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  • A Look Back at Leonard Williams
    by superhuman on July 18, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images #5 in a series A Look Back at Leonard Williams Leonard Williams has been part of the Jets future since he was drafted back in 2015. Entering his 5th year with the team it seems like he has been with the Jets forever, but Williams just turned 25 years old last month. Everything you have seen of him thus far is but a precursor of his impending dominant career. He came to the Jets as a man-child but has now grown into a veteran defensive presence that could dominate this year in Gregg Williams defense. Leonard Williams now incorporates into his workout routine a lot of yoga, meditation and MMA training to be at peak physical capabilities. He still runs and lifts weights for endurance and strength, but Curtis Martin told him that if he were still playing he would use MMA training to help against the rigors of an NFL season. Leonard also has Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott to talk with and bounce ideas off of at his home in California. With the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft the Jets selected the #1 draft prospect on many draft boards DT Quinnen Williams, an inside disruptive force who should help keep Leonard from getting double teamed like he has in the past. Leonard posted his best sack numbers (7 in 2016) when both Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson were on the roster taking up blocks. Leonard is smarter, stronger, and in better shape than that period of his career plus Quinnen Williams is a better talent than either of those two players. It appears to a casual observer that Leonard has not lived up to his status as the overall #6 pick in 2015 when many considered him the top prospect in the Draft. You have to remember that the NFL is full of the best football players in the world, veteran men who have excelled at football for years. When Leonard was drafted he was only 20 years old. He still put up decent numbers as a rookie and the following year he went to the Pro Bowl. Besides all players are drafted for their potential, few if any players enter the NFL ready to dominate, especially at 20 years old. Leonard is just becoming the player he will be. The younger version wasn’t that bad either. He ranked 6th in total pressures last year for interior linemen. He was graded as the the #30 defensive tackle by Pro Football Focus in 2018. Leonard is an interior defensive lineman, and when he did play as a DE he was a 5-tech, not a rush end or an OLB. His job first was to hold the edge then rush the QB when it was determined to be a passing play. As a interior defensive lineman to have 17 sacks in 4 years is not a bad thing. Add to that 220 tackles, 32 TFL with 85 QB hits. It is quite a great stat line for a player on a three man line playing primarily inside. Grady Jarrett who was drafted the same year as Leonard. He is considered one of the best 3-techs in football today. He has a stat line of 14 sacks, 179 tackles, 31 TFL and 40 QB hits. Jarrett played the vast majority of his career on a 4 man line with players like Vic Beasley (16 sacks in 2016) playing outside him. Aaron Donald has played a 3-tech his entire career. He never had to play as a 5-tech. His stat line for his first 4 years in the league of 39 sacks, 204 tackles, 72 TFL and 108 QB hits. Donald has been a Pro Bowl player every year, an All Pro 4 of 5 years in the league, and is considered all world. Donald is an incredible player, but he always played on a 4 man line. Plus he always had great edge pressure from players like Connor Barwin, Robert Quinn and Dante Fowler. Additionally he had Michael Brockers, Ethan Westbrooks and William Hayes as alternate tackles. Donald and Leonard are two completely different players. Donald is more quickness, speed and technique while Leonard is much bigger with power and long arms to pitchfork his way around offensive linemen. Donald is the superior player any way you look at it. They should be getting his bust ready in Canton right now, but Leonard is no slouch and much of the disfavor he gets is unwarranted. Considering the fact that Leonard had to play as a 5-tech in 2015 and some in 2018 so his numbers are outstanding. Donald had his best year as a pro in his 5th year with Ndamukong Suh, Will Leonard do the same with Quinnen by his side? We shall see. Let’s see Leonard in action. In this the Jets effectively use a line stunt to attack the Bengals offensive line. You can see Leonard push his man back as Muhammad Wilkerson cuts in front of him from his end position. Leonard is able to loop around free. As Leonard comes free Andy Dalton tries to escape by moving up in the pocket. Cedric Ogbuehi tries to give Dalton more time with a half-hearted block on Leonard but is quickly brushed aside. Dalton is then sandwiched between Leonard and Wilkerson as he almost makes it back to the line of scrimmage. From the end zone view you can see the entire play unfold. The Jets use a 4 man line in this play and just steamroll the pocket. Actually the play was made by David Harris on the outside. The Bengals try a little two receiver rub play at the top of the screen, and Andy Dalton must have thought Jeremy Hill was going to beat David Harris easily to get open. He didn’t. By the time Hill pries himself free Dalton is running for his life. You can see Dalton (before he runs) ready to throw, but Hill is not open. This next clip is of another line stunt used on our our roommates the Giants. The Jets on this play brought in Leger Douzable as an end to make a 4 man line to further increase pressure. The play is just a simple line stunt where Wilkerson cuts in behind Leonard to effectively trade rush lanes. This does get Leonard one on one with Bobby Hart who is a weak offensive line talent. Watch as Hart doesn’t keep Leonard away for his body with his hands. Once Leonard makes contact with Hart’s chest he pushes him back then uses a under and up rip move to go around his outside. Eli steps up in the pocket, but there is nowhere to go, Leonard takes him down from behind. This next clip is of the same line stunt, and again it gets Leonard going against a poor offensive lineman in Cedric Ogbuehi. The entire Bengals line gets run over on the play, but Ogbuehi gives little resistance as Leonard just pushes him back into his QB’s lap easily. You can see the power in Leonard’s game as his first contact with Ogbuehi pushes him back a good 4 yards and gives an opening to the inside that is a direct line to Dalton. At ground level you can see the carnage better. This is a first and goal from the 7 yard line so the sack back to the 20 is a huge play for the defense. As Leonard makes a direct line to Ogbuehi, Wilkerson goes inside. The entire line is pushed back with even All Pro Andrew Whitworth landing on his backside. Dalton is a fairly mobile QB but has nowhere to run as the Jets swarm in led by Leonard. In his rookie season the Jets used a 3-4 defense primarily but had Calvin Pace as a rush LB who was a seasoned veteran and knew how to get pressure from the edge with power. In this clip from that rookie season Leonard uses pure power to overwhelm Matt Tobin who started 13 games for the Eagles that year. This is a 21 year old kid putting a 6’ 6” 320 man to his knees then assaulting his QB. Leonard effectiveness was much better when he had Richardson and Wilkerson on either side of him. In the two years with the other “sons” he had 10 sacks as compared to 7 sacks in the two years without them. More importantly Leonard had 131 tackle and TFL 18 with the “sons” and only 89 and 14 without them. Interestingly his QB hits were higher without the “sons” 45 than with them 40. This makes the addition of Quinnen Williams that much more important to the success of Leonard and Quinnen. As a pair inside they cannot be both double teamed. It should also allow the edge rushers single blocks with little help from interior offensive linemen. Here back in 2016 with the “sons” Leonard tosses Taylor Lewan aside on a powerful pass rush but is met by RB David Cobb. Cobb becomes little more than a speed bump along the road as Marcus Mariota is engulfed on a steam rolling pass rush. Leonard is a technician when it comes to playing defensive tackle, and he thinks about every move beforehand in his head. My belief is if Leonard wants to get better as a player he needs to work on staying lower coming off the ball to gain some leverage advantages to go along with his considerable power. Another area where Leonard could really gain an advantage is his temperament. Leonard is such a gentleman and all around nice guy off the field it is hard for him to change into the antithesis of himself. In the scouting world we say a player needs to “eat glass” to develop disdain for his opponent and play with reckless abandon. Some of the greatest defensive players in NFL history had the “hate” factor for their opponents. It showed on the field and there were players actually scared to play against them. Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Lawrence Taylor, Deacon Jones, Dick Butkus, Chuck Bednarik, Ray Nitschke, Mike Singletary, Ronnie Lott all had fear as a weapon going for them. Players like Reggie White, Merlin Olsen, Alan Page and Bob Lilly were so talented they really didn’t need the “hate” factor. Leonard does, he is not as talented as them. In this last play the Jets are down by a point with the Bengals inside the 30 yard line so a sack would be huge for the defense. So the Jets come with a middle LB blitz which is seen ahead of time by the Bengals. They have the exact line call for the play. You can see the right guard pull around, meet David Harris head on, and actually push him back. Leonard is playing in the A gap off the right shoulder of the center. When the right guard pulls, the center moves slightly to his right to pick up Leonard so he will not shoot the gap and gain an advantage on him. Instead of shooting the gap, Leonard moves to his right towards the center which allows his free access to the A gap on the opposite side of the center. By doing so, the center whiffs on the block and Andy Dalton is a dead duck. From another angle you can see the entire play unfold. As the Jets blitz the guard pulls. The entire secondary is in press man coverage, not allowing a quick throw. This is a 3 receiver route ,and no one is open for Dalton to throw to. Leonard takes less than 2.5 seconds to contact Dalton so there was no time to make a play. This put the Bengals in a 3rd and 13 hole in poor field goal position. The next play went incomplete then Mike Nugent missed a 52 yard field goal. Looking Forward It is going to be interesting to see how Joe Douglas views Leonard Williams and if he believes in him enough to re-sign him. You basically have the Williams brothers (Leonard and Quinnen) as the talent on the defensive line with Henry Anderson and Jachai Polite on the outside. Steve McLendon is an aging vet who provides more veteran leadership with solid if undynamic play than upside. McLendon’s contract is almost fully guaranteed. He is a good goal line and rotational player for this year, but I don’t see him as part of the Jets’ future unless he plays for the veteran minimum going forward and none of the young guys takes the next in their development. There will not not a lot of other playmakers on the defensive line unless one of the young guys steps up and becomes a factor. As Quinnen Williams is vital to the continued success of Leonard Williams, the inverse is true as well. In the years ahead how much damage to the development of Quinnen Williams would be caused by letting Leonard Williams walk? Do you gamble with your #3 overall pick by not giving him someone to learn from and someone who is also a threat the offense has to worry about? The bottom line is I don’t think the Jets can’t afford to let Leonard Williams walk after this year so the best course of action is to try and resign him long term now. A franchise tag in 2020 would only add less than $2 million to his salary he has this year so that is an option also. I am sure that Joe Douglas and his braintrust are mulling over roster possibilities as we speak. I think Leonard Williams has been a little underappreciated by some but has been a solid player up to this point in his career. His best 5 years lay just ahead so I would love the Jets to reap the benefits for his talent for all those years. A 6 year $85 million contract with a $15 million signing bonus and 40% guaranteed should get it done. That would take Leonard into his age 31 year season, and the Jets would have him for probably his most productive years. Leonard is still an ascending player, and with the addition of Quinnen they could be a force on the interior line for the next 5 years at least. What do you think? […]

  • Jets mailbag: Will RPOs play a major role in the offense?
    by John B on July 18, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images We are approaching the start of training camp. Next week we will start to get news about the Jets preparing for the 2019 NFL season. It will be the first step on the way to real games. To help pass some of the time before the start of camp, today we have a podcast mailbag. As always, thanks to those of you who sent questions. There could be no mailbag without mailbag questions. Today we look at examples of later round success stories who gradually developed for the Jets, coaches and general managers who left the Jets better or worse than they found the team, why Joe Douglas has been so quiet, the role of run-pass options in the offense, whether weight limits for players could prevent injuries, how big of a concern the offensive line will be, the Blessuan Austin pick, and the absurdity of the league’s 18 game season proposal where each player would be eligible to play 16 games. […]

  • New York Jets Flight Connections 7/18/19
    by Fade-away on July 18, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Bringing your daily links to the NFL’s New York Jets Good morning, Gang Green Nation! I hope you’re all having a great start to the day. Today’s FC features a lot of ‘profiles’ on position groups and players, and the breakdown of each. One of the players mentioned in these breakdowns is 6th round pick, WR Quincy Enunwa. Most of you may know that I’m a big Enunwa fan, but since his ‘breakout’ season a few years ago he’s been pretty quiet and injury-ridden ever since. Although he was given a contract this past off-season by former GM Mike Maccagnan, it wouldn’t be surprised if he could become a cap casualty if he doesn’t live up to expectations this season. Though you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would have high expectations for a 6th round pick, once you establish yourself as above average in the NFL that previous designation is gone. Going into his 5th year now, it’s almost easy to say that he has the most pressure to succeed this year out of all of the WR’s on the roster. A strong, versatile player, Enunwa can stretch the field in numerous ways, but injuries and mediocre QB play have really slowed that down. With Herndon out for the first four games, expect the team to rely on him, Bell, and Robby Anderson as the main targets for Sam Darnold. Will he step up, or will he flounder? Only time will tell. With that said here are your links to the team for this Thursday. Spencer Aber - Jets hire Matt Sheldon as director of football research and strategy Yahoo Sports - Will New York Jets overwork Le'Veon Bell? Ethan Greenberg - Maurice Jones-Drew: Le’Veon Bell Will Be 'Nightmare' for Defenses Tyler Calvaruso - Jets Training Camp Preview: Competition behind Darnold at quarterback Manish Mehta - Mehta’s Top 20 Jets Countdown: No. 3 QB Sam Darnold Brian Costello - Jets best players 2019 countdown: Kelechi Osemele can turn into steal Matt Stypulkoski - Jets Top 20: Can Robby Anderson really become a 1,000-yard wideout? Stephen Smith - New York Jets 2019 training camp profile: Quincy Enunwa Ethan Greenberg - Jets Camp Specialists Preview: ‘No Steps Back’ in 2019 Geoff Magliocchetti - New York Jets LS Thomas Hennessy wins the bottle cap challenge (Video) Luke Easterling - C.J. Mosley brings leadership, winning culture to Jets defense Luke Easterling - New York Jets LB Jordan Jenkins is a man of action Luke Easterling - Jets tempering early expectations for rookie Jachai Polite Dylan Tereman - JetNation Positional Breakdown: Safeties Michael Nania - New York Jets 2019 opponent quick look: Philadelphia Eagles Curtis Rawls - Giants/Jets annual preseason game to open 2019 preseason Jace Mallory - New York Jets 2019 season schedule, scores and TV streams in Canada Here are your missed connections from yesterday. Here’s the thread about nothing, make sure to check it out! I hope you all have a safe and wonderful rest of the day! […]

  • Gang Green Nation Highlight Reel (July 10th-July 16th)
    by jnetys on July 17, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Our readers’ and writers’ contributions to this site are a major reason why Gang Green Nation is the best Jets blog in the history of Jets blogs. No contribution, big or small, should go unnoticed. That’s why we’ll highlight some of the best comments and FanPosts on a weekly basis. Without further ado, I bring to you, Gang Green Nation’s Highlight Reel for the past week: Top Comments: On the possibility that the Texans won’t have a GM this year: To be fair the Jets pretty much went without a GM from 2013 till this season. -GangGreenRCR On Robby Anderson: Wow!! Superb my man Robbie gets a lot of flak for being a one trick pony, but I really like this kid, he’s fast, has good hands and he’s a grinder.. hopefully Douglas can lock him up now before season is over - SP from the boogie On Robby Anderson: Kudos to WR Anderson not being content to run with the natural talent he has, he has worked hard on his craft, gained weight and strength, and improved his abilities. without being academically gifted, WR Anderson knew, and had the humility, to seek out help from those who had been there before and did it successfully. i admire that he convinced WR Johnson to show him the ropes, as well as WR Marshall, with whom he worked out during the 2017 off-season.with his increased strength, WR Anderson now high-points and comes down with the contested ball – something that often led to INTs early in his career, making me angry that he did not do more to prevent the INT.not sure how much his improvement is due to his internal drive for perfection, he wants to be the best WR in the league, or due to the input from WR Coach Dorrell (now a phin), who improved WR Enunwa. My hat is off to him. and if he can keep his nose clean this offseason, then he will have deserved his big payday and a multi-year contract. -dnaatgc On Chris Herndon: Chris Herndon > Evan Engram. Going forward in the future, I would take Herndon over any tight end in the league not named Kelce, Kittle,or Ertz. -Nateecker On whether or not we should extend Robby Anderson this year: But why pay him more later rather than less today? The whole point of scouting is to identify players before they break out. If we aren’t self scouting and making savvy investments than were operating behind the curve -IMissFatRex On Sam Darnold sitting out a few games last year: Good article From the beginning, I believed Sam needed to sit for at least half the season in order to learn, as he was still very raw as a QB. Odd as it may seem, getting hurt may be the best thing to happen to him; you see how much better he was after sitting a few weeks. -gamerk316 On potential Jets pro bowlers: Possible Pro Bowl Players: Adams, Mosley, Bell, Leonard Williams Long Shots if they have a big year: Robby Anderson, Darnold, Maye, Osemele, Q. Williams. So is 5 likely, no, but possible. But doesn’t matter anyway, can’t even play in the probowl when you have a bigger game the next week 😉 -jbigs07 Top GIF/Photo: “can’t even play in the probowl when you have a bigger game the next week ;)” -GangGreenRCR So there you have it, Gang Green Nation’s Highlight Reel. Want to be featured next week? Just keep doing what you do, and more importantly, keep being who you are—after all, YOU’RE what makes Gang Green Nation so great! […]

  • Sam Darnold’s production broken down by route type: Game 12
    by Michael Nania on July 17, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images We’re back! I have been re-watching all of Sam Darnold’s throws from the 2018 season, going game-by-game charting his production by route type. In addition, I’ve broken down his numbers based on a few different factors, including field side, number of rushers, and throw depth. I also decided to track the frequency of select notable occurrences, such as a tally of Darnold’s total “improvised” production (a revered staple of his), and a count of drops, among other things. Previously, I ran through a few of the most notable statistical tidbits I found from tracking Darnold in Week 15, as he put the team on his back against the Houston Texans. In this edition, we’ll look at his numbers against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16. Before we start diving in, here is a look at the collection of route types I’ve been tracking. Obviously, there is a seemingly infinite number of complex route concepts that could not possibly fit in that picture. I went with a simplified collection of 15 route types. I thought this lineup was perfect for having enough variety to capture every throw while not going overboard with specificity. It’s sometimes difficult to tell exactly what route a receiver is trying to run. Other times, there will be instances where a receiver will run a more complex route that features a combination of multiple routes seen above, such as an out-and-up or slant-and-go among others. I assigned route types based on the nature of the throw for Darnold. Whichever route type best matched the angle, depth, and overall essence of the throw Darnold had to make, would be the one I’d go with. In Week 16, Sam Darnold continued building on the momentum he had been accumulating since returning from injury two weeks prior. He shredded the Green Bay defense from start to finish, going toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers. Let’s take a look at the numbers behind Darnold’s tremendous outing against the Packers. Packers 44, Jets 38 (OT). Darnold: 24 for 35, 341 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions (128.4 passer rating, 9.7 yards per attempt) Darnold’s performance against the Packers was easily his best from a general statistical standpoint. He posted new season highs in passing yards (341), yards per attempt (9.74), and passer rating (128.4), while having his first game with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions.The receiving group had a solid game, helping Darnold achieve those quality numbers. For the first time since Week 4, I didn’t chart a single dropped pass against the Jets. Darnold also benefited from 5.8 yards after catch per reception, a solid number. Robby Anderson went off, catching a career high nine passes and gaining 140 yards on those, the second best total of his career. Chris Herndon set a new career high with 82 yards, with 15 of them coming on this spectacular play: Darnold started the game on fire and never really cooled down. He completed 12 of his first 14 attempts for 180 yards and 10 first downs. Following a stretch of three straight plays resulting in an incomplete pass at the end of the first half, Darnold would complete each of his next nine attempts for 129 yards and seven first downs. He cooled down near the end of the game, completing only three of his final nine attempts for 32 yards and only one first down. However, three of those attempts were throwaways, and two of those completions were one yard shy of the sticks and helped continue drives. One trend that was developing over Darnold’s first two games back from injury was his increased total of improvised passing attempts. He set threw 12 of those against Buffalo and Houston, setting a new season high with five against the Bills and another new high with seven against the Texans. Against the Packers, Darnold bucked that trend, as he stayed on-schedule for the most part. He only attempted one improvised pass all afternoon, a 27-yard shot to Elijah McGuire that flew just over his outstretched hands on a diving attempt. Darnold had one of his most balanced route diets of the season against Green Bay. The out and curl routes were his favorite, throwing five of those apiece. Each of those two favorites made up 15.6% of Darnold’s non-throwaway attempts, which was the smallest portion taken up by Darnold’s favorite route(s) in a game all season. He also threw for multiple first downs on five different route types, a season high. Here is a look at his route breakdown against the Packers (excluding three throwaways). As it was for most of his rookie season, the intermediate range was Darnold’s best friend against the Packers. On his 10 attempts thrown 10-19 yards downfield, Darnold completed eight passes for 121 yards, with all completions resulting in a first down. Darnold’s performance against the Packers certainly had its share of eye-popping throws, but I was most impressed by his poise and decision-making in the game. He consistently made smart decisions with the ball, as he quickly accepted easy first downs when the defense yielded them, but also passed up good options for great options when the time was right. The play below was very impressive. On 1st & 25, Darnold has two wide open options underneath that he could easily get the ball to, but he instead buys a little more time and waits for Robby Anderson to break free deeper down the field. Darnold throws a strike and picks up 20 yards to make up for the offense’s previous penalties. It’s just a great display of willingness to maximize a down, and strong awareness to understand that the safe choice wasn’t the best option in this instance. You have to love a quarterback who is willing to take a greater risk to increase the reward. Of course, the key is striking a healthy balance on those gutsy shots — learning when it’s smart to avoid the safe play and when it’s smart to take it. The play above is a perfect example of Darnold understanding that balance, and he had many other throws like that one in the later portion of the season. It’s a positive sign of hope, hinting that Darnold just might be able to make a strong career out of his gunslinger mentality. Here is a look at Darnold’s route type breakdown through his first 12 games of 2018. Previous breakdowns: Weeks 1-2 (@ Detroit and vs Miami) Weeks 3-4 (@ Cleveland and @ Jacksonville) Weeks 5-6 (vs Denver and vs Indianapolis) Weeks 7-8 (vs Minnesota and @ Chicago) Week 9 (@ Miami) Week 14 (@ Buffalo) Week 15 (vs. Houston) […]


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