Charting the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Lions Defense Yesterday New York Jets Hoodie
, I took a look at some of the player vs. player and position vs. position matchups where either side of the Jets-Lions matchup could have a sizable advantage. Today, let’s look into the 2017 Lions in more depth and learn about where they thrived and struggled last season.PASS DEFENSEAll rankings are according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-adjusted value over average), an ultimate one-number efficiency metric that includes penalties, situations, and opponent strength among other factors to capture true total efficiency.Here is a look at the 2017 Detroit pass defense broken down by matchup.The clear strength for Detroit was their ability to stop opposing top wide receivers. The obvious reason for that? Darius Slay. Slay has evolved into a top corner in the league. He led the league in interceptions last year with 8, and was ranked as Pro Football Focus’ #16 cornerback. His length and physicality allow him to match up very well with the types of receivers he faces outside. I think Robby Anderson is in for a tough night - but it is also an opportunity for him to prove he can round out his game and be an every-week threat.Detroit struggled a bit handling the rest of the wide receivers they faced. #2 outside corner Nevin Lawson struggled last season, and at only 5’9 could be a mismatch against the basketball lineup that is the Jets wide receiver core.Here is a look at the Lions’ pass defense based on pass direction and depth. Short passes are categorized as less than 15 yards through the air, deep passes 15 yards or more through the air.Detroit excelled defending the deep portion of the field on the right side. The Lions allowed only 1 deep right touchdown and allowed only a 24% first down rate on targets in that portion of the field - second best in the league. This could be significant since the deep right portion of the field was the Jets’ best friend in the pass game last year. Through the prolific combination of Robby Anderson and Josh McCown, the Jets led the league with 10 deep right touchdowns and ranked second with a 53% first down rate on those targets. It’s possible that Anderson will not have the same rapport with Darnold, but nevertheless, it is worth noting that the Jets’ greatest offensive strength last year is matched by one of Detroit’s greatest defensive strengths.RUSH DEFENSEHere is a look at the Lions’ rush defense in 2017 based on adjusted line yards (yards per attempt adjusted to assign responsibility to the offensive line) allowed by rush direction. These numbers are from the offensive perspective - so a left end rush listed below would be directed towards the right side of the defense.The Lions struggled most defending the run game between the A gaps. Detroit allowed 4.36 yards per carry (5th-worst) and a 26.7% first down rate (3rd-worst) on those carries last year.This could be a good opportunity for Isaiah Crowell. I mentioned in yesterday’s piece that Bilal Powell was among the league’s most efficient rushers outside of the tackles last season - the opposite is true for Crowell. He ranked 4th in the league in rushing yards directed between the guards, with 616, picking up 4.6 yards per carry Youth Customized New York Jets Jerseys
, 3rd best among the top 40 running backs in middle carries.How do you think the Jets should attack the Lions defense? Following an atrocious outing in Jacksonville, the Jets offensive line came back home and played a great game against the Broncos. Much credit is due to Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell for their work in making defenders to miss to get the run game going, but the line played just as big a role in the rushing outburst. They also had a strong performance in pass protection.Let’s dive in!Previous editions: Pre 1, Pre 2, Pre 3, Pre 4, W1-DET, W2-MIA, W3-CLE, W4-JAXAs I will always mention, it is impossible to capture everything with the stats, but with this series I hope to capture the most impactful plays accumulated by each linemen, both positive and negative www.jetsfootballauthentics.com
, to help better our perspective on their production levels. Every single snap does matter, and here we will only be grading a small portion of those snaps, but this data can still help shape our opinions on players more properly and truly. Do not use these numbers as final judgement, but as useful evidence.Here’s what I’ve been tracking:Stuffs (runs for 2 yards or less and no first down) allowed in the run gameRushing first downs assisted“Setup runs” assisted (which I now define as a 5+ yard pickup on 1st-3rd down that did not result in a first down). Despite not resulting in a first down, these kinds of pickups are still positive plays that deserve to be tracked.Sacks allowedQB hits allowedQB pressures allowed (pressure counts include all throws affected by pressure, forced rollouts/dodged defenders, forced throwaways, throwing directly over/around a deeply penetrating defender, footwork/mechanics forced to adjust due to pressure, etc.)Deflections allowed (occurrences when allowing the currently engaged defender to bat/deflect a pass at the line)Open field assists (blocking assists for significant extra yardage/first down by any player, OL or skill position, in the pass game while a pass receiver has the football)Pass blocking snaps (Pass blocking snaps now counted for all players rather than just the base five linemen. Team pass attempts + sacks)Penalties (Total accepted, yards New York Jets T-Shirt
, first downs/scores wiped out, and declined)Here are the numbers for the Jets in Week 5!Some notes from me:Brandon Shell’s matchup against Von Miller drew attention leading into the game - and he delivered. Shell pitched his second shutout of the year (along with the Detroit game) on my chart, as with a little bit of help from some extra protection, he played a role in keeping Miller unusually quiet.Run blocking was tremendous in this game. Pro Football Focus somehow thinks the Jets run blocked better against Jacksonville when they had 34 rushing yards than they did in this game when they had 325. That is complete blasphemy to me.The Jets picked up 11 first downs on the ground this week and had 6 setup runs, compared to 10 stuffs. There were so many players blocking well, that I handed out a whopping 53 total assists this week. Comparatively, I gave out 57 over the first four weeks combined.Spencer Long and Brian Winters tied for the team lead with 8 assists apiece. Kelvin Beachum had 7, Brian Winters had 6, and Brandon Shell had 5.Spencer Long allowed a sack for the third straight game. While he had his best game of the year as a run blocker, his pass protection issues have continued. This is becoming very troubling. Pass protection was supposed to be what Long could hang his hat on. For a center, allowing a sack in three straight games is terrible. He needs to get back on track.More production from the skill positions. Bilal Powell, Jordan Leggett, Eric Tomlinson New York Jets Hats
, and Chris Herndon combined for only 1 pressure allowed (via Leggett) on 12 protection snaps. Herndon and Tomlinson each had 4 rushing assists, while Leggett had 3. Four wide receivers contributed assists as well.FILMThe pass blocking was not perfect in this game, but it was very solid. The Jets were able to execute quite a few long-developing deep pass plays thanks to the quality of the protection up front. A more aggressive downfield attack will certainly yield more pressure here and there as plays take longer to unfold, but when the protection holds up like it did on Robby Anderson’s first touchdown, great things happen.Here is the aforementioned first Anderson touchdown. Leggett (right of picture) and Tomlinson (left) do a great job holding the edges against the bull rushing outside linebackers who have a full head of steam. The inside five do not implode against 3 rushers, something we have seen from them before. Sam Darnold has a clean pocket to drop this dime from.The Jets allocated a lot of pass protection in this game, one week after I questioned why they did not use enough extra help while they were getting smashed up front.While that helped a great deal, there were times when the Jets were just flat out winning up front. Check out both Shell and Beachum here. Shell holds his own against Derek Wolfe, and Beachum does a tremendous job 1-on-1 with Von Miller. You can’t ask for much better from your tackles.Some great and bad here. Leggett (left) allows pressure to Miller, who gets him with a swim move. Long passes off the nose tackle to Carpenter, who is late to recognize it and allows pressure up the middle.In spite of that, take a look at Brian Winters. He absolutely flattens Shane Ray here.Winters is capable of those kinds of highlights. I think he’s the most highlight-worthy lineman on this front, by far. That doesn’t necessarily mean the best New York Jets Womens Hoodie
, as he has had his share of rough patches this year. However, when he wins, he tends to win big.The Jets ran a lot of double teams against the Broncos’ light fronts, and had a ton of success with them. Here, Beachum and Carpenter take out the defensive tackle before Carpenter moves to the next level and seals the linebacker. Tomlinson holds the edge. Kearse chips in holding his defender out of the running lane. Crowell just has to make one defender miss to break out a huge run.More of the same. Shell allows the outside linebacker to run himself out of the play. Long and Winters double team the tackle, then Winters heads to the linebacker at the second level.The wide receivers played their part in creating extra yardage down the field. Here, Anderson (bottom) does a good job sealing Bradley Roby out of the play to secure this first down for Crowell.Get yourself a quarterback who can do all three. He can throw. He can run. And you bet he can block.Following this cutback by Powell, Darnold leads him down the field and actually clears up some extra yardage with a nice block on the DB. It might not be wise for Darnold to be running in the open field like this, but you can’t help but appreciate the hustle he displays here. Here are the total numbers for the Jets on the year to date!