Jump to content

Jets' Mo Wilkerson mired in longest sack slump in four years, but why?


Gas2No99
 Share

Recommended Posts

Jets' Mo Wilkerson mired in longest sack slump in four years, but why?

r138586_1296x518_5-2.jpg&w=768&h=307&sca

 

 

  • cimini_rich_m.jpg&w=80&h=80&scale=crop
    Rich CiminiESPN Staff Writer

 

For two years, Muhammad Wilkerson chafed because he outplayed his rookie contract and wanted a new deal from the New York Jets. He finally got it and it was a whopper -- five years, $86 million. That changed things.

When an athlete starts making top-of-the-market money, it raises expectations. Maybe it's not fair, but that's how it goes in our sports society. Wilkerson is making $22 million this year, second-highest among defensive ends, but he's not producing like a $22 million player.

Wilkerson has gone four straight games without a sack, his longest drought since the first five games of the 2012 season. That was his second year in the NFL, when he was a young pup. He has improved steadily over the years, becoming one of the better defensive linemen in the sport. He deserved the big contract, especially after a 12-sack season a year ago.

Despite a shortage of impact plays (only 1.5 sacks), Wilkerson isn't playing poorly this season. Some people might look at his numbers and conclude that he has downshifted now that he has a ginormous bank account, but that would be unfair. He's playing at a solid level, just not an elite level. There are a couple of reasons why.

 

  • He's overworked. Wilkerson has played in 299 out 309 defensive snaps, a ridiculously high number for a 300-pound defensive lineman. Coach Todd Bowles said the pass rush wore down Sunday against Ben Roethlisberger, who was sacked only once in his 380-yard, four-touchdown passing day. It's no wonder they got worn down. As usual, the Jets didn't rotate their linemen, which means they probably were on fumes by the fourth quarter.

  •  

  • The scheme has changed. In case you haven't noticed, the Jets have played mainly 4-3 fronts, with Wilkerson at left end. Bowles has transitioned away from the 3-4 to accommodate the talent on the defensive line (and lack of talent at outside linebacker). As a result, Wilkerson is living on the edge -- literally. He has lined up 79 percent of the time at left end, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

A year ago, Wilkerson split his time between outside and inside, depending on the front and down/distance. He enjoyed the best of both worlds, as he was able to beat guards with his quickness and overwhelm tackles with his power. They're not maximizing his versatility as much as they did last season; offenses know where he's lining up.

In theory, Wilkerson should be thrilled with the scheme change because, traditionally, 4-3 ends produce more sacks than 3-4 ends. But I'm not convinced that applies here because he's not a natural edge rusher. He's a defensive tackle playing end. Basically, the Jets are playing with four defensive tackles on the line.

"He was doing a lot of the same things last year when he had 12 sacks," Bowles said. "That's not the issue at all. People are paying more attention to him. He's getting doubled a little more."

In Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wilkerson was double-teamed on 11 of 44 pass-rushing plays, by my count. He was chipped on another five plays. He was singled on 28 plays. Crunch the numbers, and you'll see that he drew extra attention on one-third of the passing plays -- not an overwhelming number.

The most glaring example came on Leonard Williams' strip sack in the fourth quarter. The Steelers slid their protection to Wilkerson's side, doubling him. That left Williams singled up against the left tackle, and he bull-rushed him into Roethlisberger. Wilkerson indirectly affected that play.

But there weren't enough of those plays. Roethlisberger's trigger was too quick for the Jets, as he exploited their overmatched secondary with a barrage of short passes. As a result, Wilkerson made little impact.

Still, the great players find a way, especially in clutch situations. They find a way to overcome double-team blocks and scheme changes and workload. Wilkerson hasn't done that, and he came up small on a pivotal play in Pittsburgh.

At the start of fourth quarter, down by only four points, the Jets allowed Big Ben to hold the ball for more than three seconds on his 5-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown-- an eternity that close to the goal line. Wilkerson tried a spin move on third-string right tackle Chris Hubbard, a former undrafted free agent who made his first career start. Actually, it was his first game ever at right tackle.

Wilkerson's didn't get close to the quarterback. He was stoned by a nobody when his team needed a big play.

Four games and counting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Gas2No99 said:

"He was doing a lot of the same things last year when he had 12 sacks," Bowles said. "That's not the issue at all. People are paying more attention to him. He's getting doubled a little more."

Hey coach clueless... he got owned last week by a backup right guard playing tackle. GFY with the excuses... players coach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, PepPep said:

Shorter answer? The secondary. 

When the team is constructed from the DL back, with 3 first rounders on the DL... it is the DL that is supposed to make the secondary look good, not the other way around. I agree that they are complementary groups, but disagree with the idea that the secondary is where it begins... given how we're built.

With Rex, is was built from the secondary forward, which helped the DL. 

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hard pressed to figure how we go from 8 sacks on opening day to 0 sacks weeks later. 

Bowles is getting cute with the defensive schemes he thinks he's a genius he isn't 

What he's doing player personnel schemes it isn't working he's too pig headed and stubborn to adjust 

Sadly these traits do not make a good head coach 

The failure of this team is mainly on him and the QB 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Teams know the Jets d-line is good and the secondary is trash, so they game plan to get rid of it quickly with WR screens and 1-3 step drops.  If it's a 5-7 step drop they go max protect.  This isn't rocket science people.

The Jets also still lack a true edge rusher.  They have 4 interior guys starting on the d-line.

  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He is getting more attention, quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball much quicker, the cornerbacks can't cover, and Mo has never been a sack artist (this is the reason half the board didn't want to give him 100 mil - thankfully Maccagnan pulled a great deal.).

Those are your answers in a nutshell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, bitonti said:

let's not mince words here Mo, Sheldon and Leonard are all DT's. We can call them 3-4 DE or whatever else but we've seen they aren't effective pass rushing in the 9 gap outside edge, it's just too far for a 300-pound man to run. 

 

So it makes perfect sense for them to line up out there. It's not enough to have individually talented players (which they all are, and tremendously so). It's that they don't all belong on the same line at the same time unless it's to stuff a run between the tackles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, whodeawhodat said:

If our DL is over worked, go back to the "3-4" and rotate these guys... Unhappy to think about sitting one of our supposed big 3 for a series but if that is what they are using as an excuse for not impacting the game....

To run a 3-4 , you need talented linebackers . Harris is too old , a few rookies and the rest are average .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, joewilly12 said:

Hard pressed to figure how we go from 8 sacks on opening day to 0 sacks weeks later. 

Bowles is getting cute with the defensive schemes he thinks he's a genius he isn't 

What he's doing player personnel schemes it isn't working he's too pig headed and stubborn to adjust 

Sadly these traits do not make a good head coach 

The failure of this team is mainly on him and the QB 

Jeez...it's not that hard IMO.

Dalton is a statue and doesn't weigh 280 like Ben.

Smith is a 3 step drop get rid of it QB.  Taylor and Wilson are somewhat mobile and other teams ADAPTED by using quick hitting passes, passes to the flat, bubble screens to get rid of the ball quickly.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sheldon Richardson is the problem. He is taking all of Mo's plays but then not finishing them. He did the same thing last year when he was suspended. Mo was killing it then like he killed it in Week 1 and the Richardson comes back and never seen from or heard of again. Trade Richardson. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if the ran a 4-3 in week 1 with Richardson suspended. But whatever the scheme was in that game should be the staple. It worked and worked well, why would Bowles move from that success. Since Richardson came back the pressure was gone and the sacks disappeared.. I'm not blaming Richardson but you go with what works until it doesn't work anymore. That's the way we played and that's the way I coached on a high school level. I think a professional coach would have a little more on me. We have this speedy LBer. Why doesn't he blitz. Mauldin had some success last year. I'm miffed at this point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, MaxAF said:

Not sure if the ran a 4-3 in week 1 with Richardson suspended. But whatever the scheme was in that game should be the staple. 

Jesus...this again.

It isn't the scheme...it's the team we were playing at the time, the lack of tape, the attributes of the opposing QB.

Dalton isn't mobile.  He continually dropped 7 steps and searched the field.  He got killed.  The rest of 'em?  They were mobile QB's or their OC didn't put them in that position.

The next teams realized that to eliminate the Jets DL you:

drop 3 steps

get rid of the f*cking ball short, which we apparently can't or won't stop, and

take isolated shots down the field in 1-1 coverage when the situation presents.

it ain't this hard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, greenwave81 said:

Jesus...this again.

It isn't the scheme...it's the team we were playing at the time, the lack of tape, the attributes of the opposing QB.

Dalton isn't mobile.  He continually dropped 7 steps and searched the field.  He got killed.  The rest of 'em?  They were mobile QB's or their OC didn't put them in that position.

The next teams realized that to eliminate the Jets DL you:

drop 3 steps

get rid of the f*cking ball short, which we apparently can't or won't stop, and

take isolated shots down the field in 1-1 coverage when the situation presents.

it ain't this hard.

That's not what happened in Pittsburgh. Ben was dropping back 5-7 steps and in shotgun all day. No pressure.

  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Integrity28 said:

When the team is constructed from the DL back, with 3 first rounders on the DL... it is the DL that is supposed to make the secondary look good, not the other way around. I agree that they are complementary groups, but disagree with the idea that the secondary is where it begins... given how we're built.

With Rex, is was built from the secondary forward, which helped the DL. 

Doomsday, the Fearsome Foursome, the Steel Curtin, The Purple People Eaters, the New York Sack Exchange.  Ring a 🔔 Bowles will go down as the mastermind head coach that spawned the New York Suck Exchange. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share



×
×
  • Create New...