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There is no way around it.
This isn’t an ideal matchup for the Jets’ linebackers.
We are talking about 6-3 247-pound running back Derrick Henry against 5-11 225 pound linebacker Quincy Williams and 6-2, 216-pound linebacker Jamien Sherwood.
A play in last week’s Titan win over Indy illustrates the challenge Henry presents for undersized linebackers.
Darius Leonard (6-2, 230) is one of the best linebackers in football. He just signed a monster contract extension. On a screen pass in the second quarter, Henry steamrolled Leonard, picking up 14-yards on the play.
The play become a national story because the video went viral, and Leonard was asked about the play after the game.
“Well he’s about 270 pounds playing running back,” said Leonard. “He’s got great vision and their offensive scheme puts him in position to have mismatches on the outside.”
Leonard made it obvious that it’s hard for an undersized linebacker to tackle him one-on-one, so gang-tackling is must.
“We have to be great with our crack replace and linebackers scraping over the top, and making sure that we have seven-plus to the ball,” Leonard said.
It will be interesting to see how Sherwood and Williams fair against a running back who outweighs Sherwood by 31 pounds and Williams by 22 pounds . . .
No excuse for how poorly their offense has played for 10 of 12 quarters (the second half vs. Carolina wasn’t bad), but they faced three really good defenses.
“To the naked eye, we played three really good football teams (Panthers, Patriots and Broncos) and three really big defenses,” said Robert Saleh. “Carolina’s undefeated and Denver’s undefeated. All three of them have top five defenses, so this has been a rough indoctrination for quarterback in our offense but at the same time we do expect plays to be made and progression to be made.”
Well their offense and rookie QB won’t get a break this week with Bill Belichick-disciple Mike Vrabel coming to town. But the challenge doesn’t stop with Vrabel. After the 2020 season, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz resigned, saying he was taking a break from the NFL.
Well, that respite didn’t last very long. On April 7, he was hired by the Titans as a senior defensive assistant.
Schwartz is one of the top defensive minds in football. One of his former players called him a “mastermind.”
Last week, the Titans limited the Indianapolis Colts to 178 yards passing. Their pass rush made Carson Wentz uncomfortable all afternoon, led by linebacker Ola Adeniyi, who had 1.5 sacks. Not going to lie. I had never heard of Adeniyi before doing research for this article, but he’s obviously pretty good. He entered the league in 2018 as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo. And aside from Adeniyi, they have several other good pass rushers like Harold Landry, Bud Dupree (status or the game unknown) and stud DT Jeffrey Simmons on the interior. The Tennessee defense had a total of 10 QB hits on Wentz.
So this Vrabel/Schwartz strategic combo on defense will be the fourth significant challenge in a row for Wilson and company . . .
Jets OC Mike LaFleur is calling the games from the sidelines. The reason given was that Zach Wilson prefers he’s down on the sidelines so they can go over things between series.
I respectfully disagree with this rationale. Is it important for LaFleur to talk to Wilson between series? No doubt, but they can do it on the headset. I know it’s not exactly the same, but honestly, what is more important for the Jets’ offense right now, LaFleur calling better games, or him being on the sidelines coach to talk to Wilson between series?
LaFleur should perhaps be upstairs, especially since he’s a first-time NFL play-caller. You can see the all-22 better up there, and would probably help his football chess playing ability against opposing defensive coordinators. For a rookie play-caller being down on the sidelines, where he can’t see the defense as well, maybe isn’t the best approach. I could be wrong, but that is how I look at it.
September 30, 2021
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