NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets fans should keep a close eye on these three players in Week 11.
The NY Jets will return from their bye week in Week 11 with little to play for — at least when it comes to winning games.
At 0-9, the 2020 Jets are officially the worst team in franchise history through the first 10 weeks of the season and are well on pace to be the worst team ever in the existence of the organization.
Considering the 1996 team went 1-15, that’s saying quite a bit.
This week, they’ll take on a 2-7 Los Angeles Chargers team that’s much better than their record indicates. All seven of their losses have come by one score whether they’re falling just short against a stout Kansas City Chiefs team or the lowly Denver Broncos.
No matter the matchup, the Chargers always seem to play competitive football, for better or worse.
To their credit, the Jets are coming off their best game of the season — a narrow 30-27 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football that saw the team fall on a last-second, game-winning field goal from former Jets kicker Nick Folk.
Still, the Jets showed life with Joe Flacco under center. Flacco will start once again in Week 11 with Sam Darnold sidelined with a shoulder injury.
But Jets fans aren’t tuning in to watch a 35-year-old Flacco throw the ball around. If you do decide to tune in, here are three players to keep an eye on.
Next: 3. Quinnen Williams
3. Quinnen Williams, DL, NY Jets
Quinnen Williams will return in Week 11 after a brief one-game absence and he will be looking to pick up right where he left off prior to the hamstring injury that caused him to miss the Monday night game against the Patriots.
Williams has been one of the Jets’ few bright spots from a rather dark 2020 season. The former No. 3 overall pick is in the midst of a breakout season of sorts with three sacks and some of the best run-defense figures in the NFL.
He’s been nearly as effective as a pass-rusher as he has an interior run defender with a Pro Football Focus grade of 71.8 that ranks 32nd at his position. He’s one of just a handful of interior defensive linemen to have a PFF pass-rush and run-defender grade north of 70.0.
And he’ll be up against a Chargers’ interior offensive line that has been shaky at best this season.
Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney both rank in the bottom-10 at their respective positions with only two qualified centers grading out worse than the latter. And the returning Trai Turner has been even worse when on the field in 2020.
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Williams will look to take advantage of a weak Chargers offensive line upon his return. Now, they’ve been significantly better in pass protection, but expect the former Alabama star to make a handful of flashes in the run game this week.
Jets fans will surely be looking forward to the return of one of their brightest young stars on defense.
Next: 2. Mekhi Becton
2. Mekhi Becton, LT, NY Jets
Another player who will be returning from injury in Week 11 is rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton. Becton was pulled during the team’s Week 9 loss to the Patriots with what was originally described as a chest injury.
The initial prognosis seemed odd, but it appears as though Becton was simply having trouble breathing due to a cold he was suffering from. Hardly a cause for concern going forward.
The No. 11 overall pick has been incredibly impressive through the first half of the season, but has missed time with injuries. However, he’ll return here in Week 11 and face perhaps the toughest task of his brief NFL career.
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Becton will be tasked with blocking the duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram — one of the premier pass-rushing duos in the NFL. Bosa and Ingram tend to alternate sides so it’s likely that Becton sees his fair share of both throughout the game.
Bosa has been his ever-productive self with 4.5 sacks in seven games, but Ingram has struggled to get things going in 2020. The three-time Pro Bowler did miss time in the middle of the season but has yet to record a single sack in six games.
Expect him to look for that sack in Week 11.
Facing two stout pass-rushers, it will be interesting to see how Becton performs. At the very least, the Jets are just hoping to see him finish a full game for only the fifth time this season.
Next: 1. Bryce Hall
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Kevin R. Wexler-USA TODAY Sports
1. Bryce Hall, CB, NY Jets
No player will be thrust into a bigger role in Week 11 than fifth-round rookie Bryce Hall. Hall missed all of training camp and the first eight weeks of the season before making his NFL debut two weeks ago against the Patriots.
He wound up playing around 50 percent of defensive snaps and certainly looked rusty. But there will be no rest for the weary as, all of a sudden, he finds himself as the team’s No. 1 cornerback this week.
The Jets lost their top three cornerbacks in a matter of a few days with Pierre Desir released and Blessuan Austin and Brian Poole now on injured reserve. It will be up to Hall and an inexperienced Jets cornerback group to limit a potent Chargers passing attack.
Hall could very well see plenty of snaps lined up across from three-time Pro Bowler Keenan Allen who’s on pace for his fourth straight 1,000-yard season. Allen does see a ton of work out of the slot, but he’s not exclusively a slot guy.
If not Allen, Hall will likely be matched up with the physically-dominant Mike Williams who is far from an easy matchup either.
Cornerback is one of the hardest positions to transition from college to the NFL game. It’s why we’ve seen so many rookie cornerbacks struggle this season — the lack of a true offseason to prepare has had its toll.
Asking Hall to cover two excellent receivers just two games into his NFL career is nearly an impossible task.
But if he manages to hold his own, Hall could solidify himself as a future building block on defense.