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Is there any way for NY Jets’ Sauce Gardner to improve in 2024?

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Sauce Gardner, New York Jets, Getty Images

Sauce Gardner is already the best cornerback in the NFL

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner is an NFL sensation. He’s already completed the unheard-of feat of becoming a first-team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons at corner. Fans of other teams love to hate on him, calling him overrated or the master of holding. Nonetheless, he’s one of the league’s biggest stars at an extremely difficult position.

Given all his accolades and his sterling play, it’s difficult to find areas where he can improve. Still, two particular ones show up on his film. If he can get better at these aspects of the game, he’ll ascend to another level, perhaps one not seen since the days of Darrelle Revis.

Tackling

Tackling was Gardner’s biggest issue in 2023. His 16.2% missed tackle rate ranked 68th out of 88 qualified cornerbacks (23rd percentile). It was an equally big issue in the passing game (15.9%) and run game (16.7%).

While it’s easy to overlook a cornerback’s tackling impact, Gardner had the sixth-most tackle opportunities (tackles + assists + missed tackles) on the Jets with 68. D.J. Reed had the fifth-most with 82. They may not be as important as the linebackers and safeties when it comes to tackling, but Gardner’s struggles with tackling were noticeable throughout Jets games.

Here are examples of plays where Gardner’s poor tackling caused a large gain instead of a moderate one.

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