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It’s time to go over the hot questions about the Jets right now with the publisher and get some answers. Here we go . . .
1. How did new starting quarterback Bryce Petty perform against the 49ers, and what are the expectations for him?
Leberfeld: Got off to a rough start throwing a pick on his first throw, a quick out to wide receiver Quincy Enunwa that cornerback Jimmy Ward saw coming all the way. His first half performance was underwhelming.
The second half he was a little better, but overall, it was running back Bilal Powell who carried the offense, rushing 29 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Petty’s two best plays were a two-point conversion run where he showed an indomitable will dragging tacklers into the end zone. This made it 17-14, and got the Jets in field goal range. The other play of note was a 26-yard pass to Plantation’s Robby Anderson in overtime, getting the Jets in field goal range (they ended up getting a Powell TD run instead).
While he certainly showed a lot of moxie, he’s a major work-in-progress. He struggles with his progressive scans and his pocket presence isn’t great (doesn’t sense the rush that well). He still has a lot of work to do to wean himself off Art Briles gimmicky Baylor offense that doesn’t translate to the NFL.
2. How would you assess the Jets’ competitiveness level in recent weeks now that they’re out of the playoff picture?
Leberfeld: Their competitiveness has been fine.
When they got blown out by Indianapolis the narrative popped up that they quit. Not true. That is a cliche answer you often here in lopsided games. That game wasn’t an effort issue, but more terrible execution and mental errors.
Also, the Jets pass rush was non-existent against the Colts, and when you combine that with poor pass coverage, what do you expect against a QB like Andrew Luck – a blowout. It was like he was playing seven-on-seven.
And then with the game out of hand, they went to Bryce Petty in the second half replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick, looking to the future.
Against the 49ers, they got off to a terrible start. Poor execution, more than poor effort. And then they showed a lot of determination battling back from a 17-3 deficit and winning the game in overtime.
So they have been playing hard. The only effort issue has been a veteran cornerback who doesn’t seem that into tackling anymore, but aside from that, plenty of good motors have been on display.
3. How would you evaluate the season that former Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall?
Leberfeld: He’s been good, not great. He’s battled a lot of low extremity injuries. Also, when Bryce Petty plays, which has been a two and a half games, he doesn’t see the ball as much as when Ryan Fitzpatrick played, and there is a simple reason why – like a lot of young quarterbacks, Petty isn’t comfortable with things like back shoulder throws, throwing guys open, 50-50 balls and so forth. Like a lot of raw youngsters, Petty needs guys to flash open to throw to them. Marshall doesn’t have great speed, so he’s not the kind of guy who is going to get wide open very often. Fitzpatrick would throw him plenty of ball in tight spaces and let him win jump balls. Petty doesn’t do this. So down the stretch, with Petty at quarterback, don’t expect a lot of production from Marshall.
4. The Jets had the top-ranked rushing defense when they came to Hard Rock Stadium but they’re now 17th; what has been the issue?
Leberfeld: A few issues. They are starting a 232-pound rookie at the inside linebacker position next to David Harris. Lee is not really built to play 3-4 ILB. He has trouble shedding blocks from offensive linemen. The 250-pound Harris is good at this. He’s built for it. Lee isn’t. Lee is more of a Tampa Bay or Carolina linebacker, doing his best work behind a four-man line running sideline to sideline making plays. He’s not a stack-and-shed linebacker. On a few of Carlos Hyde’s big runs in San Francisco, Lee was taken out of the play by a pulling offensive linemen.
Also, the Jets haven’t been getting the best play in run support from the outside linebacker position where they are trying some different young guys.
On top of all this, they have a starting cornerback who seems to have developed a distaste for tackling.
So there you have it.
5. What is the mood around the team as they approach this game?
Leberfeld: The mood is good. The Jets have a good locker room. The problem with this team is related to slow starts and some player personnel deficiencies (that won’t be fixed until the off-season), not attitude.
So their mood is fine. They will play hard, but not sure they are good enough to beat the Dolphins.
Even though he’s a backup, Matt Moore is much better than Bryce Petty, who like most young quarterbacks is struggling mightily reading defenses. I’m not ripping Petty. It’s not a lack of effort. He works really hard and is super tough, but not sure he trusts his eyes just yet.
December 14, 2016
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