After a disappointing offensive output against the Ravens Greg Roman and company have a short week to prepare for a very stout Jets defensive unit. The Jets are coming off a 23-22 loss to a talented Cincinnati Bengals team who sealed the win with a field goal late in the fourth quarter.
The Jets defense is a squad that worries me, especially after the Bills struggled versus, in my opinion, a much less talented Ravens defense. The Jets defense had 7 sacks for a loss of 42 yards. The charge was led by defensive tackle Leonard Williams (2.5 sacks), defensive tackle Steve Mcclendon (2 sacks), Muhammad Wilkerson (1.5) sacks and DE/OLB Lorenzo Mauldin even had a sack. So all of their sacks essentially came from the defensive line. This doesn’t bode well for a Bills offensive line who had their worst game under Greg Roman.
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Versus the Bengals, the Jets defense didn’t really blitz Andy Dalton. Out of 37 drop backs, he was blitzed only 11 times (Pro Football Focus-PFF) and was under pressure 12 times. He wasn’t blitzed often because Andy Dalton was getting the ball out at an average of 1.95 seconds (snap to attempt). That average was the best in the NFL in week 1. Who was the worst? The Bills Tyrod Taylor, at 3.16 seconds.
Snap to attempt= about 1.6 seconds
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Snap to throw=about 4.5 seconds
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Some of Taylor’s better throws were when he hit the top of his drop and got rid of it versus the Ravens. Here is a play from last week, one of the quicker pitch and catches from the game. This took about 2.7-2.8 seconds
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These are the kind of passes that we will need to see more of if this offense wants to be effective versus the Jets. This pass to Sammy takes about 2.3 seconds.
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In a piece I did in the offseason about Greg Roman and Tyrod Taylor I stated that I agreed with Trent Dilfer’s assessment that Roman must develop more of a dropback passing game. A passing game that stresses read the defense, hit the top of the drop and get rid of it. I still believe that Roman needs to work on that. Heavily relying on play action will be an issue because of the Bills pass protection. Play action keeps the ball in the hand of the QB for a long time. This is part of the reason why Taylor was tops in snap to throw time last year. It showed versus the Ravens in week one.
On this 19 yard completion, the snap to throw time is about 4.1 seconds. If the Bills plan on using these kind of plays, that extra lineman or fullback will have to be in the game. That is the case here and that is why it is only a 3 man route. Problem with that is, you can’t open up the offense with only three man routes.
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Give Greg Roman credit, in 2015 he knew the kind of Jets defense he was up against. Roman game planned versus Bowles when the two were coordinators for the 49ers and Cardinals respectively. In 2015, Roman got the ball in and out of Taylor’s hands. In the two games against the Jets last season, Taylor’s average snap to throw attempt time was 2.56 seconds!! In those games when he held the ball for 2.5 seconds or less he completed 24 of 35 passes and boasted a 73.5 completion percentage. When he held the ball for 2.6 seconds or more, he was 10 of 21 and posted a 47.6 completion percentage. So the offensive coordinator knows what he needs to do.
The Jets like to use a lot of pattern matching concepts in their secondary and one way to take advantage of that technique is to use trips bunch formations and stacked WR alignments. Usually, the DBs are reading the route of the #2 WR within the first 8-10 yds. So bunch and stacked WR alignments muddy up the release and position of the receiver. Roman used this very effectively in 2015 and I expect to see more of it on Thursday.
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Both DBs are reading the release of Hankerson. Hankerson released vertically so the defensive backs continue to drop. At 14 yards Watkins hooks it up for the first down.
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The Bengals were not productive on the ground in their week one matchup with New York. They attempted 19 rushes for 57 yards. Of their 19 rush attempts only 5 were outside. The Bengals seemed to attack the A gap between the center and left guard. They rushed 7 times to that area for 28 yards.
The Bengals are in 11 personnel on this 2nd and 10. They run inside zone to the weakside for the touchdown.
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Running back Jeremy Hill hits the cutback lane for a solid gain on this weak side inside zone play. Something to keep in mind is that undersized rookie linebacker Darron Lee has been lining up to the strength of formations. The Jets want him to the tight end side so they can utilize his athleticism to match up with tight ends. The Jets are also afforded that opportunity because of the defensive line up front Wilkerson and Williams can keep him clean more times than not. But not on this play. Another note on this trips alignment is safety Calvin Pryor over the tight end. I will take Clay versus Pryor all day.
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The Bills had a lot of success versus the Jets defense in their week 9 matchup last season. They rushed the ball 32 times for 148 yards. Shady carried the rock 19 times for 112 yards in a beautifully game planned rushing attack.
15 yard gain by Shady out of a Trips formation.
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Roman used the aggresiveness of defensive tackle Leonard Williams against him.
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But the Bengals pulled out some interesting plays as an extension of the run game. They ran several screens to wide receivers. Specifically, they utilized what is called a run/pass option. If you watch these next two clips closely you will see that the offensive line is blocking run. Dalton doesn’t hand it off, rather he throws the screen. Based on the amount of defenders in the box, defender alignment or even the matchup outside determines whether or not he throws it.
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I have only seen the Bills do something similar one time and it was against Washington in the preseason. The play was unsuccessful because Sammy Watkins wasn’t on the same page as Tyrod.
Called run with pass alert built in. But look at Miller stay with it. Strong grip/ ability to torque. pic.twitter.com/8La4jAD60f
— Cover 1 (@cover1eturner) September 1, 2016
The Bills offense has a formidable task at hand. They must match the physicality and talent of a tremendous defensive unit. Hopefully, the line has righted the ship because they will need to be on their game if the Bills want to win their first regular season game at New Era Field.