Inside the Film Room: The Big Play Vulnerability of the New York Jets’ Defense


Nov 24, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Jets safety Ed Reed (22) looks on during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M

Another week, and another chance to go “Inside the Film Room”. As usual, we are going to break down the film of a significant play from the previous week. We take a look at it to see what happened, and why.

This week, we are going to look at a play that was a microcosm of the Jets’ season. The defense, for the most part, has been solid. The exception to that rule, however, has been its propensity to give up the big play. All it takes is one, and it puts a less than potent offense in a hole that is difficult to come out of.

Nothing illustrated that better than the 72 yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to DeAngelo Williams on the screen pass. Let’s take a look. It starts with great design, and ends with poor angles/tackling.

The Jets are playing a single high safety, Ed Reed, circled on the Jets’ side. The Panthers fullback motions into the backfield behind Cam Newton and in front of DeAngelo Williams. At the snap, the fullback is going to set up in the right flat to block, while Williams goes out to receive the pass. This is where the design comes in.

Watch how the receivers on the outside, following the arrows, create space for Williams on the catch.

See the design here? DeAngelo Williams is about to receive the pass at the 24 yard line. The outside receiver has run his man 20 yards downfield. The slot receiver has run his man about 17 yards down the field. Ed Reed is playing a deep center field, about 25 yards out of the play. This sets up a play where after the catch, Williams has yards and yards of space before the defense can come up and make a play. The players that aren’t deep flowed to the left side thanks to a Cam Newton pump fake.

As we move forward, the poor play on the defense will come to light.

First, David Harris gets beaten badly by Williams. This foot chase almost made David remind us of Bart Scott in terms of speed, or lack thereof.

We have two players that are an issue here, the first is Dee Milliner. We all know the problems he has had in coverage this year. Well on this one, he gets stuck engaged in a block as if he was stuck to his man like glue. He has to figure out how to shed this block and make the stop.

Second is Ed Reed, circled with the “ER” next to him. He takes the angle reminiscent of a rookie, instead of lining the guy up and stopping Williams as the last line of defense, he takes an angle that leads him to collide with Milliner and the Panthers’ blocker. It wasn’t pretty to watch, and we know the final result.

72 yards later, Cam Newton and company are all smiles as Williams scores the TD.

In any NFL game, there are just a couple of plays that end up making the difference in the result. As good as the defense has been for the Jets, they have had trouble, giving up that play fairly often. This play was indicative of how things have gone. Up and down, just like the season as a whole.