you see the chart, and it speaks for itself (love you also, MCII).

Sauce is so instinctive, patient, intelligent, and most importantly, uber confident in his ability. It is more than evident in the film.

Sauce Gardner 2023 film review

Sauce does such a great job sticking with Davante Adams on the drag route. His change-of-direction and closing speed at his size are unbelievable. He avoids the rub and stops Tae short of a fist down. Awesome rep on a really difficult route to cover and stick to.

Horrible penalty called on Sauce here as Noah Brown pushes off. Nonetheless, Sauce does a great job resetting his feet after getting pushed and his closing speed is seen again as after the push-off he still has the change-of-direction to get the PBU. Sauce actually gets two PBUs in one here, one on Brown and then another on Woods on the deflection. Elite recognition and ball skills from Sauce on display.

One-of-one rep from Sauce to stay in phase for over 7 seconds and get the PBU. It is really hard to stay in phase for 2.5 seconds, but here, Sauce does it for over double that. He shuts off the initial route and then stays in phase throughout the scramble drill, and most importantly finishes the rep by breaking the pass up on the sideline.

I cannot emphasize enough how insane this play is. Unreal speed turn from Sauce and recognition that the ball is coming out on the sail route to Njoku. He beautifully passes his guy off to Whitehead and gets in the passing lane to break up the pass. Sauce’s back is turned to Flacco when he releases the ball! These are the instincts that cannot be understood unless the film is watched. Just watch the clip again and appreciate how awesome of a rep this really is.

Sauce does a great job sticking with the WR here. He uses his physicality well throughout the entire route, allowing for zero yards of separation. Herbert tries to throw Quentin Johnston open but Sauce gets his head turned around when the ball is thrown and gets the PBU. Tons of DBs will not turn their head in time here and will get called for pass interference. Turning your head like this while the ball is in the air, making a play, and not getting a penalty is so damn good.

Those were my five favorite reps from Sauce this year, but there are countless more reps where he is not targeted that are noteworthy as well. Not being targeted a lot as a corner who plays plenty of press man coverage is as big of a compliment as a CB could get. To say that that is a negative is to just simply put out there that you do not really understand the game of football.

Cornerback is the second-hardest position to play in the NFL after QB. The rules and pass-happy nature of the NFL have made the position almost impossible to play at the level Sauce plays at.

Sauce has performed at a ludicrously high level through his first two seasons in the NFL. It was one thing to come in his rookie year and do what he did, but the question was can he follow it up? He did that and more in his sophomore season. As Jet fans, it may be crazy to say, but it rings true: You have a Revis Jr. on your team, and he will be here for a long, long time.

Want More Jet X?

Subscribe to become a Jet X Member to unlock every piece of Jets X-Factor content (film breakdowns, analytics, Sabo with the Jets, etc.), get audio versions of each article, receive the ability to comment within our community, and experience an ad-free platform experience.

Download the free Jet X Mobile App to get customizable notifications directly to your iOS (App Store) or Android (Google Play) device.

Sign up for Jet X Daily, our daily newsletter that's delivered to your inbox every morning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Add Jets X-Factor to your Google News feed and/or find us on Apple News to stay updated with the New York Jets.

Follow us on X (Formerly Twitter) @jetsxfactor for all the latest New York Jets news, Facebook for even more, Instagram for some of the top NY Jets images, and YouTube for original Jets X-Factor videos.

Related Articles

About the Author

More From Author


3.7 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments