Breaking down the Jets opposition: Cleveland Browns

  • The Jets face the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. Let’s take an in-depth look at their roster , depth chart and system to assess who to be wary of on gameday.QuarterbacksTyrod Taylor was a smart offseason pick-up by the Browns and he’s currently keeping first overall pick Baker Mayfield on the bench. However, his passing numbers so far have been pretty underwhelming.Taylor has rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown in the first two games, though, so that’s a major concern with how badly the Jets handled the read option against Miami. Taylor is 3-2 in five career starts against the Jets, accounting for 10 total touchdowns and only two interceptions.Offensive LineThe Browns offensive line hasn’t got off to a great start so far, with Taylor having been sacked 10 times. However, their interior group is solid and remains intact having played every snap together last season. Joel Bitonio is the left guard, JC Tretter the center and Kevin Zeitler the other guard. Zeitler is the second-highest paid guard in the league and Bitonio also earns $10 million per year.At right tackle, the Browns brought in Chris Hubbard, who was one of the best free agent tackles on the market. However, he’s off to a slow start after giving up a sack in each of the first two games. The left tackle is undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison, who had three penalties in his first game, but fared better in week two.Greg Robinson, the former number two overall pick, is their back-up at tackle and they have depth at guard with veteran Earl Watford and second round rookie Austin Corbett.Running BacksCarlos Hyde was another veteran addition who signed a three-year deal in the offseason to replace Isaiah Crowell. Hyde has never had a thousand-yard season but averaged over 950 and seven scores over the past two years.Duke Johnson is the third down back and he showed his abilities with a long catch-and-runon which he broke several tackles in last year’s loss to the Jets .So far, the top two are each averaging less than three yards per carry, but rookie Nick Chubb might be primed for a bigger role, having gained 35 yards on five carries so far.Pass catchersJarvis Landry was another big-money acquisition in the offseason but this unit has taken a hit with Josh Gordon’s departure during the week. Landry was a player who mostly caught short passes with Miami, but he’s been more of a downfield threat so far in Cleveland and is off to a productive start with 12 catches for 175 yards.With Gordon gone, rookie Antonio Callaway has already started to step up as he had what looked set to be the winning score on a deep ball against the Saints. Unfortunately, the Browns missed the extra point and then lost to a late field goal.As a third option, Rashard Higgins is a good possession option that can perform out of the slot, but he’s had a few drops early on this season.Cleveland signed journeyman Rod Streater during the week to add depth, as their only other two receivers are a pair of rookies - Damion Ratley and Derrick Willies.At tight end, the Browns could be without Seth DeValve but David Njoku will start. Jamal Adams had his hands full with Njoku last season. Orson Charles and Darren Fells are listed as back-ups.Defensive LineThere’s been a lot of turnover on the defensive line for the Browns, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is that Myles Garrett, last year’s first overall pick Cheap Darron Lee Jersey , is their most dangerous player. He usually lines up on the right, so Kelvin Beachum is going to have a tough assignment.Emmanuel Ogbah is the other starter but he’s injured too. If he can’t play, third round rookie Chad Thomas or recent waiver claim Anthony Zettel might get more playing time, but the primary back-up is probably Chris Smith. Smith, another new addition, is in his fifth year and has 7.5 career sacks.Tackle Larry Ogunjobi is the Browns’ other burgeoning star on their defensive line. He was excellent against the run last year, but this year, he’s shown progress as a pass rusher with three sacks in the first two games.Trevon Coley, a third-year undrafted player, is the other starter inside with recent waiver claim Carl Davis adding depth.LinebackersCleveland’s highest paid player, Jamie Collins, was a disappointment last year, but Jets fans are well aware of his versatility and all-round skills from his New England day.Last year, Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert played every snap but Kirksey has been absent from practice this week. James Burgess is an option to start, having done so nine times last year. Cleveland picked him up at the end of the 2016 season, at which point he was already on his fifth team despite being a rookie.Fifth round rookie Genard Avery has made some good contributions on the outside but Tanner Vallejo - who lost a camp battle with ex-Jet Julian Stanford for a spot on Buffalo’s roster - hasn’t played yet on defense.Defensive BacksFourth overall pick Denzel Ward got his season off to a good start with two interceptions in his first game, but he’s also been beaten for two touchdowns in coverage and had some issues with missing tackles, so the Jets might still look to target him.The Browns struggled to find another starter, eventually settling on journeyman Terrance Mitchell who is on his sixth team and has five career interceptions.However, EJ Gaines just returned from injury so may be a candidate to step up into that role. Gaines can also man the slot in the nickel. Another veteran, TJ Carrie, provides depth.At safety, Damarious Randall was also added to the injury report and missed practice on Tuesday. If he’s unavailable, Derrick Kindred, a mid-round pick from a few years ago, has proven to be a reliable spot starter in the past.The other starter is the athletic Jabrill Peppers, who was a late first-rounder last year. He usually plays as the deep safety and has started the season well.Another veteran James Carpenter Jersey , Briean Boddy-Calhoun, can fill in at safety or as a nickel corner.Special TeamsThe Browns could be 2-0 if not for a series of costly missed kicks from their kicker Zane Gonzales who was dumped after the loss to the Saints. They claimed Greg Joseph, an undrafted rookie whose only NFL experience was three successful preseason kicks with Miami, to replace him.Britton Colquitt is a highly regarded veteran punter, although the Browns allowed over 10 yards per punt return last season.In the return game, Peppers is a threat, although he hasn’t had much success yet at the NFL level. He’s handling kicks and punts right now, but Callaway or Johnson could fill in if required.In coverage, the Browns got rid of most of their most productive players from last year but the likes of Carrie, Kindred, Boddy-Calhoun and Burgess are among the main names to watch.2018 New York Jets Coverage Stats: Week 3 The Jets had a spotty day in coverage in their loss to the Browns. In the first half, they held Tyrod Taylor to one of the lowest yards per attempt rates of the past decade, which they deserve some credit for, but they were bailed out by some awful throws by Taylor. Then, Baker Mayfield came in for his NFL debut, and absolutely torched the Jets in zone defense. Let’s take a look at who was at fault.Previous editions: Pre 1, Pre 2, Pre 3, Pre 4, W1-DET, W2-MIARULESThe coverage numbers include only legitimate targets into the general area of a receiver/defender; throws in which a defender in coverage was directly involved the outcome. Throwaways and deflections at the line are excluded.The stats for each individual are that of the quarterback’s passing numbers when targeting the individual’s matchup. A player could receive coverage credit even if a teammate finished the play. For example, in Week 1 last season when Tyrod Taylor threw an interception targeting a tight end running into Jamal Adams’ zone, Juston Burris ended up with the interception, but I credited that pick to Adams since I deemed he made the primary play in coverage to cause the pick.Penalties and pass breakups counted are only those accumulated in coverage. Penalties/PBs picked up on blitzes, or penalties tackling another player’s responsibility, are not included.“Burns mitigated by opponent miscue,” or “miscues” (M) are included in charting to attempt to knock defenders who benefited from an egregious error by the offense (drop Cheap Nathan Shepherd Jersey , horrible throw) and give perspective to the validity of their raw stats. A defender can still register an interception or incompletion to his credit on a miscued play.First, here’s a look at each targeted player’s total numbers in coverage against Cleveland.Next, here’s a breakdown of the Jets in coverage broken down by player matchup and coverage type. Keep in mind receivers who saw targets lined up both outside and in the slot are listed twice.Some takeaways from the numbers:Baker Mayfield ate up the Jets’ zone coverage, as you can see on the far right of the second chart. Targeting defenders in zone, the Browns completed 11 of 13 passes for 118 yards, and picked up 6 first downs on those 13 targets. Comparably, Jets defenders in zone coverage allowed only 6 first downs on 29 targets in Week 1, and only 3 first downs on 9 targets in Week 2. Mayfield really spread the ball around and picked on reserves and mismatches all throughout the second half, demonstrated by the spread of the damage in the charts above.The defense is starting to really miss Marcus Maye. When he returns, I think he’ll provide a big upgrade in the back end, helping to prevent some of the intermediate production the Jets have been allowing in the middle of the field. He should also allow the Jets to feel more comfortable with Jamal Adams in the box, since they’ve been exposed deep without Adams back there. Having Maye back will finally allow the Jets to have this entire defense together the way they envisioned it. Doug Middleton is a solid backup but has been a weakness. He’s second on the team in first downs allowed (5) even though he’s sixth in targets (8), and has allowed 2 of the 3 passing touchdowns the defense has yielded.As you can see in the first chart up top, Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson lucked out with a combined 3 offensive miscues, including one big one we’ll check out later. In spite of those, and the penalties, I do think both had strong games otherwise. Claiborne had some tight downfield coverage while Johnson blew up a few screen plays with physical play at the line. On the whole, though, both need to start being more consistent.FILMThe most worrying play in coverage on the night was actually an incomplete pass that was broken up by the Jets’ highest-paid player. Johnson’s ability to prevent deep bombs through physical play at the line has been one of my favorite parts of his game coming over from Los Angeles, but here, he plays off and is toast for a 75-yard touchdown. Fortunately, Taylor underthrows it.Johnson does break up the pass, and I think he deserves credit for that. Quarterbacks are not always going to throw these passes in stride. In fact, more often than not, quarterbacks are going to give beaten defensive backs a shot to redeem themselves. The good corners are able to recoup the damage and take full advantage of the opportunity presented to them. Johnson does that here, so credit to him. However, if reps like that become routine Lac Edwards Jersey , he’s going to pay sooner or later.This was Johnson’s best play of the night. The defense is in disarray as the ball is snapped, but Johnson does a great job recovering and gives strong pursuit to hold this screen to only 3 yards. If you watched the Browns try to defend the Jets’ screens in this game, you know this play is not as easy as it looks. Good effort and recovery off the initial block attempt.Morris Claiborne was bailed out in the second half as Antonio Callaway dropped a beautifully thrown Mayfield pass on a should-be 25-yard gain, and he also had a holding call that wiped out a stop on a two-point conversion. However, he was very clean otherwise, and I thought he earned it. This right here (bottom of screen) is effective press coverage. One good jab at the shoulder and both the quarterback and receiver are thrown off.Here’s an impressive pass breakup by Claiborne (top) again matching up with Callaway. It’s not the best route and looks like a possible miscommunication on what should’ve happened here, but either way Claiborne never over-commits, stays disciplined, and breaks at the perfect time. When he’s clicking, Claiborne has technical ability that is top-notch at the position.Baker Mayfield obliterated the Jets in the second half time and time again on throws just like this one below. Receivers simply sat down in the middle of the field between the linebackers and safeties and there was no answer. This is a money throw from Mayfield to David Njoku. Middleton could have broke on this faster but Lee needs to carry this route having no other responsibilities nearby. His biggest coverage hiccup this year so far, in my view.This next play is from earlier in the same drive as the play above. Same issue. Jarvis Landry just sits right in between the dropping Jordan Jenkins and Darron Lee and Mayfield finds it easily. I pinned this one on Jenkins.Those were Mayfield’s first two throws. The next play sets up the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Same exact issue. Four-man rush. Zone across the board. Receiver sits down in the soft spot for easy pickup. Middleton has got to break on these plays before they happen. He is almost always breaking once the ball is already out.There was one other completion just like the three above, so that’s four big pickups in the same exact fashion in about half of the game. Poor adjustments on the part of both the players and coaches there.You saw Jenkins drop into coverage and find himself exploited a couple clips above. It wasn’t the only time the Browns beat an outside linebacker for a first down. Here, Frankie Luvu (left outside linebacker, top of screen) drops into coverage on premier receiving back Duke Johnson. He actually has pretty solid coverage here, but once Mayfield turns this into a scramble drill, Johnson pulls the rug on Luvu, selling him deep and coming back towards the quarterback. He buys himself plenty of space towards the sideline for Mayfield to complete this magical play.Finally, Parry Nickerson had problems against Jarvis Landry in his first extended playing time as he replaced the injured Buster Skrine. Here, Landry gets physical at the top of the route, and Nickerson makes a poor attempt at undercutting the route and playing the ball.Nickerson also allowed a 16-yard catch on 2nd & 18 that led to a field goal, and should have allowed a 15+ yard first down if Landry held on to a wide open uncontested catch. He added a holding call that was declined. Rough matchup for the rookie to face in his first extended action, but it’s a good learning experience. Skrine should hold on to the starting role for now, but hopefully Nickerson can see some situational reps and improve off of this performance.For all of the Jets’ mishaps in this game, I want to give credit to Baker Mayfield for playing lights out football straight off the bench in his first action.Here is how I have the Jets stacking up to this point of the year.