Film Review

Passing Game Film Review – Good McCown – Week 2 (Raiders)

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The Jets, predictably, lost for the second time this year in as many weeks.  The Oakland Raiders covered their betting spread, and then some, while the Jets looked hapless on defense, and lethargic on offense.  Josh McCown again had a game of conservatism, although the play book was opened up for some deep passes this time, which is a move in the right direction (as long as those passes are caught by the receivers).  This is another week where McCown tried to limit the risks as much as possible, and played mediocre football.  This article is going to be longer than the “McFrown” article to follow, mainly because the game plan was limited and McCown didn’t take enough risks to compile bad throws.  Let us examine this week’s performance:

1) 

This is a good play action pass from McCown to Robby Anderson. that goes for 19 yards.  The Raiders have stacked the box with eight defenders, which means they are expecting the Jets to run the ball, and the play action brings the linebackers toward the line of scrimmage.  The defender on Robby Anderson is giving ample space for a slant route, and Anderson takes advantage of the free space.  McCown does a good job of hitting him in stride, allowing him to get yards after the catch.  The other receiver on this play, Chad Hansen, is acting as the clear out, but notice the angle of his route.  He’s slowly but surely running towards the single high safety, because that is what makes this crossing route work.  If the safety jumps the throw to Anderson, then this play is dangerous.  However, Hansen engages the safety by shading towards his lane as much as possible, thus taking up two defenders.  It’s a small detail in play set up (most likely a coach’s decision) but it makes a huge difference on this play.  Very good throw from McCown, and good yards after the catch from Anderson.

2) 

This play is important to remember for this game and future games, because it’s a second and four situation.  The Raiders essentially create pressure by rushing four, because they communicate extremely well on this play.  Elijah McGuire started out in the backfield on this play, and then motioned to the slot.  The Raiders reacted by moving the linebackers towards that side, but also communicating with the defensive tackle.  The defense sent a safety blitz, leaving them with single high safety in the middle.  With this type of blitz, the Elijah McGuire route is the hot route because the slot linebacker has to protect both sides of a possible route by the running back.  When McGuire cuts to the inside, he should be open, but notice the defensive tackle drop back into coverage to prevent the hot route.  McCown does a good job getting this pass to Neal Sterling, who does an exceptional job at catching it.  Why do defenses do this?  Two reasons.  One, they are daring Josh McCown to step up in the pocket and run with the ball (He does later in the article, and we saw it plenty with Fitzpatrick last year).  Two, they are daring the Jets to pass the ball deep in this case, because there is one on one match-ups with deep routes on the left side of the formation, but those won’t develop unless the QB steps up in the pocket.  In this case, McCown doesn’t step up to his left side and take a shot deep, but goes for the safer option in Sterling, although he’s well covered.  Defenses are able to create this type of pressure, because they are banking on the Jets avoiding the deep pass and stepping up in the pocket.

3) 

We blame McCown for not stepping up in the pocket, so he at least heeds our advise and moves around in the pocket on this play.  The bad part about this play is that McCown is staring down Jermaine Kearse, and only moves on when he realizes that there is no window.  However, McCown moves around to the left side of the pocket and creates a passing lane by running towards his receivers.  This is a simple pass for about 4 yards, but it was accomplished only because McCown moved from the pocket.   Robby Anderson could have helped out his QB a bit more by running up the field on this play because he had a chance to be open, and by moving up field, brings along defenders.  If this throw was perfectly on target, Tye stands a better chance of breaking a tackle against one defender, rather than the defender on Anderson being in the same area as well.  Unfortunately, these are some of the downsides of pairing quarterbacks and receivers new to the system because they aren’t on the same page.  It’s a very positive play by McCown, decent throw and good catch by Tye.

4) 

This play is only in the good section because it has an OK result.  However, this is the epitome of conservatism by Josh McCown and the Jets.  McCown takes the safe route in throwing this pass to Matt Forte, because Kearse is somewhat covered on this play.  However, the Jets have (Looks like ArDarius Stewart- hard to tell) a receiver running down the field with inside leverage and the safety is not in position to impact the play.   This play screams for a deep pass because the receiver has inside position, and no one across from him, so the QB can lead him over the middle.  The pocket is clean as well, but McCown elects to make the check-down pass.  The Jets have to take shots downfield in situations like this because they can’t afford to check down consistently and expect to score.

5) 

This is the broadcast angle, because this play was not included in the All-22 film angle for unknown reasons.   This play is why Jermaine Kearse should be on the team next year.  The Jets have set up shallow crossing routes on this play for the check-down, but McCown takes a deep shot and gets rewarded on this play.  The first thing to notice is that Amerson is set up to have outside leverage on this play, which indicates that he wants to funnel the receiver towards the middle of the field, where there is a safety.  Kearse takes a wide step off the line of scrimmage (and presumably) gains separation.  What makes this play great is the high point catch by the receiver, which is something rarely seen from the Jets.  The Seahawks have one of the best systems in the game in teaching their receivers fundamentals and Kearse is a good example of it.  It is also a great throw by McCown, placing it perfectly out of the reach from the corner back.

6) 

Last week we saw Matt Forte lined up on the outside, running go routes with no avail.  On this play, he’s lined up outside, but runs a slant instead for a decent gain.  This is a good read and adjustment because it’s a late audible by McCown.  Forte was matched up against a corner back, but the defense made a switch to a linebacker.  The corner back had Forte played well because he gave him space, but retained the ability to look at the QB, which allowed him to break on any inside routes.  The linebacker, on the other hand, sets up this play with inside leverage, and no line of sight towards the QB, which allows Forte to break inside and gain separation.  McCown and Forte recognize the mistake from the linebacker and promptly take advantage, whereas the Bills played this much better last week.  This is more of a mistake by the defense, but it’s a good play for the Jets to recognize and take advantage.

7) 

The Raiders were daring McCown to leave the pocket and gain yards, and the Jets oblige.  There is wide open space to the left of the formation, and McCown recognizes it and takes advantage.  As with anything Jets related, it can’t be all positive because Bilal Powell is wide open for a pass from McCown as he’s running (prior to crossing the line of scrimmage) but the QB does not pull the trigger.  This is a pass that could lead to a big gain because Powell is much more likely to break a tackle than McCown, but he takes the conservative route.  Although since Rome wasn’t built in a day, these are baby steps for the Jets and moving outside of the pocket is just step one in creating problems for opposing defenses.

8) 

Pocket movement galore!  Josh McCown channeled his inner Fitzpatrick and slowly rushed up the middle for a sizable gain.  The Jets have seen these types of rushes from Fitzpatrick in the last two years, and McCown follows suit here.  A good job by blocking downfield as well, but overall a very good run by McCown.

9) 

Josh McCown has apparently been watching tapes of Lamar Jackson, because now he’s running around the pocket every chance he gets.  Once McCown is out of the pocket, he has two choices in passing to Kearse or Anderson, and he chooses the right option by passing to Anderson, who gains some yards after the catch, and then mistakes the first down marker official for a police officer.

10) 

The defense only rushes three on this play, and Josh McCown, once again, decides to run outside of the pocket, and finds success.  This time the QB runs to the right side of the formation, and hits a cutting Jermaine Kearse for a sizable gain.  It’s a nice throw from McCown which leads Kearse to get some yards after the catch.  We’ve been saying it over and over again, but the best way to find success against defenses that rush 4 wide or 3 is to move around because the defense will have to adjust on the fly.

11) 

Fan favorite Jeremy Kerley makes an appearance by catching this pass for a first down.  There isn’t anything special about this play, Kerley does a good job of settling in the hole against a zone defense, and McCown does a good job of hitting him.   The play is actually set up by Forte, because the linebackers move up to take away the check down to Forte, which opens up the hole for Kerley.   If you are the Jets offensive coordinator, you keep this play and defense in the back of your mind because Robby Anderson has a shot at running up the field, if the play called for it.  The play is designed to be a quick one, since it’s 3rd down, but this is something to keep in mind for the future, if they can call a deep route as an audible on this play.

12) 

This play is in normal speed, just to throw off the readers, because writing about the Jets offense can get tiresome.  It’s a good throw by McCown, on a comeback route by Kearse.  The play highlights that McCown is more comfortable with Kearse than Anderson, because they both run mirror routes, and Anderson is set up better because the defender is playing well off the line of scrimmage.  McCown looks towards Anderson, and then goes to Kearse with the tougher match up, but the receiver makes the catch anyway.

13) 

This is a great example of the coaches setting up a pass play designed to succeed based on the defense.  Matt Forte is lined up in the slot, right behind Jermaine Kearse.  The defense is set up with a defender near Kearse, and a corner back/safety about five yards off the line.  When the play goes in motion, the QB is reading the release from Kearse, because it’s his release that sets up this play.  If Kearse gets a free release, which means the defender directly next to him, cleanly disengages towards Forte, then Kearse is the primary target.  In that scenario, he has a clean release, running a slant route against a defender playing back without over the top safety help.  If Kearse doesn’t get a clean release, then the defender closest to Forte is essentially picked on this play, and thus slowed down, which opens up the running back for the pass.  Forte is open for the pass, McCown does a good job of hitting him in stride, which allows him to get some yards after the catch.

14) 

The final TD pass from McCown, and it’s once again an example of Kearse going up to catch the ball at it’s high point.  The Raiders bring a blitz, leaving one on one coverage on everyone, and McCown makes a great throw.  The quarterback is in the windup, before Kearse is even making his break, and throws this pass perfectly towards the receiver.  Kearse goes up and gets the ball for the TD.  Notice the step by Kearse, right before the break inside because he does it to keep the corner back from guessing the route.  When he makes the step towards the outside, the corner back has to respect the outside fade route just enough to allow space inside.  It’s a great set up by the receiver and a great throw by McCown.

Conclusion:

While McCown did have his moments, especially when throwing to Kearse, the overall game plan was still conservative.  He did shown better mobility within the pocket and outside, and the Jets need to incorporate more deep routes into the playbook to keep defenses honest.  Overall, an average to below average game for McCown.  Please check back with us later for the “McFrown” article.

Forum Questions:

A) If Kearse was a free agent after the year, would you resign him, and for how much?

This Article Was Written By Alvin

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I'm an avid Jets and Yankees fan, living out of state. I've followed the Jets for almost two decades now. Outside of sports, I'm in accounting and love puppies.

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