The Jets improved to 3-1 by beating the Miami Dolphins in London, and head into their bye week on an upbeat note. The Dolphins loss also caused the firing of coach Joe Philbin (which may or may not be a good thing for Jets fans), while newly hired coach Todd Bowles is getting praise from around the NFL. Let’s examine how the passing offense fared against the Dolphins:
This is the first pass of the game, and ends up setting the tone for the game. The Dolphins are trying to take a page out of the Eagles here, and rush people back into the middle and cloud up the middle. However, Marshall beats his man and is open for the deep pass. It’s a good read by Fitzpatrick, but a mediocre throw. Since, the read was good, and the result was good, it’ll be in Good Magic. Few things to notice, the first pre-snap read is the safety in the box, this means it’s a single high safety, so one of the WRs has a one on one matchup by a matter of spacing. Fitzpatrick notices it before the snap, so all he has to read is the single high safety in this case. Now, watch the safety and where he goes first, away from the Jets No. 1 WR in Marshall and towards Devin Smith. That’s the effect of having a speedster on the roster, because on a one on one deep matchup, the safety has to atleast worry about the speed on his end.
This is a simple play, a good read by Fitz and and throw by him. However, this play is here to highlight the effect of a No. 1 WR and how good Marshall is. The Dolphins make a last minute audible on this call, dropping the CB back from Decker, moving the safety over to the middle, which forces the free safety to move towards Marshall. The Dolphins are trying to bait an audible to a deep pass to Marshall, and have a last minute adjustment to jump the route. Notice how Grimes plays Marshall, pretty much jumps the inside route to cut him off, and Marshall still beats the guy. This play is made by Marshall by beating a guy that is defending the exact route he runs.
This play is interesting for various reasons. The first big reason is the change that is induced by Marshall going in motion, it causes the safeties to fall back from the LBs because the biggest threats on the Jets are at different areas of the field. The space that is vacated from this change is exactly where the pass ends up. This is another example of how a No. 1 WR changes the defense even when it doesn’t show up on the statsheet. The second aspect that’s interesting is the read and throw by Fitzpatrick. The read on this play is dual, Fitzpatrick’s head moves towards Devin Smith on the outside, and it helps the safety stay up top because the CB is playing zone and trying to jump an out route. The bad thing about this play is the throw, it sails to the right hand side of Fitzpatrick, which is going to be a common theme in this game. There doesn’t appear to be any charts that indicate the direction of the wind in regards to Wembley Stadium to confirm the wind direction. The reported wind level was about 10 mph winds in the southern direction. If the google maps position of the stadium correlates to it’s standing on a compass, then the wind was blowing across the field, which could explain why a large number of passes from Fitzpatrick sailed right in this game. If the wind was blowing across the field, then the wind would be blowing from Fitzpatrick’s left to right when the Jets are heading in this direction. However, it’s hard to confirm because there is no concrete evidence of the positioning of cameras in regards to the compass.
This is a great play and run by Fitzpatrick. The CB moves with Decker when he runs across the formation, indicating that it’s man coverage across the board. The Dolphins cover everyone on this play, and there are no feasible passing lanes open. However, Fitzpatrick does something in this game that he avoided in the Eagles game, and makes a run for it. The Dolphins defenders downfield aren’t even paying attention to the running QB until he passes the line of scrimmage, and Fitzpatrick makes a huge run out of it. Not only did it convert a third down, but it prevents the defense from dropping everyone back in short yard situations where the Jets spread people out. The Eagles dared Fitzpatrick to run, and he refused, so this is a great adjustment by him. There is a later run that was also big, but that was more lucky than a great run. However, this is excellent read and reaction.
The Jets are spread out on this play, and the Dolphins show blitz with no real disguise. However, the design of this play is to combat this exact situation. Chan Gailey designs two screen passes to either side, and both are open for yardage. Since the Dolphins are sending 6 men to blitz, they can’t do anything but man coverage across the board. The Dolphins reasoning is that the blitzer can get there on a free run before Fitzpatrick finds an open man. The unsung hero of this play is actually Zac Stacy. Notice that he doesn’t start blocking early in the play (which has been getting called frequently by the refs this year) but instead runs to the outside. This makes his defender turn away from the QB, preventing the defender from seeing the short pass and peeling off Stacy. And once Marshall catches the pass, Stacy provides a good block to let Marshall get the extra yardage needed for the first down. This play is excellent across the board, an excellent call, great pass, great design, great blocking, and a great result.
The theory behind most fast paced spread systems are to have a select number of plays that they can perfect and have variations of play to make adjustments on the fly. This is a very similar play as the TD to Kerley last week in the red zone from pretty much the same spot. Marshall is the key to this play, and just like last week he runs a shallow crossing route behind the intended WR. This draws in the LB towards him, opening up the space behind the LB for the slot WR. Fitzpatrick’s read is the LB, because if the LB doesn’t budge then Marshall has a step on his defender with space to the end zone. The only negative aspect of this play is that the ball sails right again, and almost causes an incompletion because it sails right near the defender. Decker makes a nice adjustment to the pass and catches the ball. It’s a very good read by Fitzpatrick, a mediocre throw, and a good catch by Decker.
Magician’s Assistants Fail
This play happens on 1st and 9, from the 9 yard line, and it’s a good play call. This is a play that has been seen numerous times on Film Review here, with a roll out, an underneath route and a deeper route as the other option. The read on this is simple, and from the pre-snap movement it’s discernable that this is zone coverage. The throw is excellent on this, and just a flat out drop by Marshall. There can be a case for pass interference here, but it doesn’t get called. This is a pass that someone of Marshall’s talent should convert into a TD.
This play is reminiscent of the Eagles strategy in the first half. They left the middle of the line wide open and it befuddles the left side of the line. The situation is 3rd and 8, and they assign a LB to follow Stacy incase this is audibled to a running play. And if it’s a passing play, everyone drops back into the middle of the field and see if the runner can get a first down underneath or see if Fitzpatrick can beat you with arm strength. The play completely falls apart, because much like the Eagles game, the Jets line is confused. Notice that the right side of the field actually makes the right block, but the LT completely whiffs on his guy causing this incompletion. Ferguson just lets the outside rusher go right by and that kills this play. You can’t blame Fitzpatrick for this errant throw because he had no chance to even let the play develop.
The play call on this is actually excellent and Ivory is motioned out because he’s not a part of this play, and the Jets need to lighten the defense in the middle. The read on this play is the LB that is initially covering Decker, and if he passes on Decker then he’s open. Even if he’s playing man coverage, he’s not in position to defend the pass in this case. However, Fitzpatrick makes the wrong read and forces the throw to Marshall, and the LB tips the pass. This pass is lucky to not be intercepted and wipe points off the board. The LB on Decker was playing zone coverage and makes a nice play on the ball.
The play doesn’t count because there is a holding penalty on Mangold, but this is in here to show just how bad of a throw this is. Smith is wide open by a few yards in any direction, and there is absolutely no pressure on Fitzpatrick. He has a clean pocket, yet misses the WR badly, as the throw almost sails back near a Dolphins’ CB. The entire call worked perfectly except for the penalty and the missed pass. The wind factor again seems to come into play here as the ball sails to the right.
This is a play on 3rd and 7 on the 30 yard line, and a horrible throw. The set up on this play is great, but what’s alarming is the one read aspect of this throw. Fitzpatrick doesn’t look at anyone else but Smith on this play. On more than a few occasions, there seems to be one read throws deep to the left side with Fitzpatrick throughout the season. Powell is out in the flat for what should be an easy first down, but Fitzpatrick doesn’t look towards anyone else. The throw is off as well, again, sails somewhat to the right. The set up on this play is brilliant, as there is a TE and a RB running the same bump and run into space for short passes. There is 2 outside WRs running go routes, and Decker in the middle to draw attention on a deep out route. The read on this pass is fine, but the throw is horrible, again sailing to the right and probably a foot or so away from being intercepted. It looks like Fitzpatrick expects the deep safety to be drawn in by Decker, because the throw is made as if Smith has a clear line to the end zone. Terrible throw by Fitzpatrick, and Smith might have a small case about behind held beyond the 5 yard zone.
This is just a bad throw by Fitzpatrick, nothing much to discuss there, he overthrows Ivory, who could’ve had maybe a good 6 or 7 yards on the play easily. However, this play is mostly here to highlight the play calling. The Jets stack essentially a FB to the right side, with Ivory in the backfield, and 2 WRs on the left side. The threat of run here means there are 3 dolphins defenders on the wrong side of the play. Fitzpatrick looks towards the WRs first, causing the LBs to drop back opening up ample space for Ivory. The set up, the read, and the execution right up until the pass is great, but the pass fails miserably.
The movement before the snap shows this as zone coverage by the Dolphins as no one moved with the TE when he ran across the formation. The route by Smith is also a good one, because he finds a hole in the zone and sits in it, but Fitzpatrick misses to the right again. Infact the throw is to the exact spot where the CB is standing when the throwing motion has begun, and the only reason this is not an interception is because the CB moves towards Smith to make a possible tackle. It’s a constant theme in this game to see Fitzpatrick miss a throw to the right, which seems to indicate a consistent problem with what is presumably the wind.
The play call on this is brilliant and the Dolphins show their hand early on the play, indicating it’s a CB blitz. Fitzpatrick has Ivory in there for protection and he picks up the blitz. Then the play turns bad for a few reasons. One, when the CB shows blitz, this leaves Decker with a single safety with no help, one on one down the middle and he’s open. However, Fitzpatrick is only looking at Marshall on this play, eyes him the entire route and then misses right again. It’s an almost interception that the CB knocked down. This should’ve been a play that focuses on Decker as soon as the CB overplayed the hand. This is a horrible read, and bad pass by Fitzpatrick.
How this play is not called as a pass interference is befuddling. The CB shoves Devin Smith to the ground while the ball is in the air, and there is nothing called on this play. The reason it’s in Bad Magic is because the other side of the field is wide open for an easy 20 yards with Decker and a one on one coverage with Marshall having a step. Yet, Fitzpatrick barely glances at Marshall before fixating on Smith. The second reason is that this throw is essentially a punt because it hangs up in the air for far too long. Infact the reason Smith gets shoved to the floor is because he’s trying to decelerate and turn to the ball, which causes the CB running back to run into him and shove him down. Smith does the team no favors by standing there for a flag, but the main culprits on this play are the refs, with Fitzpatrick taking second place. Good call but bad recognition and terrible execution on this play.
The Dolphins make a bevy of late adjustments on this play because they are confused by the look. However, this is another bad throw by Fitzpatrick. Notice the Jets are driving to the other side of the field now, so all those throws wide right were going the other way. So, this throw flows wide left, which may give credence to the theory of cross winds having a negative effect on Fitzpatrick in this game. There is a WR open on the other side of the field, but Fitzpatrick is locked into Decker from the start, mainly because the Dolphins make a late adjustment at the line and he’s most likely trying to take advantage of it. The throw sails wide left and makes it moot.
Overall, this was a decent game by Fitzpatrick, but not as good as the stats indicate. He missed plenty of throws and the arm strength issues come up again with the possibility of crosswinds. However, Marshall did drop what should have been a TD, and the interception should have been called a pass interference. Some takeaways from the game are that the Jets still have trouble with the wide stance defense the Eagles employed. Brandon Marshall is a beast, even when he’s not in the box scores, he’s having an effect on the play. Also, Fitzpatrick showed a willingness to move and run, which should limit the times that teams can use the wide stance defense. Fitzpatrick still shows an alarming tendency to lock in on WRs, especially on deep routes, and still floats the ball. However, he did show better judgement this week than the week prior, so there is improvement there. It was a good win for the Jets, behind the legs of Chris Ivory and the defense.
- The review was delayed this week because the coaches film was made available later than usual, and I was busy at work.
- The review series is suspended for the Redskins and Patriots games because I won’t be in the country.