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Timeout Fiasco – Defensive Review

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The week before the Super Bowl is one of the worst weeks to be a Jets fan.  There are countless stories of hope and joy coming from other teams, especially the two teams in the championship game.  Furthermore, there are countless coaching changes that cause fan bases to dream on the new coach’s ability to lead their team to the promised land.  It’s a time of hope, joy, and cautious optimism.  So in natural Jets fashion, we review some more disasters from this past season to drive you into depression.  Let’s review how the Jets crumbled after time outs, and for this week we are looking at the defensive side of the ball.

(Note:  We are skipping over timeouts to save clock prior to punts/kicks or when the game is out of reach and it’s just trying to save time)

Week 1:

2nd & 8, 3rd Quarter

Our first play comes in the 3rd quarter after the Jets call a time out.  The Bengals come in a three wide look, with A.J. Green matched up with Revis to the left of the formation.  This is just a horrible play call by the Jets because Revis is on an island with Green, but he is giving up eight yards off the line of scrimmage.  Not only that, but Revis has his hips turned to the inside, meaning he has turn around one hundred and eighty degrees just to turn with Green.  Like this wasn’t enough, the outside receiver on the right side of formation is also open for the pass, while the slot corner plays the outside release without any help to the inside, thus leaving him open as well.  The Jets called timeout to draw up this gem of a play, as they couldn’t have drawn up an easier pass for Dalton.

Verdict:  Bad Play

Week 2:

There is no relevant time out called.

Week 3:

There is no relevant time out called, the Jets called timeouts late in fourth quarter when they really didn’t have a shot in the game.

Week 4:

1st & 6, 4th Quarter

So the Seahawks are driving in the fourth quarter, and the Jets call a time out to stall their drive.  The offense comes out with a bunch formation close to the line to the right of the formation, and a single receiver to the left of the formation.   So what do the Jets call here on first and goal on the six yard line?  Ignore the RB coming out of the backfield.   It’s another easy pass against this defense, as they completely ignore the running back.  There is no excuse to not have someone cover the running back in this situation.  It looks like the safety is lost while looking into the backfield and completely discards the running back out of the backfield.

Verdict:  Bad Play

Week 5:

2nd & 10, 2nd Quarter

The Jets call timeout to slow down the Steelers and then came up with this gem of a play.  The Steelers come with a two receivers to the right side of the formation, with a third receiver going in motion to the left side of the formation.  The Steelers run a complicated set here that seems to confuse the defense with a defense with a screen pass to the tight end.  The RB is running a wheel route out of the backfield, which causes a double team on him out in the open.  The Jets decide to absolutely leave the TE alone and the Steelers get a free eight yards because the defense just got confused with an exotic play by the Steelers.  The TE (James) acted as if he was blocking, while the entire middle of the defense was confused by a crossing receiver, and the wheel route by the running back.  As if this wasn’t enough, the receiver running the crossing route would have been open as well.  As usual, Ben Roethlisberger could have stayed in the pocket for another ten seconds before facing pressure, which is weird since they are setting up a screen pass.  Usually on a screen pass, they allow the defenders to go up the field, but the Jets couldn’t even get pressure in this occasion.

Verdict:  Bad Play

1st and Goal, 2nd Quarter

This timeout is a bit less tactical because it comes on the heels of an injury to David Harris.  Nevertheless, the Jets were charges with the time out in the game.  The Steelers come out with four receivers and a TE, and the Jets rush four guys.  The defensive plan here is to double team both receivers to the left of the formation (4 on 2) and leave the middle of the field open, which has a one on one match up with Pryor and the TE.  Calvin Pryor decides to hold onto TE, drawing a penalty on the Jets.  The pass eventually goes for an incomplete pass but the Jets got called for a penalty.  Notice the amount of time Roethlisberger has in the pocket, and then compare it to the time that Bryce Petty normally saw in the pocket in the other reviews.  The vaunted Jets defensive line had four guys rush and they didn’t come close to touching the QB.

Verdict:  Bad Play

3rd & 5, 4th Quarter

The Jets are desperately trying to hold the Steelers down in the 4th quarter, and they get burned again.  The Steelers have a stacked formation to the left of the formation, with a single receiver to the right of the formation.  They run crossing routes on two tiers across the middle and the Jets get beat in the middle for a TD.  The outside defenders are shading the receivers to the outside to drive them inside, yet the Jets have one player to defend in the middle, which makes this an easy TD.  If this was not a TD to the receiver, there is a receiver open behind him as well.  Notice the amount of space for the QB as well, as he can sit there and find the open receiver.

Verdict:  Bad Play

Week 6:

 There are no relevant timeouts for the defense, although there is three of them for the offensive section.  

Week 7:

There are no relevant timeouts for the defense.

Week 8:

 There are no relevant timeouts for the defense.

Week 9:

2nd & 11, 4th Quarter

The Dolphins were driving in the 4th quarter in a close game, and the Jets call a time out on 2nd and 11 to try and get the ball back.   The Dolphins spread the formation out with stacked receivers to both sides of the field.  The Dolphins run the ball again, and Jay Ajayi runs for sixteen yards to end the game.  This is a horrible play call because there are about three different ways the Dolphins could have ended this game on this play.  The Jets have corner backs playing five yards off the line of scrimmage, so if this was a bubble screen to either receiver, there is no way the Jets would have tackled them before the first down.  As if that wasn’t enough, the RB is lined up to the right of the QB, yet the Jets leave the right side of the field open for a run, as the defender fails to set the edge, going for the QB.  This is just horrible coaching by the staff and play recognition by the defenders.  There is no reason for him to run at the QB, because it is either a rush (at which point he just failed to set the edge) or it’s a quick screen pass (at which point he won’t get to him before the pass).

Verdict:  Bad Play

Week 10:

1st & Goal, 3rd Quarter

A good play? Yes, that is right folks.  Jeff Fisher comes with a play out of the Rex Ryan playbook with a single receiver to the right of the formation, and another receiver running across the formation prior to the snap.  The Jets do a great point on penetrating the line here and stopping Todd Gurley for a loss.  This play is actually similar to the last play with Ajayi, but Deon Simon does a great job of shedding his block on this play.  If Simon doesn’t shed his block, Gurley has the same opening as Ajayi on the last play, as they have a blocker set up to run in front of Gurley.

Verdict:  Good play

2nd & 15, 4th Quarter

This is a great play by the defense, as the Rams are trying to gain some yards on this screen pass to make this a manageable third down play.  The Jets defend it perfectly here and sniffs out the screen pass.  There isn’t much to analyze, they cover all the receivers well on this play and it seems like they expected the short pass here.

Verdict:  Good Play

3rd & 17, 4th Quarter

The Rams are being extremely conservative here, and they decide the run the ball here instead of trying to take a shot down the field because they do have a three point lead at this juncture of the game.  The only negative aspect on this play is that, on a third and seventeen, the Jets have a deep safety matched up with a slot receiver.  While the Rams aren’t going to take that shot, it’s a defensive formation that a better QB might take advantage of in the future.

Verdict:  Good Play

Week 12:

3rd & 5, 2nd Quarter

The Jets called a time out on third down because they didn’t like the formation, so they got together, and came up with a horrible play.  The Patriots come out with a three receiver set, and Brady makes a great throw here.  This is just a HOF QB taking advantage of a one on one match up with the safety too far off to make an impact.  With a pre-snap read, you can see that the safety is too far away from the play, so Brady knows that the outside defender is not likely to play the underneath route.  This works as a back shoulder throw and if it was just that, then this is a good play call, but a better play by Tom Brady.  Unfortunately, if you look to the other side of the field, the Jets get destroyed.  First, the crossing route is wide open for an easy pass down the middle.  And then the wheel route out of the slot is open down the field is open as well.  This is a case of the Patriots just being better at coaching their players because the defenders look lost to the right of the formation.

Verdict:  Bad Play

3rd & 12, 3rd Quarter

The Jets are trying to stop the Patriots to a FG attempt, and completely ignores the RB coming out of the backfield.  The Patriots again show how they have multiple option on this play, as the outside receiver to the right of the formation is wide open down the middle as well on a crossing route.  Brady hits the RB out of the backfield, as he runs to the first down marker.   There are a ton of match ups here the Jets are bound to lose.  The running back out of the backfield is being covered by the deep safety, so he’s bound to get a good eight yards before he has to face a defender.  We already mentioned the outside receiver.  Watch the slot receiver next to the outside receiver on this play, because he’s running the deep route on this play and the Jets aren’t ready to defend it.  The outside corner back is tasked with the slot receiver down the field, but notice how the route turns outside around the same time the defender is turning inside, absolutely negating the defense.  It doesn’t go noticed when the play is away from the receiver, but this is absolutely a great set up for plays, where the Pats had three options to pick up major yardage on this play.   It’s clear that the offensive scheme of the Pats just isn’t a match for this defensive staff.

Verdict:  Bad Play

2nd & 7, 4th Quarter

The Jets are trying to stop the Patriots again to a FG, and they come out with a one receiver set.  They run the ball right through the Jets for five yards to set up and 3rd and short.  There are two things wrong with this play besides the Pats just running the ball down the middle.  One, there is no reason for the safety to be apprehensive on this play because a first down ends the game so he shouldn’t be near the back hoping to run down the defender.  With another defender in the area to set the edge, the safety to the right side of the formation should be hitting the gaps, and shows a lack of situational awareness.  The second is the coverage by Revis on this play, with the lone receiver.  He is on an island, yet he is running backwards as soon as the play is in motion with no safety help.  If the receiver runs a crossing route, he will be wide open because Revis won’t be able to close that gap even if he regained his speed.  The only play there is for Revis to play inside man coverage, and force a perfect throw to the receiver, because if this was a pass, it’s an easy audible for Tom Brady.

Verdict:  Bad Play

3rd & 2, 4th Quarter

It’s the very next play, and this run ends the game for the Jets.  The Patriots come in the exact same formation, and once again the Jets clearly get out-coached.  Notice the two defenders to the right of the formation, there is no need for two of them to be there.  If the ball carrier gets close to the safety on this play, the game is over for the Jets anyway.  The safety needs to be at the line of scrimmage to set the edge on the left side of the formation.  It’s very clear what the Patriots saw when they called the last play.  They saw an outside defender and a safety being wasted on the right side of the formation, so they have a numbers advantage to the left side of the formation, and they took full advantage.  It’s just terrible coaching again, as the offense took an easy run to end this game.

Verdict: Bad Play

Week 13:

1st & 10, 1st Quarter

This is actually a tricky play to call, because it’s a bad defense with a good outcome.  The Colts are called for a holding penalty on this play, and TY Hilton drops the pass down the field.  TY Hilton is open down the field for this as the Jets are playing zone coverage, so he runs across the middle and Luck finds him down the field.  The QB throws this ball as he’s backpedaling, so it’s near the ground and Hilton can’t actually bring it in.  However, the Jets do a horrible job defending the fullback and the running back out of the backfield, as they are both open for a short pass with space to run.  The edge defender to the left of the formation actually turns around the wrong way while running back, taking himself out of the play if the ball had gone to the fullback.  Since the Jets got a penalty and a drop, it goes down as a good play, but it’s a bad call by the defense.

Verdict:  Good Play- Lucky

Week 14:

1st & 10, 1st Quarter

The Jets called this timeout after a big run by Carlos Hyde and needed a breather as they seemed tired.  The coaches drew up this brilliant play out of the time out.  The 49ers come out with four receivers and a TE, and the Jets are in a single high safety look.  They have five options on this play, and it’s arguable that four of them are relatively open on this play.  The outside receiver to the left of the formation (being played by Revis it looks like, can’t tell conclusively) is open on the slant route, and Jeremy Kerley is open in the slot with the slant route and he runs for about 27 yards.  The outside receiver to the right of the formation has a step on his defender for the go route, and the slot receiver to the right is open for a short pass.  This is just bad defense by the Jets because they leave easy slant routes to be open, instead of playing to the inside of these receivers with man coverage and an inaccurate QB.  The defense doesn’t have any fundamentals, as it just seems to be a lot of base formations that can easily be picked apart.

Verdict:  Bad Play

Week 15:

 Did not have any relevant plays to be highlighted.

Week 16:

3rd & 4, 2nd Quarter

The Jets called a timeout prior to the play to preserve time and get the ball back with about 45 seconds left in the half.  Instead, they saved time for the Patriots, who ended up scoring a TD on this drive with about 25 seconds to spare.  Go back to the first Patriots game, and watch the right side of the formation on the Brady back shoulder pass.  Remember how the crossing route was wide open from this similar formation?  Well the Patriots coaches picked up on it, because they ran a similar play, but this time they went to the open crossing pattern.  They have a RB out of the backfield running a secondary crossing pattern (if the middle linebacker goes too far to defend this one) as a back up option.  However, the Jets can’t cover the crossing pattern again, and they have an easy first down.  This is another horrible angle by the safety when it comes to the running back as he’s completely at the mercy of the runner when he cuts inside for the crossing route.  Just another horrible play call and execution by the Jets.

Verdict: Bad Play

1st & 10, 3rd Quarter

How does this happen?  They have 12 men on the field, after a time out.   There are instances with um-tempo teams where it’s hard to get the right personnel on the field in time, and sometimes people get confused.  Or there are late substitutions where the extra defender is trying to run off the field, but the astute QB snaps the ball just in time.  Neither of those circumstances are at play, as they not only sent out 12 people on this play, no one even realized it as they were set for the play.   Just utter incompetence.

Verdict: Bad Play

Week 17:

No relevant plays on defense.

Conclusion:

Bad Plays:  13

Good Plays:  3

Good Plays- Lucky: 1

After this exercise, it’s my conclusion that the Jets should just be prevented from calling timeouts on defense from here on out.  It’s just helping the other team set up a good play against this vanilla defense on most occasions.  Is it a coincidence that the only three really good plays came against a Jeff Fisher coached team?  In pretty much every other instance, the other coach came up with a good play that completely took advantage of the Jets defense.  It’s not a situation where the offense is better prepared more times than not, because the offensive side of this review splits more evenly.  The defensive coaches were consistently outclassed by their offensive counterparts on the other team.  The team seems to run a variety of vanilla defenses that neither have the ability to reach the QB, nor disrupt passing lanes.  They seem to lack fundamentals in setting up against simple crossing routes, and routinely give up big plays after time outs.

Forum Questions:

A) On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you that the defensive coordinator will be back?

B) Why do you think the Jets lack the ability to stop teams after time outs?  

The offensive side of this analysis will be posted later this week (or possibly next week since the Super Bowl takes precedence) and just a warning, it’s not completely inspiring either.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Article Was Written By Alvin

Avatar for 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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