Weapons Check: Quincy Enunwa – Week 1 (Bengals)
After it’s debut in the pre-season, we are continuing with our Weapons Check series into the regular season. Each week, one young player will be highlighted to show the highs and lows of their game. This week’s star in Quincy Enunwa, the third year receiver out of Nebraska. Let’s see the film to see how he did.
This play was highlighted in the passing offense break down as well, but it warrants being repeated because it’s important to show off the versatility shown by Enunwa on this play. He goes in motion, and is the receiver on this tap play, which we saw few times from Geno Smith to Tavon Austin at West Virginia. Enunwa shows good vision on this play as well, because he runs to the hole and follows the RB to the left side of the line. Enunwa has a rare combination of size and speed, so using him in these situations could really help the offense be unpredictable. If a defense has this play in the back of their mind, they may try to counter act by sending a CB to cover on Enunwa to match the speed, at which point the Jets would have an advantage in blocking if it turns into an option read run play. While the play is successful, the biggest gain here is the versatility shown, as defenses have to account for more options when he goes in motion, which happens quite a bit.
Quincy Enunwa also plays the gunner on punt coverage, and he shows off his speed on this play. He gets by his blocker, and is the first one down the field on this long punt. This is just a great punt with distance and hang time, but Enunwa is the first one there for a tackle if the returner had not called for a fair catch. He shows off his versatility again with this play, and proves to be a special teams standout.
This is a play that doesn’t really involve Enunwa. He lines up in the slot to the right of the formation, but becomes the outside WR when Decker goes in motion to the slot. Enunwa has one on one coverage, with a defender that has outside leverage on this play since the Bengals handed off coverage when Decker went in motion. Notice how Enunwa attacks the defender, and the timing of his cut inside. Enunwa slants a bit out right at the defender, and makes an inside cut as soon as the CB makes a commitment to turn around facing the sideline. This is excellent route running, as he sets up the defender perfectly on this play to get open. He’s not involved in this play, and it ends up in a congested area with Decker, but the set up on the play is great by Enunwa.
The first TD of the season, was also highlighted in the previous article, but warrants mention here. This is not as easy as it looks in the end, because the route has to move up-field first before going horizontal. The movement up field has to give the CB pause on Enunwa’s direction, and time for Decker to run the pick play, before he can turn sideways. Enunwa executes this perfectly, and creates separation for an easy throw. The Jets love running this play in the end zone because it’s hard to defend when properly executed. The Bengals adjusted by having the assignments switch, giving less opportunity for the outside WR to set the pick on the play.
A failed throw on this play to Marshall, but Enunwa is open for an easy TD on this play. He lines up in the slot with the defender showing outside leverage, meaning he’ll have a free release to the inside. This play happens on first and goal from the four yard line so the Bengals are most likely expecting a run in this case. The Jets somewhat surprise them with the play call and catch them in a bad spot, but the ball is thrown to the wrong receiver. A pass to Enunwa is easy here and should have been a TD. Enunwa runs a good but simple route and makes a nice cut inside for an easy passing lane.
Another play where he is not involved. The Bengals baited the Jets into throwing this screen pass by initially showing a deep safety covering the RB in the slot, which caused Fitzpatrick to audible to this play. On the other side of play, Enunwa runs a very good route again as the slot WR to the left side of the formation, and if given attention would be wide open for a TD. The Bengals are in man coverage on top, and Enunwa runs across while Marshall cuts underneath for a quick hit pass. There is no deep safety on this play, and Enunwa again runs right at the defender causing him to go towards the sideline and away from the back pedaling safety towards the middle. This is a four man rush eventually, so there was enough time to let this play develop, as Enunwa was going to blow right by his defender. This is a play that won’t show up on the stat sheets, but illustrates the potential of Enunwa in this offense because the defense has to account for so many other things.
Another play that had potential, but went for naught. The Bengals have lined up with no deep safety, essentially playing Cover 0. Enunwa is matched up with a safety one on one in the slot to the left of the formation, and he runs at, and then right by him to be wide open down the field. The Bengals have a free blitzer on the play, but Fitzpatrick does a great job of stepping up in the pocket to avoid the blitz, but then destroys the goodwill by being locked into Decker and throwing this ball to the ground. Enunwa is going to be wide open on this play, as he has the speed to further distance himself from the safety going downfield.
While we highlighted good routes from Enunwa in this article, this is a horrible route from him. The Jets have called for a WR screen on this play, with Kellen Davis going in motion. The target for Davis on this play is the slot defender, but for some unknown reason, Enunwa is backpedaling on this catch. This creates numerous problems for this play. One, it takes longer for the ball to get into his hands since he’s creating more distance from his position and Fitzpatrick, which allows more reaction time for the defense. Second, the running lane is to the inside of Davis’ man, with the clog in the middle acting as a deterrent for Enunwa’s defender to tackle him. However, by backpedaling, Enunwa gave a clear lane for his defender to come and tackle him. This is evidence of him just not having experience with short screens, because the right play on this is to accelerate towards the ball and run to the inside of Davis, where there was ample room to run.
Blocking was one of Enunwa’s strong suit coming out of college, and it shows on this play. He goes in motion on the play, and his defender follows him to the other side. The main objective of Enunwa on this play is to get the defender out of the hash mark area, and also delay in engaging the block until the pass has been thrown. Enunwa does a good job of faking the route and selling it, causing his defender to follow him outside, and then engaging him in the block, sealing him off for Forte to run by. The defender does a good job of disengaging and then running down Forte in the end, but by then it’s a substantial gain. If he had engaged in blocking prior to the pass, then it would have resulted in a penalty, so the timing of the block on this play is excellent.
While Enunwa showed off good blocking on the last one, he completely misses his assignment on this play. He’s lined up in the slot for this running play, and his assignment involves sealing off the LB so the RB can run in space. However, he misses the assignment and the LB runs right around him, having a direct shot at the RB, forcing Forte to slant left. Enunwa is a good blocker, but there are instances in the game where he makes bad reads on blocks.
This one is a bit hard to see, but Enunwa does a good job of blocking here, allowing the RB to get to the edge. It’s not a big gain in the end, but Enunwa does his job. He’s in the slot on the right side, and blocks off the main LB that has a shot at Forte. It’s a good job of blocking and completing his assignment even though it doesn’t look pretty as he’s being driven backwards. He holds off his defender long enough for Forte to run by him, thus accomplishing his goal.
This is a catch that Enunwa most likely does not complete in past years. The Bengals are moving around in the formation, and in the last second a LB lines up against Enunwa. He does a good job of undercutting the LB while still maintaining most of his speed, and then turns up-field. He makes a very good hands catch with a defender draped all over him. Not only does he show good route running on this play, he shows excellent hands as this is a hands catch in traffic.
The end result of this play isn’t anything spectacular, but it is a good catch by Enunwa. This play mostly highlights the adjustment made by the Bengals more than anything. Remember the first TD pass in the end zone caught by Quincy? Well the Jets run a very similar play here in concept but Bengals sniff it out by switching their coverage. Pre-snap, the play should have the outside corner trying to stay with the outside WR, and following him up field. The idea is that Enunwa can get to the edge faster than the defender on him, slanting towards the inside. It’s the same idea that worked for the TD, but the Bengals blow this up by having the outside CB switch onto Enunwa on the out-route, leaving very little room to run after the catch. If you take him out of the picture, or at least 5 yards further down the field, this is a sizable gain. This throw is also behind Enunwa, as he has to turn around to make the catch, robbing him some momentum on the play.
This is by no means a good pass. It’s low, and a tad behind Enunwa, but he has to make this catch on 3rd and 5. While this article mostly signals out the improvements in his game, this is a blatant transformation back to the raw Enunwa we saw in years past. The play occurs on third and five, so the route by Enunwa is a mistake to begin with. His initial route trajectory seems to be around 5 yards deep, but he moves up when he sees a linebacker in his way. If anything, Enunwa needs to go behind the linebacker because it provides two distinct advantages for the Jets. One, the LB will now have to pick facing the QB, or turning around and finding Enunwa, making for an easier throw. If the LB is facing the QB, he doesn’t fully know where Enunwa has gone, thus slowing him down since he has to account for a route reversal as well. Second, Enunwa would be at or beyond the first down marker, so even if he doesn’t get away from the defender, he would have the first down as long as he catches the ball. This is a bad route and a bad drop by Enunwa.
Another good route and hands catch by Enunwa in a critical situation. He has man coverage on the outside on this play, and does a great stutter step with his defender, causing the defender’s hips to fly open as he moves towards the sideline. This creates an opening for Enunwa to cut inside on a slant, and he makes a great hands catch on this ball and turns up field for further yards. There is always a lot of debate about hands catching and body catching, especially at the draft, but this is a good example of how hands catching helps him retain his momentum going forward, as he just plucks the ball as he’s running. This very well could have been a completion with a body catch as well, but he would have had to stop or slow his momentum to jump up and secure the ball against his body before starting up again, resulting in less speed going forward, and more time for the defender to close in on him.
The Jets are carrying four QBs, which is rare for an NFL team, but one of the reasons they have this luxury is because of Quincy Enunwa. He is the 3rd WR on the team, but also a gadget player this week, acting as a RB, H-Back, Gunner, and trusted blocker. He might be the biggest reason why Jace Amaro was let go from the team. He has made massive improvements in his route running and catching ability, but teams do not respect the Jets deep passing game right now, which limits his potential this year. He should be an exciting player to watch as he develops.
He reminds me of Delanie Walker of the Titans. He was another guy that was a slow developer, and he didn’t break out until his eight season in the league. Enunwa in his second year in the league posted 21 catches, 315 yards, 0 TD, while Walker in his second year posted 21 catches, 174 yards, 1 TD. According to the website Mockdraftable, Quincy Enunwa is the third most comparable comparison based on combine stats for Delaine Walker.
Who is your best comparable for Quincy Enunwa?
What do you think his ceiling is?