Dan’s intriguing look at the Front Seven

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How did the Jets Front Seven play in Indianapolis? Not bad, but there is room for improvement. The Colts, a very average running team, ran for almost 100 yards, and the Jets had just one sack. Let’s take a look.


One disappointing aspect of this game was the Jets pass rush. I know they chose to play extra guys in coverage quite a bit, and limited their pass rushers, but they really didn’t take advantage of a undrafted free agent rookie right tackle – Jeff Linkenbach. You’ve got to do more against a guy like this, who has played very little this year. He was subbing from Ryan Diem, who was out with a bad back. Good pass rush teams take advantage of guys like this, whether they are playing “coverage” or not.

The underrated Mike DeVito had a very good game. Six tackles is a very good outing for a 3-4 end. DeVito had a nice stop on Dominique Rhodes on the first run of the second quarter around the line.

Trevor Pryce was active, taking Vernon Gholston’s role as the backup end, and had three tackles.

We all know the Jets like to lineup the 6-5 Pryce over centers on occasion, and he had one play of note doing this, in the middle of the fourth quarter. Pryce did a nice job of shedding Jeff Saturday quickly, and stopping Addai after just a gain of two.

Shaun Ellis was kind of quiet, finishing with just one tackle, but it was for a loss. It was the Colts’ first offensive play after the Jets tied the score at 7-7. Ellis stopped RB Joe Addai, on the left side, for a loss of one.

Sione Pouha was a little under the radar in this game. The Pro Bowl center, Saturday, did a very good job on the Jets’ nose tackle. As we have mentioned before, the squatty Pouha, tends to play better against tall centers, he can get under. The 6-2 Saturday was a bad matchup for him.

One rough play for Pouha was on a third-and-one, in the middle of the second quarter. Saturday locked him up, and Dominique Rhodes gained three yards, and a first down.

Another short, squatty lineman, guard Kyle DeVan (6-2, 306), drove the nose tackle off the ball, and Addai gained five up the middle.

But is should be mentioned, that on the aforementioned two plays, Pouha was involved in each tackle, so to his credit, his motor kept running, even after having some issues initially.

Let’s turn to the linebackers.

Bart Scott had just three tackles again.

Scott had a very nice play in pass coverage on the first series, breaking up a pass on the short right side to TE Jacob Tamme.

On the first play of the Colts’ third series, Scott stopped Rhodes on the line, on the right side. On the next play, Manning rushed to get the play off, and he caught the Jets with 12 players on the field, and they were flagged.

On an Addai gain of eight yards in the middle of the second quarter to the left side, Scott overran the play.

Scott did a great job of shedding Tamme, and stopped Rhodes on the line, forcing a fourth quarter field goal. Scott shared this tackle with Brodney Pool.

David Harris was very active, finishing with nine tackles.

Late in the first quarter, Harris was beat for a gain of 12 on a short pass to Rhodes on the left side. Four plays later, on the last play of the first quarter, Harris looked like he was shot out of cannon, tracking down Rhodes on a sweep to the left side, for no gain. A few plays later, early in the second, Harris had a terrific stop on Addai around the line.

Harris had a huge play in the third quarter. On a third-and-one, Harris stopped a run by Rhodes for a loss of one on the right side, and this forced the Colts to kick a field goal.

Bryan Thomas had a terrific play at the end of the first quarter. He blew by Devan to stop Rhodes for a loss of two.

Calvin Pace had kind of a gimme sack at the end of the first half. Jason Taylor had a QB pressure, forcing Manning out of the pocket, and the QB took a dive, to prevent getting hit (that is why he doesn’t miss games, he’s great at self-preservation), and Pace jumped on him, and got the sack.

The Jets pass rush wasn’t great in this game, and they probably aren’t going to turn into the “Purple People-Eaters” a week later, so the coverage strategy Rex Ryan deployed against Manning, will likely be used again, with a few new wrinkles, against Brady.

I hate to belabor the point, but the Jets desperately need somebody like Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan (pictured), a pass rusher who changes the game, but that will have to wait until April.

So for now, coverage is the way to go, with occasional blitzes.

Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeldhttps://www.jetsconfidential.com
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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