Inside the Jets vs. Cardinals Film Room: Offense
By Alan Schechter
Dec 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy (14) rolls out of the pocket against the Arizona Cardinals during the game at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to back inside the film room, this morning with the Jets offense. As we do each week, we are going to take a look at what they did, and how they did it. But, we are going to do it a little bit differently this week. Instead of breaking down one or two plays, we are going to concentrate on the most popular Jets player of the moment. You may have heard of him, he got a lot of applause and attention on Sunday. His name is Greg McElroy. Let’s take a look at each of his drop-backs from his quarter and a half of play:
DROPBACK #1-THIRD QUARTER, SECOND AND 6 FROM THE AZ 43
McElroy is under center, with Bilal Powell and Lex Hilliard straight back behind him. Jeff Cumberland comes in motion from left to right across the formation. Stephen Hill is wide to the left, set one on on with the cornerback, and is the primary receiver target. McElroy takes a straight five step drop, and is locked in on Hill all the way. Hill tries to run his man off with a fake to the inside and a hard stutter step, but the cornerback isn’t buying. Hill is well covered, but McElroy takes a shot throwing to Hill towards the endzone, and overthrows both him and the defender. A good idea to take a shot, but really had no chance of hitting Hill. Maybe some jitters on his first NFL pass?
DROPBACK #2-THIRD QUARTER, THIRD AND 6 FROM THE AZ 43
The Jets have Greg McElroy in the shotgun, two receivers left, two receivers right, and one back (Kahlil Bell) next to Greg. Hill is wide to the left, and again is the primary target for McElroy. McElroy takes the step, drops back five short steps and delivers the football. Stephen Hill runs a simple out cut, and McElroy throws a solid pass, and Hill makes the catch for eight yards and a Jets…FIRST DOWN! I like Greg’s footwork, as they are very decisive. He steps up and makes a strong throw. But, yet again, he deadlocks onto his primary receiver the entire way, he never stops looking at Stephen Hill. The ball is also a bit high, but a good throw nonetheless.
DROPBACK #3-THIRD QUARTER, SECOND AND 7 FROM THE AZ 32
The Jets are in a tight, run-like formation. McElroy is under center, with 2 backs behind him in an off-set I formation. One receiver is flanked wide to the left. McElroy takes the snap, executes a nice play-action fake to Bilal Powell, getting the defense to flow to his left. Greg takes the ball and runs a designed roll-out to the right. The problem is that the linebacker guarding Jeff Cumberland is not fooled, and sticks right with him, as does the linebacker guarding Konrad Reuland. Nobody is open so McElroy runs, taking a scramble for three yards. What I love is that he didn’t try to force it, instead taking the yardage that was given. He then, instead of sliding, lowers his shoulder for the out of bounds contact, drawing the personal foul, putting the Jets in great position:
Good job by McElroy not forcing the issue, taking the scramble that was given, and drawing the penalty.
DROPBACK #4-FOURTH QUARTER, 3RD AND ONE FROM THE AZ 1
This play is very similar to the one we just described. The Jets actually have the “jumbo” package in the game, with Jason Smith in as a tackle eligible. Two backs are straight behind McElroy, and there are no wide receivers out there. McElroy shows terrific ball handling here, selling the play-fake and opening things up for Cumberland, take a look:
See the linebackers, circled in red, following towards Shonn Greene? It was a great play-fake that got them moving towards the running back, but that left the right side wide open for Jeff Cumberland, circled in green. McElroy takes the designed roll-out to the right, easy pitch and catch for the TD. Great ball handling by McElroy here.
DROPBACK #5-FOURTH QUARTER, THIRD AND EIGHT FROM THE NYJ 35
On this one, McElroy is in the shotgun with Kahlil Bell next to him on the right. The formation starts with three wide receivers to the left and one to the right. Jeremy Kerley comes in motion across the formation from the slot left to the slot right. McElroy takes the snap and steps up. Unfortunately, nobody down the field has gotten any separation down the field, so everybody is covered. So, he alertly steps up in the pocket and scrambles right, making a smart flip to his running back, Kahlil Bell. Unfortunately, Bell fumbles the football after being hit by Kerry Rhodes, but the play was an alert one by McElroy. Good pocket presence.
DROPBACK #6-FOURTH QUARTER, SECOND AND ELEVEN FROM THE NYJ 25
McElroy is under center on this one, with one back straight behind him. There is one wide receiver lined up wide to the left, and 2 wide to the right. Jeremy Kerley motions from the outside on the right to the slot on the right. McElroy takes the snap and executes a three step drop. Kerley runs a simple out route, McElroy makes a strong throw to Kerley, complete for five yards. His footwork is solid, McElroy makes a strong throw, and puts it in a great location for Kerley to make the catch in stride. Well done here.
DROPBACK #7-FOURTH QUARTER, THIRD AND SIX FROM THE NYJ 30
McElroy is in the shotgun with one back lined up next to him to the left. Two wide receivers are lined up wide to the left and one is lined up wide to the right. McElroy takes the snap, and rolls in what looks to be a designed roll out to the right. Unfortunately, nobody is open, so wisely, he throws the ball away as he takes a hit. Take the incomplete pass and move on.
DROPBACK #8-FOURTH QUARTER, SECOND AND SIX FROM THE AZ 46
McElroy is under center, with one back straight behind him. There is one wide receiver to the left , and one to the right (S. Hill). Hill motions from right to left across the formation. McElroy takes the snap and runs a designed roll-out to the right. Again, nobody is open so he takes it forward for a 4 yard scramble. Nothing special, but still not forcing the issue, taking what the defense is giving him.
DROPBACK #9-FOURTH QUARTER, THIRD AND THREE FROM THE AZ 43
From the shotgun, McElroy has one back lined up next to him on the left. Two wide receivers are lined up to the left, and two to the right. Stephen Hill is to the outside on the right, and is the intended receiver on this play. McElroy takes the snap and takes 5 steps back, locking in on Hill the entire time. Hill never really gets off the press coverage, but McElroy takes a shot, giving Hill a chance to make a play. However, he didn’t see the help coming from the safety, and he overthrows Hill, getting picked off by the safety. Luckily, the play was nullified by a penalty, but a bad throw here, and a bad decision nonetheless.
DROPBACK #10-FOURTH QUARTER, THIRD AND NINE FROM THE AZ 37
This is a huge third down conversion for McElroy here. He is in the gun, with one back next to him to the right. One receiver is lined up to the left (S. Hill), and one to the right (J. Kerley). Hill is initially lined up tight in the formation, but motions wide to the left. McElroy takes the snap and drops a quick three steps. Kerley runs his man down the field, and McElroy puts a great throw on his back shoulder. Kerley makes the catch good for 13 yards, and a huge third down conversion to keep the game in the Jets hands. Good footwork and a strong accurate throw.
All in all, 5-7 for 29 yards and 1 TD is by no means spectacular. But when you break it down, McElroy made good decisions, accurate throws, and for the most part, didn’t force the issue. He might have locked onto his primary target a little too much, but that will get better. He didn’t make great deep throws, but he only threw it seven times. Let’s give him a chance.
All in all, the early returns are a quarterback that is accurate, makes good decisions with the football, but isn’t the best with the deep ball. Remind you of anyone?
The Jets could do a lot worse.