Three Up, Three Down From Jets' Loss To Browns

The highs and lows for the Jets, after falling to 0-2
Michael Nania
Thu, September 19, 8:39 AM EDT

Three Up:

 

Le’Veon Bell

 

For the second week in a row, the Jets needed Le’Veon Bell to carry the offense, and he was up to the task yet again.

Bell racked up a whopping 31 touches for the Jets. He ran the ball 21 times for 68 yards, and caught 10 passes for 61 yards, gaining a total of 129 yards from scrimmage.

Now, on the surface, Bell’s efficiency numbers from the game do not look good. He averaged 3.2 yards per carry and 6.1 yards per reception. Both numbers are below average.

However, it needs to be understood that for the second straight game, Bell was vastly out-producing what was blocked for him. The Jets offensive line was anemic yet again, but Bell was able to keep the Jets offense on track. He forced 11 missed tackles, leading the NFL for the second consecutive week. His total of 20 missed tackles so far is six more than any other player in the league (Austin Ekeler ranks second with 14).

Without Bell, it seems like the Jets may not have scored any points throughout their first two games.

Once the Jets offense can get a healthy Sam Darnold on the field, it’s exciting to think about what these two can do together. We couldn’t really see them at full strength in Week 1 due to the fact that Darnold was playing with mononucleosis – hopefully the Jets can get the pair back together while they still have a shot at the playoffs.

 

Steve McLendon

 

Ever since joining the Jets prior to the 2016 season, Steve McLendon has continuously been one of the most underrated players on the team. The veteran defensive tackle’s impact is profound, as he consistently creates a huge amount of penetration up front.

McLendon is solid against the pass, but that isn’t where he makes his money. It’s in the run game where McLendon really does some damage. He had a phenomenal game defending the run against the Browns, racking up four run stuffs (tackles in the run game for two yards or less and no first down). That was tied for the second-most among defensive tackles in Week 2 (Derek Wolfe led the league with five).

He rarely gets praise heaped his way by the general audience, but McLendon consistently goes out and gets the dirty work done in the trenches, helping to keep the Jets defense afloat. Few Jets have executed their assignments as consistently as McLendon has over the past few years, and it looks like the 33-year old has still got it.

 

Tarell Basham

 

The Jets are sore for help at edge rusher, with Brandon Copeland serving a four-game suspension and Jordan Jenkins leaving the Browns game with an injury that will have him sidelined on a week-to-week basis.

Enter Tarell Basham. He had an impressive game against the Browns, racking up a total of seven pressures. That total tied him for the fifth-most among edge defenders in Week 2.

One of those pressures was a sack, in which Basham showcased some great bend off the edge to beat left tackle Greg Robinson and bring down Baker Mayfield.

He was active in the run game as well, notching two run stuffs and halting a third down run short of the sticks.

 

Three Down:

 

Offensive line

 

It was a flat-out brutal outing for the entire offensive line. Le’Veon Bell was given almost no yardage before contact, while Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk faced constant pressure.

Each of Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters, and Brandon Shell had rough games. However, the worst of the bunch was easily left tackle Kelvin Beachum. He allowed five pressures, two of those sacks, while also taking a whopping three penalties. Myles Garrett absolutely dominated Beachum throughout the game.

Kalil is starting to look like a mistake. He doesn’t have it physically, and he has been in the middle of communication issues due to the fact he joined the team late.

Changes are going to need to be made soon across this unit.

 

Leonard Williams

 

Williams had a rough game, getting pushed around in the trenches. It was a rare down game for the stalwart, who usually provides the Jets with good run defense and a healthy dosage of pressure.

Leo got behind the line of scrimmage as a pass rusher quite a few times, but he struggled mightily to finish sacks and tackles behind the line. He was Pro Football Focus’ second-worst graded interior defensive tackle of the week (among players to play at least 50% of their team’s defensive snaps).

There was hope Williams could have a huge season this year, given that it is a contract season for him and he is getting the chance to play in Gregg Williams’ aggressive scheme. It just hasn’t happened thus far. The way things are trending, it is not looking like extending Williams would be a smart move for the Jets. He is a solid player, but he continues to prove that he is not a game-changer.

 

Tight ends

 

The Jets have sorely missed second-year tight end Chris Herndon, who is serving a four-game suspension to start the season. The Miami product looked like a future star as a rookie, but the team has had to tread water without him over the first quarter of the season.

So far, the results have not been good. The tight ends relieving Herndon have struggled mightily in all aspects.

In the receiving game, the Jets have gotten nothing out of this group. Starter Ryan Griffin has caught three of five targets for 10 yards so far, gaining an atrocious average of 2.0 yards per target. He didn’t catch any passes against Cleveland. Daniel Brown and Trevon Wesco have no receptions in either game.

The results in the blocking game have been just as bad. Griffin and Brown have struggled immensely with their blocking, giving up pressure at much too high of a rate and creating little push in the run game.

Chris Herndon can’t come back soon enough. His strong pass protection and versatile receiving ability will add dimensions to the offense that have been missing.

 

By Michael Nania

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