by Ben Muth
I always enjoy when one of the teams I'm covering is playing in a prime-time game. It means that I'll be able to watch the whole game live and get a feel for what I think is happening, and then rewatch it and get a much better feel for what actually happened. The Jets played the Browns on Monday Night Football this week, and it made me second-guess my own initial excitement because midway through the second quarter I realized I was going to have to relive this Jets offensive performance a second time. But there are often times when a new camera angle and a second viewing can illuminate positives you missed on the live viewing. It didn't happen this week, but it does happen.
There's a famous scene from the Kevin Costner classic Bull Durham where the manager is chewing out a minor league baseball team for lollygagging and poor play in general. During his rant he asks his assistant coach what their record is. The assistant lets him know their record is 8-16. All the head coach can respond with is a disgusted "How did we ever win eight?" It's a great scene in a great movie that I couldn't get out of my head on my second viewing of this game. The Jets lost 23-3 on Monday night and after rewatching the game all I could think is "how did they ever score three?"
The Jets didn't do anything on offense particularly well. There weren't really any standout players (Le'Veon Bell did make some people miss). It seemed like their best play was letting Myles Garrett hit the quarterback and hope he fell on him with all his weight to draw a flag.
The Jets offensive line was pretty bad across the board. They didn't run it well, they couldn't protect, they made mental errors, and they got beat physically. It was a thorough beatdown by the Browns defense.
This play encapsulates a lot of what went wrong for New York all night. Let's start with offseason acquisitions Kelechi Osemele (left guard, 70) and Ryan Kalil (center, 55). They're clearly on very different pages. Osemele is blocking like he and Kalil are working in combination. Kalil looks like he expects to be working with the backside guard. The result is a play-side three-technique going unblocked on inside zone. Just a total disaster of a play.
If I had to guess, I'd say this is Kalil's mistake based off how the right tackle is blocking. He clearly thinks he's working with the right guard. Of course, if Kalil is working on the wrong down lineman, I think Osemele is working to the wrong linebacker. The Jets are so screwed up though it's tough to tell where everyone is supposed to be going.
One guy who is going to the right place is left tackle Kelvin Beachum (68). The issue is that he completely whiffs when he gets there. Beachum had a rough night at the office, and this is just a taste of things to come. His footwork isn't awful initially, but he just lunges and eats dirt against the quick swim.
Miscommunication and confusion also affected the Jets' ability to throw the ball.
Once again the Jets are so messed up it's impossible to tell who is at fault. My guess is that Beachum needs to slow himself down once he sees a potential blitzer walk up to the line of scrimmage. That would allow him to take a slanting Myles Garrett (95) as he steps down (again, slowly) to sell the fake, and only leave one defender off the edge for the tight end. If the Jets coach Beachum to always sell the fake, then tight end Ryan Griffin (84) has to take Garrett there, and make the blitzers run around them to get to the quarterback.
Even if New York had executed the back side of the protection, there are issues on the right side as well. I have no idea why Brian Winters (67) is in such a hurry at right guard. He really makes life difficult for Kalil. With a shaded nose, Kalil is trying to stay pretty heavy on the back side to help Osemele. But he has to leave too quickly because Winters is so aggressive in getting outside. Winters really hangs Kalil out to dry. Because of this, the Jets don't do a particularly good job on either defensive tackle.
I mean, what the hell is going on? This is so bad. I think Griffin is screwed up here, and that he and right tackle Brandon Shell (72) should be responsible for the defensive end and linebacker off the ball. So I don't know why he's chasing the outside linebacker. If he is responsible for the outside linebacker, his pass set of taking a couple steps inside is horrific and Shell's pass set would be just as bad, so I don't think that's his man -- I just have no idea why he's chasing him. Also, the tight end coming across the formation (Daniel Brown, 87) is completely useless and doesn't come close to blocking anyone.
The other disheartening thing is that once again the guys who do know who they're blocking don't fare much better than the guys who blew their assignments. Osemele gets caught off guard by the slant and can't redirect. The Jets offensive line really looked unathletic Monday night, and everyone seemed to struggle with Cleveland's movement.
Beachum also gets beat here. As an offensive tackle vs. a wide rusher, if you can get three good kick-steps with your shoulders relatively square, you will put yourself in great position to win the rep. Beachum takes two good initial kick-steps, but then he steps underneath himself and turns his hips upfield on the third, and that opens the gate for the defensive end to beat him around the edge. When you don't gain any ground on that third slide, you shorten the corner too much and really put yourself in a bad spot to try to run the defensive end past the quarterback.
Beachum really did have a rotten day in pass protection. Here, he's trying a really aggressively set against a defensive end (Olivier Vernon, 54) who is a little more tightly aligned than in the previous GIF. If you're going to set this aggressively, though, you cannot miss with your hands. Beachum's footwork is aggressive like a jump set, but his punch is slow and looping. He looks like he's trying to put clamps on the rusher. He misses, and now the defensive end is already on his hip so Beachum has no choice but to grab him and hope he gets away with it. He didn't get away with it and drew the holding penalty.
Osemele got beat again by a stunting defensive tackle (Larry Ogunjobi, 65), but the running back (Ty Montgomery, 88) was there to trip Ogunjobi up. Osemele doesn't look like he's moving like he used to for Baltimore, but it looks like he still has a mean streak at least.
As rough as Beachum's night was, it wasn't all on him. The guy he was blocking is pretty good too. This may not look like it, but that's a hell of a move from Garrett. I'm not sure there are five guys in the league that who can go from a finesse to power as quickly and effectively as him. That's a great get-off, and then he changes direction to almost back away from Beachum while still moving forward. Look at the distance Garrett creates right as Beachum punches. After Garrett separates enough to take away any power Beachum has on his punch, he reaccelerates with enough force to walk Beachum straight back into the quarterback. To change directions like that at the top of your rush and then redirect into that effective of a bull is freak athlete stuff.
It was a long night for New York and there aren't a lot of bright spots to look ahead to going forward except for their starting quarterback's spleen shrinking back to normal size over the next month or so. I know I wouldn't want someone playing at increased risk of lacerating an organ playing behind an offensive line that played like this one did Monday.