New England Patriots vs. New York Jets-Part II

New England Patriots cornerback JC Jackson. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New England Patriots face the Jets looking to start a run of success to get their season back on track. The Patriots lost to the Cowboys in overtime last week to drop them to 2-4 while the Jets enjoyed a bye week last week after losing to the Falcons in London.

This will be the series finale for these two AFC East rivals this season unless both somehow miraculously make the postseason. The Pats convincingly won the first matchup and will be looking to do the same to get their first home victory this season. The Pats have won the last eleven against the Jets and will be hoping to make it twelve in a row on Sunday. The Jets collected their lone victory of the season against a depleted Titans club. Without much more delay, the game preview in “Who has the advantage when…” style:

New England Patriots’ Passing Attack

The Patriots’ passing game has slowly been rounding into form. Rookie passer Mac Jones has looked like the real deal while he has been let down by his pass catchers and blockers alike. He was solid against the Cowboys last week but seemed handcuffed by conservative play calling.

This may be a week where the Pats are extremely aggressive in the first quarter as the Jets have been outscored 30-0 in the opening frame while gaining a total of 79 yards in the first quarter through all five games. Another thing going for the Pats? The Jets are yet to collect an interception on defense.

Advantage: Patriots

Patriots Run the Ball

The Patriots running game has been up and down this season. It has shown signs of life before completely disappearing. Ball security has been an issue as well as Patriots’ running backs have accounted for 4 lost fumbles, a number that easily leads the league.

Despite the ball security issues, Damien Harris continues to run angry and provide highlight runs while rookie Rhamondre Stevenson showed some of his tantalizing ability last week. He could be in the mix to replace James White as the receiving back if he can clean up his pass protection and fumbling woes that have followed him from college.

The Jets feature a stingy running defense under first-year head coach Robert Saleh, allowing 123 rushing yards per game with a four-yard per carry average. Behind the Patriots shuffled offensive line, expect the Pats to just surpass that number Sunday.

Advantage: Push

Jets Pass the Ball

In the last matchup, the Pats had Wilson seeing ghosts to the tune of four interceptions. The Patriots’ secondary could use a repeat performance in a “get right” game. First, look at veteran safety Devin McCourty, who has played two consecutive games with uncharacteristic mistakes.

Then there’s Jalen Mills, who could use a confidence boost after being exposed by CeeDee Lamb last week. Wilson can make tremendous plays off script so the Patriots defense must stay disciplined and continue to cover the entire field regardless of what is happening upfront. Wilson has been sacked 18 times over the first five games of the Jets season, while the Patriots were finally held without a sack last week.

Look for Belichick to scheme up some pressure for Matt Judon and company from the offensive right side, forcing Wilson to move to his left and make awkward across-body throws on his unscripted plays.

Advantage: Patriots

Jets Run the Ball

The Jets have not been a good rushing team in 2021, averaging a paltry 74 yards on the ground per game. While the Patriots’ defense received much criticism early in the year for their run defense, their run fits have been exceptional since halftime against Houston. While the season numbers still reflect a group that struggled against the run early, this phase of the game is heavily on the rise in the last two weeks. Facing a flailing Jets rushing attack may help their case even further.

Advantage: Patriots

Special Teams

The Jets have had plenty of practice returning kickoffs this year as evidenced by their eleven attempted returns for a respectable average of 26.3 yards per. The Patriots have been a mixed bag in the third phase of the game, allowing two blocked punts and having some uncharacteristic miscues in other phases.

One area they’ve been solid? Their field goal unit with ex-Jet Nick Folk leading a charge for a Pro-Bowl season. Jake Bailey has found his rhythm again (when he can get the ball away), while Gunner Olszewski has featured some of his fearless return style. The Jets have been sound in their coverage units. The Pats need to execute their assignments here and play a mistake-free game.

Advantage: Jets

Coaching

While Belichick has been criticized for his conservative play calling, he also puts on a clinic when it comes to defensive football. Despite the high yardage total allowed to the Cowboys, his boys are still playing smart situational football. The Pats have gone toe-to-toe now with two world-class opponents and lost on last-minute plays. The last time these two teams met up, Belichick ran laps around his Jets counterpart. That should continue as Belichick’s hate for Gang Green is well known and he looks to get his team back on track.

Advantage: Patriots

Prediction

This will come down to the New England Patriots doing their jobs. They can play with the best teams in the league and have shown that they already outclass the Jets this season. However, they’ve also shown they can let inferior opponents hang around (the Texans) and haven’t quite figured out how to win when given the opportunity (games against the Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Cowboys).

This shouldn’t be a game that comes down to a single possession though. The Patriots will race out to an early lead before forcing Zach Wilson to make a few mistakes in the second half.

Pats win comfortably 31-13 to get their first home win.

New York Jets Week 5 Observations

New York Jets
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The National Football League abroad has produced a mixed bag of results since its conception in 2007. Week 5 proved no different, as the New York Jets fell flat against a scuffling Atlanta Falcons team, 27-20. It was a disappointing loss, especially after Week 4’s win against Tennessee. 

However, every loss is a lesson. Sunday’s was a reminder that development is rarely linear. Some young guys took encouraging steps forward, while others stumbled back a few steps. That process is natural, though it’s important to keep tabs as New York continues their rebuild.

Zach Wilson

There’s no hiding it, Zach Wilson was bad on Sunday. The routine looked overwhelming and the offense sputtered badly. Again, they struggled to start hot and get in a rhythm, and it ultimately never came to fruition.

Wilson’s fit of hiccups on the “easy” plays are concerning and likely the epitome of his rookie experience. When the bullets are flying, the mundane must be automatic. For Wilson, that is simply not yet the case. He missed multiple open screen passes and failed to capitalize when Mike LaFleur took advantage of Atlanta’s defense. It stagnated the offense and resulted in some egregiously poor football. 

The Running Backs

Michael Carter is here to stay. He may have only seen 52% of the snaps, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that he’s the most talented back New York has to offer. His contact balance, elusiveness, and upside on third down are all superior to his fellow committee members. Expect his snap share to stay above 50% moving forward.

I’ve harped on Ty Johnson frequently, but his trip to London was fairly successful. He had a nice cut for a one-yard touchdown. It was also one of his better performances on passing downs. His athleticism shows up in short-yardage spots where his burst is amplified, as well as opportunities after the catch.

The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

The Jets’ repugnant offense meant there was not a ton of production to go around. Similarly, there isn’t much to say regarding the group. It’s clear Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder are the team’s top two targets. Keelan Cole outsnapped Elijah Moore, though I thought Moore played well; Wilson’s play hurt Moore rather frequently on Sunday. Others got in on the action, with Braxton Berrios and Denzel Mims seeing 11% and 14% of the team’s offensively snaps.

Without knowing the extent of Mims’ playbook knowledge and/or practice habits, it is hard to say how New York should be using him. However, given Mims’ prowess as a blocker and the opportunity to script plays for the offense, I’d like to see the coaching staff put him on the field early. Perhaps this vote of confidence could help spur a rhythm or some semblance of positive momentum. 

As for the tight ends, Tyler Kroft’s injury allowed Trevon Wesco to see a significant boost in playing time. He was used almost entirely as a blocker and didn’t move the needle one way or another with his performance. Ryan Griffin again struggled to make any real impact, despite being on the field for 91% of the offense’s snaps. 

The Offensive Line

While the offensive line was a bit of a mixed bag, it’s hard not to be encouraged by their performance. After the disaster that was Week 1, even mediocre play deserves its flowers, and New York’s front five have surpassed that at times.

That starts with Alijah Vera-Tucker. He took another step forward in Week 5, as the New York Jets rookie allowed no pressured for the second consecutive game. After his tremendous struggles, he’s begun to show why Joe Douglas made him Mekhi Becton’s partner in crime.

Another relatively unsung hero would be George Fant. Since moving to the left side, he’s saw his play improve and has kept Wilson upright. On the other hand, Greg Van Roten regressed to his uninspiring status quo after Week 4’s victory. As a whole, the line struggled to consistently open up rushing lances.

The Defensive Line and Edge Rushers

Furthermore, the New York Jets defensive front had its ups and downs across the pond. The pass rush seemed to do all it could, though it was clear Atlanta game-planned around this aspect of the defense.

John Franklin-Myers played well in his first game since signing his extension and seemed to draw extra help. Bryce Huff had a nice day, too, even if the production wasn’t there. Shaq Lawson struggled a little bit. Yet, what stood out most was the play of Tim Ward. In only 12 snaps, Ward made his presence felt, racking up multiple pass deflections and a really encouraging run stuff. I doubt he sees his playing time skyrocket, but Saleh and Ulbrich may have a couple of packages with his name on it.

As for the interior defensive line, it wasn’t a great day. Nathan Shepherd and Sheldon Rankins saw significant struggles. Folorunso Fatukasi and Quinnen Williams were better, but didn’t exactly meet expectations. There were some nice flashes of stuffed runs, but neither New York’s interior defensive linemen nor linebackers played the run consistently, and it showed.

The Linebackers

Blake Cashman made his return to the gridiron on Sunday! He wasn’t particularly impactful, though it seems Saleh will continue to stress not putting too much on a recently-recovered player’s plate.

C.J. Mosley had his worst game of the year across the pond. We’ve seen him get exposed by weapons with elite athleticism, and this was no different. Christian McCaffrey bested Mosley in Week 1. In Week 5, Cordarrelle Patterson made lightwork of Mosley and the New York Jets.

To the contrary, there’s a discussion to be had about Quincy Williams. He’s one of the few players on the roster that completely shattered their preseason expectations. Thrusted into a starting spot, Williams has forced turnovers, made some huge tackles, and even added to the pass rush. Jarrad Davis will likely reclaim his starting spot once activated, but I suspect their may be a quicker trigger finger here for the staff if Davis struggles.

The Cornerbacks

Arguably the most disappointing position group in Week 5 were the New York Jets cornerbacks. Atlanta was without Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, priming the Jets for a big day on defense. Instead, Kyle Pitts, Patterson, and Tajae Sharpe shredded the defense. Patterson was seemingly untouchable underneath, Sharpe was very efficient, and Pitts was seemingly impossible to guard. For that final point, I can’t say I blame New York.

Bryce Hall continues to be an encouraging tackler, but he struggled in man frequently on Sunday. Echols showed his typical ups and downs in coverage. Michael Carter II had his worst game as a professional and Javelin Guidry wasn’t much better. Interestingly enough, Jason Pinnock made a 15-snap appearance, too. 

Containing the shorter routes should have been priority number one for the Jets secondary. Instead, they were carved up after the catch and gave up a ton of long drives. Maybe it was an outlier, and New York’s cornerns suddenly played down to their competition, but all in all it wasn’t pretty. 

The Safeties

Losing Marcus Maye really puts a dent in this defense. With the possibility of him getting traded rising, New York’s safeties must improve. Jarrod Wilson was simply bad, and it cost him a roster spot. They all had their hands full and struggled at times, but there were still some bright spots for Sharrod Neasman and Ashtyn Davis. When Maye is off the field, expect these two to see the bulk of the playing time. 

The Special Teams Units

Outside of a failed extra point, I thought the Jets had a really good day on this side of the ball. Ammendola hit both of his field goals, including a 49-yard attempt. Justin Hardee was spectacular in helping to defend the punt return. Also, Tevin Coleman ripped off a nice kick return that put New York in wonderful field position. This phase of the game was likely the Jets’ biggest separation agent from Atlanta. Similar performances would eventually parlay themselves into winning football.

The Outlook

Week 5 should have ended favorably for the New York Jets. Instead, they came out jet-lagged and let a banged up Falcons team earn the privilege of a happy flight home. 

Much of this starts with Wilson, who played rather poorly. The uninsipiring starts to games and infuriating botched layups are both fixable, but his play was simply not conducive to a productive NFL offense. Sunday showed it will continue to take time for Wilson to grow into his potential. 

At the same time, other young players played really well. Vera-Tucker, Quincy Williams, and Michael Carter took legitimate steps forward that shouldn’t be overshadowed by a handful of missed throws.

New York heads into the bye at 1-4. Their play in New England in Week 7 could be an interesting referendum on the organization’s progress. Until then, it’s up to Saleh, LaFleur, and Wilson to fix the offense and keep the plane on the runway.

New York Jets Week 4 Observations

Credit: (Jets Wire)

The last month has been grueling, but finally, in Week 4, the New York Jets earned their first victory of the 2021 season. It may have taken an extra “quarter” against an underperforming team missing two star wide receivers, but none of that matters. From Wilson’s flashes of excellence to a dominant pass rush performance and the coaching staff’s best game to date, it truly was a team victory. Heading into an early-morning slugfest with the Atlanta Falcons, we can relish in some positive observations. 

Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson had the best game of his career on Sunday, without a doubt. The out-of-structure flashes were as captivating as they were important for the offense. For the first time, he looked calm and comfortable behind his offensive line. He totaled 297 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception (where his receiver fell) on the day. Yes, Tennessee’s defense has struggled, but his 3rd & 2 deep ball in overtime was a play few have the guts to try, much less complete. His performance was impressive, fun, gutsy, and everything Jets fans wanted to see from the rookie.

Still, it should be noted that his day wasn’t perfect. Wilson missed way too many layups against the Titans, and on most days, that’ll come back to bite him. In fact, it could have lost them the game when he missed Ryan Griffin on a drag route in the red zone during overtime. They were forced to settle for a field goal and gave the ball to the Tennessee offense. The layups were befuddling, but overall it’s impossible to not be excited after his Week 4 performance.

The Running Backs

Possibly the worst position group on the day was the running backs. This was a bit unexpected, considering how well the offensive line played, but it’s become clear that they were better in pass protection. Tevin Coleman was used sparingly but was leaned on in clutch situations. Michael Carter saw a 51% snap share, compared to Ty Johnson’s 33%. I’m glad they are prioritizing him, even if the early returns haven’t been favorable. 

The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

The Corey Davis revenge game didn’t get off to a roaring start, as he was the target on Wilson’s lone interception, but he managed to make up for it, earning a game ball. Davis scored a long touchdown and racked up four catches and 111 yards.

Keelan Cole had a nice day (3 receptions on 4 targets, 92 yards), especially late. Jamison Crowder’s season debut was fruitful, too. He led the team in targets and receptions (9 and 7, respectively) while also catching a touchdown. Despite the production, it’s clear he and Wilson are yet to fully gel. However, if Wilson can trust Crowder like he does Davis, his development can accelerate. 

I’ve been very harsh on New York’s tight ends thus far, but I think Griffin had his best game of the short season. He only had one catch, but his blocking and route running looked better than I anticipated. On the other hand, it was disappointing to see Mims fail to get any looks, though ten snaps is better than zero.

The Offensive Line

It’s no surprise Wilson’s best day and the performance of his offensive line were connected. They played exceedingly well in pass protection and saw season-best performances essentially across the board. Alijah Vera-Tucker had easily his best game as a professional. As a whole, they struggled to open rush lanes, but Wilson and company will take that trade-off every time.

Unfortunately, certain aspects of the line’s play are yet to meet expectations. Even on Sunday, they struggled with stunts, especially involving Connor McGovern and Greg Van Roten. It was just a blip on the radar, but against better defenses, it may have significant consequences.

The Defensive Line and Edge Rushers

Hands down, the Jets defensive front played their best game of the year (noticing a trend?). New York relied heavily on four-man fronts to get home consistently, and it worked to perfection. Of there seven sacks, 4.5 came from Quinnen Williams (2), Bryce Huff (1.5), and John Franklin-Myers (1). They were effective with their stunts and allowed Jeff Ulbrich to drop seven into coverage, stifling Ryan Tannehill. 

They also played well against the run. Derrick Henry did Derrick Henry things and racked up 157 yards on 33 rushes, but the defensive line did its job. Henry found much of his success outside the tackles and after contact. Overall, their pass rush finding paydirt so consistently had a ripple effect throughout the defense.

The Linebackers

After an injury-plagued 2019 and opt-out in 2020, C.J. Mosley seemed more like a cut candidate than a star of a defense. To many’s surprise, he’s returned and played some of his best football now that he’s seeing consistent snaps for the first time in green and white. Mosley has been all over the field and taken on his Mike responsibilities wonderfully. As Saleh noted, he even made an (unprecedented) audible pre-snap that led to a sack. 

Quincy Williams was the only other linebacker to see more than 25 snaps on Sunday. He too impressed, picking up a sack, pass defended, and two TFLs. Williams may never catch an interception, but he’s got legitimate click-and-close speed and is not afraid to make his presence felt when tackling. New York needed a strong game from him, and they got one.

The Cornerbacks

More than anything else, this position group’s performance should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said, Jets cornerbacks balled out in Week 4. Bryce Hall continued his stellar sophomore campaign with a handful of massive pass breakups and some brutally necessary tackles of Henry. He’s handled every challenge Saleh and Ulbrich have thrown at him gracefully.

The rookies had themselves some fun as well. Michael Carter II continued to look formidable in the slot. Brandin Echols looked good prior to entering the concussion protocol. Summer scouting draft crush of mine Isaiah Dunn came up large when his name was called. Saleh asked for a group of young, athletic corners from Joe Douglas. To see his fingerprints having tangible impacts this early is incredibly inspiring. 

The Safeties

One of the few position groups to struggle on Sunday were the safeties. This doesn’t come as a surprise, given Maye’s absence, something the Jets may have to get used to, but still, the lack of depth is concerning.

It was nice to see Ashtyn Davis back in action, even if he only saw 38 snaps. He looked aggressive and will likely be used all over the place, especially if Maye is not on the field. Look for him to match up with Kyle Pitts, much like he did against Darren Waller last year. He was their best man defender against athletic tight ends a year ago, and he has the skillset to carry that into his sophomore season. 

Two names that stood out here were Sharrod Neasman and Jarrod Wilson. Frankly, I felt Wilson struggled on Sunday, and he’s yet to show out in either phase of the defensive game. On the other hand, Neasman showed some encouraging signs. Per PFF, Neasman generated a 68 coverage grade and played on 74% of New York’s defensive snaps. There’s a good chance he gets more playing time moving forward.

The Special Teams Units

I don’t have much to say here, just that I am grateful everyone did what they had to do. Any miss from Matt Ammendola or disaster-laden punt could have cost the Jets the game. Instead, Tennessee’s special teams fell short, and New York came out on top. 

The Outlook

Week 4 was the first true sign that we’ve entered a new era of New York Jets football. That doesn’t mean Wilson is going to pan out or Saleh is headed for Canton, but there are distinct differences between this administration and Gase’s circus. I can guarantee a Gase-led team would have laid down and died in the wake of nearly three dozen Henry rushes and some critical late-game situations. This team didn’t, and that means something, no matter how many games they win the rest of the way.

Seemingly everyone played well on Sunday, so building on these successes will be vital. For Wilson, an Atlanta defense is just what the doctor ordered. He’ll need the offensive line to repeat their performance, and perhaps Mike LaFleur can make life easier for him. Another strong performance can leave the Jets at 2-3 heading into the bye, which is more than they could’ve asked for after their dreadful start.

Know Thy Enemy: New York Jets

The 2-1 Tennessee Titans head to the Big Apple (well, Jersey) to take on the hapless but competitive Jets after consecutive weeks of emotional victories. Can they keep the good times rolling or will the injuries prove too much to overcome? Robert Saleh will be looking for his first signature victory while trying to rebuild the once-proud “J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets!” franchise. Will New York #TakeFlight for the upset? What do the numbers say? 

Previous KTE Editions

Know Thy Enemy: Seattle Seahawks

Know Thy Enemy: Indianapolis Colts

Key Numbers + Info (2021 season)

Record: 0-3 (0-1 AFC East)

Points scored: 20

PPG: 6

Points allowed: 70

PPG allowed: 23.3

Average yards per rush: 3.9

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.8

Average rush yards per game: 80

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 110.66

Rushing TDs: 0 for, 5 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 170

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 217.33

Passing TDs: 2 for, 1 against

Pass Completion Rate: 55%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 72%

Leading Rusher: Michael Carter (24 attempts for 89 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Top Receiver: Braxton Berrios (14 receptions for 150 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Leading Tackler: C.J. Mosley (24 tackles, one pass defensed)

Key Additions: WR Corey Davis, WR Keelan Cole, OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL Dan Feeney, TE Tyler Kroft, QB Zach Wilson (rookie), EDGE Shaq Lawson (trade), LB Hamsah Nasirildeen (rookie), P Thomas Morstead, LB Jamien Sherwood (rookie), CB Brandin Echols (rookie), WR Elijah Moore (rookie), DT Sheldon Rankins

Key Losses: QB Sam Darnold (trade), Mekhi Becton (IR), EDGE Vinny Curry (NFI), LB Jarrad Davis (IR), S Lamarcus Joyner (IR), EDGE Carl Lawson (IR), S Ashtyn Davis (IR), LB BJ Goodson (retired), C Pat Elflein, EDGE Henry Anderson, LB Jordan Jenkins, LB Tarell Basham

Series History

Tennessee leads the series 25-19-1

Tennessee Call Out, Ball Out

Derrick Henry. PPR Superstar

– Henry is on pace to smash his career-best in receptions and receiving yards, posting 12 catches for 105 yards thus far. The already ultra dangerous runner is a beast, but to add the passing game dimension makes him even deadlier for defenses to try to scheme against. With the Titans’ top two receivers out, Henry will be relied upon more, not only as a runner but as a receiver out of the backfield as well. Can the stout Jets defense contain him? 

Make Zach Wilson Uncomfortable

– The young rookie signal-caller has been sacked an astounding 15 times in just three games, thanks to a suspect offensive line. Tennessee has improved on defense but with a litany of pass rushers out for this game, including megabucks signing Bud Dupree, it will be interesting. Harold Landry has quietly emerged as a leading pressure man along with team sack leader Ola Adeniyi. Wilson definitely has had some rough patches while trying to pilot the moribund Jets offense. Tennessee must be licking their chops against an offensive line missing its best player, Mekhi Becton. 

All about business

– The Jets aren’t the most talented team on the Titans’ schedule, admittedly. Tennessee will need to make quick and efficient work of a rebuilding team and move on to next week. Ryan Tannehill hasn’t had THAT breakout game and he’s coming off a pedestrian performance so he will need to lead Tennessee. The banged-up offensive line will need to keep Quinnen Williams and co at bay.

Keys to a Jets Victory

Wilson must be decisive

Wilson has had an inauspicious start to his pro career, completing just 55% of his passes and throwing a 2/7 touchdown to interceptions ratio. He needs to be decisive and take command in order for the Jets offense to expose Tennessee’s injured defense. It’s safe to say that the Jets’ efforts to surround him with talent haven’t worked out just yet. WR Denzel Mims will be active so there’s that  

Corey Davis Revenge Game?

– Davis admitted that he was affected personally by the Titans’ decision not to re-sign him in favor of other targets. He will love to have his revenge as the Jets WR1 and he faces a Titans secondary that is hemorrhaging numbers to receivers on a weekly basis. It will be interesting to see which Titans corner faces him, Jackrabbit Jenkins or the rising Kristian Fulton. The Jets and Wilson will need him to step up, that’s for sure.  

Cut off Henry at the pass 

As mentioned earlier, the “new” found pass game dimension that Henry has added to his repertoire will be challenging for Robert Saleh to scheme against. Julio Jones and AJ Brown are both out with injury in this one, leaving Henry as the sole big-name threat. If the Jets can adequately cover the other Titans receivers like Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers, they have a shot at pulling off the upset. We will see if Saleh’s men can get to Henry at the front to protect their “unproven” linebackers. No infamous proclamations from the Jets defense about wanting Henry like most college teams wanting Bama. 

Injury Report

What are the odds?

Caesars has the Titans as 6 point favorites at -110 while the Jets are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 44.5. The money line is the Titans at -280 and the Jets at +230.

BetMGM has the Titans as 6 point favorites at -110 while the Jets are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 44.5. The money line is the Titans at -300 and the Jets at +250.

Prediction

Tennessee 20

NEW YORK JETS 24

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Wilson’s Week in Review: Week 3

It’s been a troublesome start to the New York Jets season. Zach Wilson’s Week 3 only added to those concerns, after New York went a second consecutive game without scoring a touchdown. The production isn’t there, the points aren’t there, and the wins seem even further behind. We’re witnessing the beginning of the long road that is Wilson’s development. That doesn’t mean there weren’t significant takeaways to be had.

What Wilson Did Well

Showed Off His Upside

The best play of Wilson’s day didn’t move the chains. It didn’t score points and it certainly didn’t give New York a lead. We can point to Corey Davis and blame his toughness at the catch point or give props to the defensive back for knocking the ball out. Either way, it was a gentle reminder that Wilson is still stupendously talented.

This play was, in many ways, a showcase of what Wilson does well. He evaded pressure well while keeping his eyes downfield. Once he found his way out of a muddied pocket, he had the athleticism to create space from pursuing defenders. From there, he showed off the arm talent and delivered a 40-yard strike while still drifting.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how Wilson can keep an offense afloat even when things go south. Once again, he showed how that’s possible, even if the Jets couldn’t cash in on it. Eventually, those plays are going to result in six.

Poise

It’s been a long three weeks for Wilson, in part due to the lack of support around him. He’s been under pressure frequently, at times, by his own fault. Nonetheless, it was inspiring to see Wilson retain his arm talent and make plays with guys in his face.

With a linebacker in his face, Wilson shows off proper timing, accuracy, and a quick release. He hits a wide open Jeff Smith for one of the longest gains of the day.

Wilson’s issues with pressure won’t fix themselves in a week. Still, it is encouraging to see him unfazed here. This situation doesn’t call for it, but stepping through throws in the face of pressure are likely the next steps in his development.

A Referendum on Wilson’s Floor

I’ve talked a lot about Wilson’s struggles in structure as a rookie. They’re still plentiful, but the warts show themselves in more difficult scenarios.

Here, things get simple. It looks like Cover 2 to the left pre-snap. He gets Cover 2, and the concept beats it easily. Drop, hitch, throw. When the picture is clear, Wilson can operate quickly and accurately.

Ultimately, plays like this are a referendum on Wilson’s floor. Despite how ugly things get at times, nothing is lost in translation when the pre-snap picture doesn’t change. It isn’t much, but it’s a higher floor than his lowest points would suggest. If anything, let is say that New York chose the right guy, it’s just a matter of development.

Where Wilson Struggled

Indicator Tunnel Vision

Wilson’s Week 3 added two interceptions to the ledger, but only one was truly his fault. Unfortunately, this one was ugly.

Here, we see a flood concept. It’s similar to the concept Wilson was picked off on against New England, where Devin McCourty looked like he was fielding a punt. However, I think the process that led to this interception is similar to Wilson’s first career interception in Week 1.

Denver’s running a quarters-like coverage to the concept. Jeff Smith is taken vertically by the boundary corner. The “apex” or slot corner, in this case, plays man defense on Braxton Berrios. From there, it seems that Davis is going to have a favorable matchup against the inside linebacker. Unfortunately for Wilson, the linebacker is just walling Davis from crossing the middle of the field. Meanwhile, Justin Simmons is in a robber assignment, rather than a deep zone.

Wilson sees that the defender covering Davis has inside leverage. Given that Davis is running an out route, it seems like an easy decision. Unfortunately, Wilson takes that as an indicator to throw at Davis’ break. He failed to account for Simmons, who explodes to the ball and picks him off. At this point in time, it seems Wilson is developing tunnel vision on particular indicators in an effort to comfortably get through his progressions. As a result, he loses other zone defenders and makes some brutal decisions.

Overcoming this bad habit will be a key part in developing his play within structure.

Accuracy Regression?

Coming out of BYU, Wilson was touted for his ability to make plays out of structure with unorthodox arm angles and a lack of a platform. So far, he’s struggled to do that consistently.

Wilson if moved off his base and forced to deliver this pass to Ty Johnson with his feet parallel to the line of scrimmage. He drops his arm and releases it in an atypical sidearm fashion. Circumstances are far from ideal, but Wilson is expected to hit throws like this. For someone that did this consistently at BYU, it can be frustrating to see those passes hit at a significantly lower rate.

Moreover, this inconsistency is troubling because we’ve seen him make similar, better throws before. Wilson has more than enough talent to hit said throws, but he’s yet to retain the necessary accuracy.

Sensing Pressure

Wilson has showed time and time again to be instinctive and twitchy within the pocket. At the same time, he’s justified comments scolding him for holding onto the ball for too long.

Here, Moses gets beat badly by Von Miller. Ty Johnson’s incompetence and Miller’s alignment don’t help, but the result is the same. He quickly barrels down on Wilson and gets a free shot on the rookie.

As a general rule, good quarterbacks can evade a single pass rusher. Of course, the individual rusher here and how quickly he wins makes that more difficult. Still, opportunities are there for Wilson to escape. There are lanes to step up and potentially out of the pocket. Instead, Wilson doesn’t feel Miller honing in and pays for it. Moving forward, being able to sense pressure while keeping his eyes down field will play a role in extending plays and keeping the football safe.

Getting the Ball Out

The final play of Wilson’s week in review relates strongly to the previous one. Wilson needs to protect himself, and the offense, by getting the ball out quicker.

Simply put, the check down is open. He’s under duress and knows the downfield options aren’t viable. Instead of checking it down and living to see another day, Wilson makes an additional pocket movement and is eventually taken down for a loss.

Part of what makes Wilson so dangerous is his ability to hit home runs out of broken plays. Still, there’s a time and place for everything. Here, he’s better off gaining a handful of yards. His choice puts more stress on his offensive line and leaves yards on the field.

All in all, Wilson looked like a rookie who just played the most daunting coach the sport has ever seen. Against a comparable defense, he struggled again. Wilson’s struggles now are all opportunities to grow.

He’ll have a chance to show that growth Week 4 against a lesser Tennessee defense.