By Nick Shook
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Entering Year Two of the Todd Bowles era, the Jets‘ defense figures to be as formidable as ever. Just don’t tell that to A.J. Green.
Matched up against the famed Darrelle Revis, Green went to work, catching all 10 of his targets for 152 yards and a touchdown. It was startling to see Revis, known so much for his prowess in one-on-one situations, failing to effectively cover Green in such scenarios.
To Revis’s credit, it’s impossible for a cornerback to cover a receiver forever, so what about that Jets‘ front seven that’s supposed to be getting to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton?
Well, they did their fair share. But after holding the Bengals back early, Cincinnati adjusted.
After going three and out to start the game and dealing with plenty of pressure on Dalton, Cincinnati deftly avoided similar situations by crafting an adjusted gameplan filled with quick-hitters. Gone were the five and seven-step drops, the elongated play-action fakes and the ages spent sitting in the pocket as the walls crashed down around Dalton. Instead, we got this.
Green ran precisely two routes longer than 10 yards. One went for a 54-yard touchdown. Dalton found Green in open space and let him work, gaining a good portion of his yards after the catch. Ah, the coveted YAC.
Dalton finished with the third-quickest average release time of Week 1 at 2.11 seconds, per Next-Gen Stats, which when you think about it in simple terms, is crazy fast. Many of those short, concise plays are the reason for it, and the Bengals‘ 23-22 win.
Kwon Alexander flies all over the field
Eyes popped all over the nation as they opened the box score and scanned to Kwon Alexander‘s stat line. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker finished Sunday’s 31-24 win over Atlanta with 17 total tackles, good for most in the league after Week 1. Next-Gen Stats tell us he earned every one of those tackles.
Alexander showed his range and speed in covering an average distance of 15.2 yards per tackle made against the Falcons. His tackle chart, which includes a sack and four additional tackles behind the line of scrimmage, shows the linebacker went as deep as three and a half yards into the backfield and almost 19 yards back into the defensive secondary to bring Falcons to the Georgia Dome turf. Alexander is just the type of swarming, agile linebacker Tampa Bay will need in Mike Smith’s defense.
Burned for six
2016 is off to a much quicker start for Brandin Cooks and Mike Wallace — literally.
Cooks reached the fastest speed of any human playing professional football this week, hitting 22.13 mph — good enough for a speeding ticket in school zone — on his 98-yard touchdown reception against the Oakland Raiders.
Long known as a deep threat, Wallace broke into our general consciousness Sunday with his 66-yard touchdown reception against the Bills. His top-end speed was on display, hitting 20.58 mph as he streaked past the Buffalo secondary and stiff-armed safety Duke Williams for an extra push of space and enough to hit paydirt.
Dak Prescott spends third of afternoon on the run
Dallas didn’t take long to use Dak Prescott‘s mobility to its advantage.
The rookie quarterback attempted a third of his passes outside of the pocket on Sunday in a 20-19 loss to the Giants, according to Next-Gen Stats. Prescott’s rate, 33.3 percent, was 6.8 percentage points higher than the next most-pressured quarterback, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
Prescott’s first pass of the season forced him out of the pocket, thanks to a corner blitz from New York’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Prescott skirted the pressure and threw a dart to Dez Bryant to get the ball closer to the sticks. The Great Wall of Jones wasn’t exactly impenetrable, but many of Prescott’s forays into the wilderness outside of the tackle box were by design.
Prescott’s mobility and ability to accurately throw on the run are attributes that can be utilized as weapons by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. A perfect example of this came on a designed play-action boot in the second quarter that resulted in a beautiful, 21-yard completion to tight end Geoff Swaim. Expect to see more of these designed bootlegs and short rolls toward the flats in Prescott’s coming starts.