Jets’ young secondary continues to improve even as losses pile up

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Tua Tagovailoa
    Tua Tagovailoa
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

Even though the Jets suffered their third straight loss and 11th overall in Miami, you don’t have to look too hard to see the bright spots.

The secondary spearheaded an excellent performance against Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa, who had put up a passer rating of over 100 in four straight games.

Against the Jets, Tagovailoa was nothing close to the passer who played well in the Dolphins’ win streak. In the three games prior, Tagovailoa was completing a blistering 80% of his passes with five touchdowns.

Even as the Jets’ defense struggled against the run, they limited Tagovailoa to completing 59% of his throws for 196 yards and two touchdowns to go with two interceptions.

Stifling the pass while the run is cooking is extremely difficult to achieve. Once the run game is rolling everything opens up offensively.

So give credit to the secondary. Tagovailoa looked inadequate and the Dolphins receivers were clamped up, giving him no room to throw.

The league average for yards of separation is 2.9, according to Next Gen Stats. The highest amount for a Dolphins receiver on Sunday was Isaiah Ford with 1.78; Devante Parker had 1.6, Albert Wilson 1.01 and Mack Hollins .77.

The Jets dressed the Dolphins receivers in an orange jumpsuit and escorted them to jail with no bond.

The majority of their catches were in tight coverage. Brandin Echols and Bryce Hall played the best out of the cornerback group.

Echols was phenomenal as he allowed one catch on five targets, had three pass breakups and snagged a game changing pick-six in the fourth quarter. Echols credited Michael Carter II for his first career interception.

“Pre-snap it wasn’t my call. It was actually Michael Carter’s call, just communication across the board to the defense,” Echols said. “He saw something and I trusted him, so that’s what led me to get the pick.”

In Echols’ first season in JUCO, he caught a pick-six when he played for Northwest Community College in 2017. So, it was fitting for his rookie season in the NFL to feature a pick-six also.

When Echols was targeted the expected completion percentage was 52.0% and he held receivers to 20%, according to NGS.

Impressive outing.

Echols’ running mate Hall, played almost as well too.

Hall was targeted six times and allowed only three catches for 17 yards. Hall’s only mistake occurred on Tagovailoa’s go-ahead touchdown pass to Parker when he beat Hall on a slant route in the fourth quarter.

“I just didn’t recognize the formations. I think they tell a story,” Hall said. “I was kind of expecting a bigger dude going up for a fade ball, but he caught an inside route, he ran a slant. So respect to him. That was a good route he ran. I felt like I could have been better just understanding pre-snap what the offense was telling me, and then just be there to make that play. You learn and grow from it, and I definitely learned from that.”

Even when Hall or Echols weren’t targeted, they were glued to receivers’ hips on routes.

Robert Saleh received heat from not adding more to the cornerback room in the offseason. But Saleh’s decision hasn’t backfired as the young group is a strong point on the defense.

“They’ve done a really nice job. I always challenged them to get the ball. That’s the next step that entire groups got to take, and we did get the pick six, which was awesome,” Saleh said. “But that’s the next step, can we go get the football? But it’s been really cool to see them getting their PBUs and playing sticky coverage.”

The pass defense performance wasn’t only the corners. They benefited from good safety coverage from Ashtyn Davis.

Davis snagged his second career interception after picking Tagovailoa in the first quarter. If the run defense doesn’t give up 183 rushing yards, the Jets might have snagged the upset win.

Overall, it was a good day from the secondary.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting