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Jets Secondary off to a Disappointing Start in 27-17 Loss

The New York Jets suffered a bad loss last Sunday, losing to the Buffalo Bills 27-17. As advertised, the performance by the Jets was all-around disappointing, both offensively and defensively. Meanwhile, injuries to Le’Veon Bell and Denzel Mims have left the offensive unit even more short-handed ahead of the Week 2 clash against the 49ers.

However, the worst display by any group on the field on Sunday might have been by the Jets secondary.

On the one hand, lack of receiving depth and Bell’s struggles made for a mediocre offensive display on the road. On the other hand, their problems were expected and foreseeable, with just Jamison Crowder showing up.

On the other hand, New York’s defense against the Bills passing game performed under the expectations. These expectations weren’t terribly high in any way, but even those were too high of a bar for the Jets secondary.

Josh Allen too much for Jets

The Bills came into the season with an improved offensive group and aspirations to average more points than last year’s abysmal 19.6. Furthermore, they surely delivered upon their promises, dropping 27 points in their season opener. However, it wasn’t the quiet running game, which accumulated 98 yards, that showed off for Buffalo. Instead, Josh Allen and his weaponry had a career day against a woeful Jets secondary.

Allen, entering his third year in the league, went 33-46 (71 percent completions) for 312 yards and two touchdowns. This was the most yards he’s thrown for during his NFL tenure, beating the 264 he recorded in the AFC Wildcard meeting with the Texans in January. The former Wyoming product has a terrifically clean and efficient outing, in huge part thanks to his new target, Stefon Diggs. However, this speaks volumes about how much the Jets suffered through the air on Sunday.

Jets passed on major upgrade

The Jets finished the 2019 NFL season ranking 17th in most yards allowed through the air. Moreover, they surrendered about 240 passing yards per game. This figure still ranks in the middle of the pack and is above a dozen teams. In fact, the secondary isn’t even the team’s worst personnel groups, as previously discussed. But it was very obvious that upgrades were needed for it to be deemed reliable.

And so, in the offseason, the possibility for upgrades seemed to be on the horizon. The confidence was significantly weakened when the Jets passed on signing former Titans corner Logan Ryan. Ryan was one of the NFL’s best outside corners last season with an allowed passer rating of 88.7 on 103 targets. Instead, NY had to successfully incorporate the group of signings they had already made. It seemed difficult for the new Jets secondary to climb the ladder. This turned out to be a correct statement on Sunday against the Bills. As for the much-needed outside help, this isn’t on board neither.

Many of the new Jets additions started on a low note in their Jets debuts. Pierre Desir came from Indianapolis and stood out as a top candidate to provide the Jets upside outside. However, he didn’t manage to stop anyone. Allen completed all four passes with Desir in coverage for 56 yards and a perfect passer rating in his zone. Also, Bradley McDougald and Nate Hairston gave up a passer rating of over 100.0 in more than three targets. These three combined for 9/10 completions for 148 yards, nearly half of Allen’s total on the day.

The bright spots

(AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

Still, there were some noticeable lights in the tunnel. First, the usual suspects in the passing defense, Brian Poole in the nickel and Marcus Maye on deep balls, both put on a satisfying display, combining for 6/10 for 69 yards. Secondly, Blessuan Austin was a rare standout on the outside, allowing just 4/8 for 17 yards, or a 56.2 passer rating. The 2019 sixth-round pick took on a bigger workload than anyone else in the secondary, thus making a real statement with his performance.

Nonetheless, even the slightest of ups don’t have the same significance as the overall performance. Considering that the Bills receiving corps are far off from the league’s best, the Jets don’t have the depth to face those groups. Unless Desir and McDougald’s performances improve dramatically, the Jets will be assaulted through the air nearly as badly as their own air raid is bound to fail.

Follow me on Twitter @TeodorTsenov for more of my content and follow @OT_Heroics!

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