Dec. 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards (17) runs the ball after a catch during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28 to 9. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
(Note to my friend Nick Spano..don’t continue to read, you will not like this one)
We have talked at great length about the Jets lack of talent at the WR position. It’s a position that John Idzik and company didn’t address during the NFL draft, primarily going the UDFA route to bring players in going into training camp. Ben Obomanu has been the veteran exception. Many of us Jets fans have wondered why they have not gone out and signed at least one more veteran at wide receiver.
One name that comes up every year when talking about the Jets and wide receiver is Braylon Edwards. Why not? The guy has performed well with the Jets in the past, likes the quarterback, and wants to be here. He gives Sanchez confidence when he is on the field with him.
But yet, he has not been signed by the Jets. People have wondered why, wondering if maybe there was a problem with Idzik and Braylon’s agent while they were both in Seattle. I see it a bit differently. The problem is, and the reason Braylon isn’t coming back is, that he isn’t consistent anymore. Specifically, he can’t get good separation on a consistent basis anymore, a key for any wide receiver.
To illustrate what I mean, we are going into the film room to look at two plays. The first is from the fourth quarter of the game against the Titans in week 15. Let’s see what we have:
We are going to watch Braylon Edwards and his matchup, circled in green. Mark is going to drop back and fire quite the long pass towards the sideline and Braylon’s direction. Let’s watch him as he runs straight down the field.
You see the lack of separation that Braylon is achieving here? Mark is setting his arm back, and ready to fire. Does Sanchez complete the pass to his long time buddy? Let’s look at Braylon and his defender after the ball has been released:
The ball is in there, and yet Braylon can’t get enough separation to give Mark Sanchez a great target to look at here. Personally, I wouldn’t have thrown it there. But Mark did, and we know that , as usual the pass was picked off.
Turn the page and we will look at a play from the following week, against the San Diego Chargers.
Here, new starter Greg McElroy has his team deep in Chargers territory. We are again going to follow Braylon Edwards, again marked in green. See the Chargers’ front seven, circled in blue? Notice how they are moving up on the line of scrimmage? That would indicate an all-out blitz.
Edwards and McElroy both know that Edwards is the “hot” receiver, otherwise known as the guy the QB will look for first in the face of the blitz. Braylon runs a quick out pattern, as noted in the picture with the green arrow. Does he get enough separation to give his QB somewhere to throw to? Let’s move ahead and see.
The answer is no, no separation at all. There is not a lot of room for McElroy to make a throw. Had the separation been better, it would have made for an easy TD. Instead………..
McElroy has to basically throw the ball away. Not in the literal sense, but because the DB is so close, Greg has to put the pass up high wear he could thrown an incomplete pass, if his receiver doesn’t touch it. He does, and the pass is incomplete.
See what I mean? There is a lot to be said about the chemistry between Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards. Don’t get me wrong. If anyone wants to see an asset brought in to help Mark Sanchez, it’s me. I think that is obvious if you read this blog at all regularly.
But the film doesn’t lie. If a guy isn’t getting open, he isn’t getting open. If Braylon Edwards can’t get separation consistently, how does that make him better than what we already have?
That is why, to me, Braylon isn’t here. It is also why they don’t need to bring him back either.