Each week, we’ll examine some of the new weapons on the New York Jets. Unfortunately, pre-season games do not come with coaches film, so film breakdown will not be quite as comprehensive as previous endeavors until the regular season starts.
Our first subject is Jalin Marshall, signed as an un-drafted free agent out of Ohio State University. He has impressed the team’s reporters with his ability during practice, but week 1 of the preseason was the first time fans across country saw his ability. Let’s examine his week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This play is mostly remembered for the completion to Quincy Enunwa, but Marshall provides a great decoy on this play out of the right slot, and is part of the reason this play is successful. The most important aspect of this play is the timing he displays with Fitzpatrick on this play. As Fitz reaches the apex of his drop back and has his arm cocked for a throw, Marshall is in his break and turning around. The timing on this play with Marshall draws in two defenders who are sure the ball is going towards Marshall, thus opening the back-end of the play for Enunwa. While Marshall won’t get credit for this play, his action and timing on this play is a big reason why this was a great pass.
This is a very good pass to Charone Peake down the sideline. At the same time, Marshall runs a very good route at the same time and is open for the check down in the middle of the field. It’s the same route that he drops a third down pass from Geno Smith earlier in the game, but in this case, the LB is playing deeper. This is also an example of how a QB can influence defenders with his eye. Geno Smith is looking at the left side of this play from the start, the read is the cross between Ross/Marshall, and if that is defended, then go with Peake and his one on one match-up. However, notice the defender on Marshall stopping even before Geno has started his motion to throw. The best QBs in this game would reverse field and find the open Marshall on this play, but that does take years of experience and wisdom. On this play, Marshall does show a good route, as his cut is pretty linear instead of a round path. He cuts on a dime on the 22 yard line on this play, which helps create some of the separation.
In this play, Jace Amaro has pre-snap motion indicating man coverage, with a man high safety. This defensive formation is only presumed because of the lack of coach’s film, but there are 10 defenders on the screen, so either there is a deep safety or they are playing with 10 players. Marshall is on the right slot on this play, and has responsibility to carry his defender and possibly engage the safety. The beauty of this play is two fold, with the primary one being the timing of the snap. Once Amaro is in motion, his defender is at a disadvantage, and the ball is snapped as soon as Amaro is set. This forces the defender to line up about a yard inside of Amaro, so the fake slant route inside forces the defender to go even further inside, opening up the outside for Amaro. The second aspect of the play is Marshall absolutely flying by his defender, because by the time he is off the screen, he has good separation from his man. He’s open for the pass up the seam but Geno passes on the pass (and to defend him, we can’t see the proximity of the safety) but Marshall runs a great route. He fakes the quick out route, something the Jaguars are looking for on third and short, and then blows by him inside. Jeremy Ross is on the outside on this play, and he is running a comeback route on this play. Note the route running, lack of separation, and timing issue here. It’ll be important to compare them in a couple of plays.
This is the kick return, and probably the best return the Jets have accomplished in years. Marshall showed an innate ability to make the first man miss on numerous occasions in punt returns during college. This ability is highlighted here because the path is clear, but he does have to make one defender miss early on in the return, which sets up the whole play. Marshall indicates that he is running the outside of the defender, and then quickly cutting inside, the same move he showed off on the previous play. Once he is past the defender, the Jets are set up with blocks down the field, and the biggest reason Marshall may have been caught is a last ditch dive by the kicker, which slows down Marshall. This is a play that would have been stopped near the 25 yard line in the past because the Jets rarely employed returns with the ability to make defenders miss in the open field, rather opting for pure speed.
On this play, Amaro moves down the line pre-snap, while the no particular defender moves with him. This indicates zone coverage on this play, and Geno correctly takes advantage of the 1 on 1 match-up at the bottom of the screen with Charone Peake. However, Marshall finds an opening in the zone and is open for a TD pass as well on this play. Marshall did the same fake outside and go inside move again on this play, and the LB lets him pass, with no safety nearby. However, this is a pre-snap read pass, since the right side is crowded, and the left side is isolated one on one with the WR, so Geno can’t be blamed for throwing this pass towards Peake. Marshall shows a good ability to find the crease in the zone defense here.
Remember the comeback route run by Jeremy Ross a few plays earlier? Well this is how that was supposed to be run. While Ross changed directions three times on that play, Marshall runs this route with great precision. The biggest sell for the WR on this play is to make the CB believe that this is a go route and twist his hips around. When Ross changed directions, the defender had not committed to the go route with his hips, thus allowing him to drive on the ball. Marshall turns the hips of his defender, and then stops on a dime to create about 3 yards of separation, making this an easy throw. This is very advanced route running, especially for a player that is fairly new to the position. On a personal scouting basis, Marshall has given off a poor man’s Edelman vibe with his ability to run routes, and make defenders miss while lacking absolute top end speed, and both are converted QBs. Julian Edelman was the better prospect coming out of college, don’t make a mistake about it, but Marshall’s skill set is extremely valuable in today’s game, with spread offenses and one on one match-ups.
On this play, Marshall goes in motion pre-snap, and the ball is snapped as soon as he’s set. This is a fairly easy pass to Peake, and Marshall isn’t even open on this play, since the safety has him covered deep. However, his route running and breaking the ankles of the primary defender needs to be highlighted. Marshall runs the same fake outside, slide inside move he’s been thriving on all game. However, instead of going inside, he makes a double move and goes back outside, throwing the defender off balance and causing him to trip over his foot. This is another example of great route running on his part. There are two other aspects of this play that needs to be highlighted. One, notice the defender on Peake move backwards as soon as Marshall showed up on his side. This is because the Jaguars had a blitz planned from their left side, but once Marshall showed up on that side, they switched it. This last minute change caused the coverage to be different because inexperienced QBs are likely to throw the ball faster once they see a blitz coming, therefore it’s more advantageous for the defenders to play bump and run. However, the simple motion flipped this playing, forcing the defender to give up room on Peake, allowing for this easy completion. The second aspect of the play is the RB, who makes a great dive to protect his QB from the blitz. The RB on the play is running a ball fake, thus blocking is not the primary goal, but as soon as the fake is over, he realizes there is a free defender from his left, and makes a diving block to keep Petty from being hit. It won’t show up on the stat sheets, but this is a great job blocking by the RB.
The play is classified as a good play, even though the outcome of this was horrendous. The Jets are fielding a punt late in the 4th quarter, and Marshall is by the 10 yard line. Too many times in the past, Jet defenders have floated back inside the 10 yard line to fair catch punts, guaranteeing them horrible field position. Exorbitant amounts of remotes have been sacrificed in Jet households over this practice, but Marshall makes a very good read on this play. He realizes the ball is over his head at the 10 yard line, and lets the punt go over his head. The chances are the punt bounces into the end zone, or takes a bounce in favor of the Jets. So two of the three options for the ball favored the Jets, but of course it took a parallel bounce and the ball was downed inside the 5 yard line. While the result was poor, more times than not, this type of decision will work out in favor of the Jets.
This was a critical third down for Geno Smith on his first drive. The play-call is essentially a short pass to Marshall if a LB picks up the RB out of the backfield. The pre-snap read on this play might have been a reason for this play to go south. Trevor Reilly goes in motion prior to the play, with a LB shadowing him. Pre-snap reads indicate that this is a man coverage situation, in which Geno should see if Marshall could beat his man, and throw him the pass, if it’s the case. Marshall does a good job on creating separation on this play from his initial defender, and in a vacuum, would be a great target. However, there is one LB in the middle of the field that is playing zone, causing Marshall to get alligator arms on this pass, and drop the pass. Marshall did display a tendency to drop some passes while at Ohio State, so this is nothing new, it’s probably one of his biggest weaknesses. As for the pass, Geno could not wait further because then the RB’s route and Marshall’s route would have been in the same area, increasing risk. This play is also an example of why it’s hard to examine performance in pre-season games because the personnel are different. On this play, there is a single high safety, with a one on one matchup on the bottom of the screen (Jeremy Ross), but the Jaguars just play man defense on the guy. If that is Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker, the defense would have shaded players towards that side, or the QB would take more chances with the one on one match-up. Since, this article just deals with Jalin Marshall, it was a good route and separation on his part, but a bad drop in the end, especially on a crucial third down.
This is another critical third down play in which Marshall drops the ball over the middle. This whole play is essentially designed for Marshall here, and everyone makes their end of the play. Jeremy Ross runs his man through the zone of Marshall’s defender to slow him down, and Amaro runs deep to clear the middle of the field. The outside WR runs deep, while the RB takes his man away from the play. Geno steps up in the pocket, and delivers a good pass, but Marshall drops the ball again with a LB closing in on him. Marshall has a very good ability to make defenders miss right after the catch, this ability may stem from taking his eyes of the ball and looking at defenders before he secures the ball, which might be contributing to his drops going across the middle in traffic. This is a brutal drop in the red-zone.
Jalin Marshall flashed during practices, and he backed it up with a great game for the Jets. He showed good decision making in the return game, and showed extremely good route running ability. He did have two bad drops in big spots, but otherwise was a bright spot. It should be interesting to see how the Jets incorporate him more into the lineup.