You're Personal Guide to Scoring on the NY Jets

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Jets Sunday. A team with a defense that is breathtaking in their speed and skill.

Their line is monstrous, their secondary is fast, talented and aggressive. They finished second in points allowed per game last year.

Their number one characteristic is they do not allow big plays.

QBs like Josh Allen, who still hasn’t learned patience at age 27, eventually fall into the trap of trying to make something happen by gunning it deep or into tight coverage on intermediate routes. And when that happens, the door opens for a Jet victory, even with the likes of Zach Wilson playing QB. Josh threw 3 boneheaded picks against them.

The Jets will give up little underneath passes, as most teams will. And they are good at rallying and tackling. But those little yardage gains add up and a loaded offense like Dallas can move the ball down the field, if patient.

The Jets are tough red zone defense, so once down there, with the field much tighter, getting into the end zone is another story. Teams that have beaten the Jets recently have kicked a number of field goals and stayed patient.

I went back and reviewed all the Jets games from last year and a few things stood out:

The Jets want to win against the run with their great defensive line while still keeping their safeties deep. And it works most of the time.

They could be elite against the run, if they made it a priority, but stopping the pass is their calling card, so they go with light boxes much of the time.

With so much talent at all levels, they rally and tackle quickly when a RB does break through to the second level.

And that is how they arrive at 4.2 yards per carry allowed.

They can be run on if a team is determined and patient enough to stay with it.

But creativity in the run game, using shifts and motion to gain numbers and leverage advantages are critical. This is not a line you want to attack with predictable wide zone runs.

Teams have had success pulling guards and using some old school power concepts to bring the fight to the point of attack. I would love to see Dallas do plenty of this.

There are a number of highlight runs from variations of the basic draw play as well, which surprised me. I think those teams waited until the Jets star DT, Quinnen Williams was out of the game to try those draws. The Jets will rotate their linemen a great deal, so dialing up the right play at the right time is always a factor.

Attacking the perimeter would seem to be a better bet than middle runs most of the time. The most effective outside runs I saw came when the back attacked the line of scrimmage and then bounced it outside. Saw several instances of no edge having been set and the back scooting around the end into green grass, mostly to the right. This is Pollard’s specialty.

Tight Ends to Battle Stations

The Jets appear to have a vulnerability when it comes to covering TEs. In terms of fantasy points surrendered to TEs, the Jets ranked 22nd. To put that in perspective, the Texans ranked 15th and D. Schultz went off for 87 yards last year; the Bears ranked 5th and Schultz had 74 yards; Tampa Bay ranked 24th and Schultz had 62 yards in the first meeting and then 95 yards in the playoffs. So, the Jets sitting at 22nd vs. TEs is a very good sign.

On a more general note, the Jets are one of those teams where attacking the linebackers in coverage will likely bear more fruit than pounding into the middle of their vaunted defensive line. Rushing is still essential as outlined above, but play-action passes to the TEs or RBs will likely be far more efficient.

Fortunately, Dallas has a versatile and underrated assortment of tight ends to attack with.

Pick your heavy personnel group: 2 TEs, 1 RB (12), 3 TEs, one RB (13), 2 TEs, 2 RBs (22), 2 RBs, 1TE (21) and even 3 TEs, 2 RBs (23).

Any of these packages gives you the option to run the ball with lots of beef or play-action pass to a RB or TE.

In the case of 12 and 21-personnel, you still have Lamb and Cooks on the field to keep the corners and at least one safety honest.

For Dallas, 21-personnel can become 12-personnel with a simple motion of Luepke from the backfield to the line. Anything and everything Dallas can do to make the Jets vaunted defense react to them and work to decipher what is coming next will be essential.


I heard the term out-motion on the Athletic podcast this week when both of their hosts were geeking out (as only they can do) about this wrinkle in the Dolphin’s passing attack vs. the Chargers.

Everyone uses jet motion. We all know what that is about any how it impacts a defense. But out-motion is a shorter, more economical way of getting a speedy receiver on the move right before the snap of the ball and getting him a free release off the line of scrimmage. The WR lines up in the slot, 3 yards back from the LOS, nearly in the backfield. Then, at the QBs signal, he sprints horizontally three steps before the snap of the ball. Now he’s the outside receiver already on his fourth stride and turning it upfield at the snap with a head of steam.

I love this wrinkle because it’s simple, not a gadget, won’t burden the offense, but puts tons of pressure on the secondary. The Dolphins did this several times against the Chargers and it works quite well.

As you can see, the CB is on his heels and it’s pretty simple to threaten him deep before breaking off a route inside for a nice completion on a crossing route. Or the receiver could run a slant route the moment he crosses the LOS. The cushion he’ll have due to the out-motion will be substantial.

Or, a talented route runner could throw a Dino route at the CB, getting him fully turned around.

Dallas could use this out-motion with Lamb, Cooks or Turpin.

But this is just one example of keeping the WRs on the move and getting them easy releases off the line. This is essential against the Jets due to their speed and talent level in the secondary.

I will be watching closely to see how many types of motion are employed by Dallas. Jet-motion, orbit-motion, out-motion, in-motion—I wouldn’t mind seeing a variety pack on display.

Mixing up alignments. This is another area that could be fruitful. Sean McVay got Cooper Kupp isolated on linebackers more than any other WR in the league the year they won the Super Bowl. Sheer genius. He even managed it in the Super Bowl.

I love this because it’s taking your biggest weapon and making it even more powerful, as opposed to saying "Okay, WR1 can win on his own, let me work to get these other guys easier matchups." No, use your best weapon on your opponents weakest target.

Power is strength plus the will to use it.

I’m hoping to see Lamb lined up in the backfield on a few occasions. Maybe he takes one handoff, the rest of the time he releases into a route. And this is done in 11 personnel, so there are two other WRs to occupy CB1 and CB2.

Slot Talk

Lets talk about the Jets slot corner compared to the Jets other corners

Michael Carter II is the Jets nickle/slot corner. He’s a good football player and is well regarded in the Jets locker room.

But his talent level isn’t in the same ball park as their CB1 and CB2.

Sauce Gardener ranked 1st in PFFs final CB Rankings from last year. Best in the NFL.

DJ Reed Jr. ranked 10th

Michel Carter ranked 52nd out of 60.

New York allowed just 1,110 receiving yards to outside receivers last season, more than 150 yards fewer than any other team in the league.

Sauce Gardner (90.0 coverage grade) and D.J. Reed (77.5) are excellent cornerbacks, but they stick to playing outside.

The Jets allowed 1,885 yards to players lined up in the slot or at tight end last season, according to Draft Kings, the fifth-worst total production allowed.

Make no mistake, attacking teams from the slot and attacking linebackers with our TEs is going to be a huge theme this season.

It isn’t just the Jets who are weak here. Many teams are electing to go cheap at the linebacker position and many teams struggle to find a difference-maker to man the slot. On top of that, many teams have just one safety (or none) they really feel good about.

The Eagles, Giants and Commanders are all teams with tough defensive lines and weaknesses in the middle of their secondary.

Other Odds and Ends


The use of "leak plays" was successful against the Jets defense.

Any play that includes a receiver (often a TE) who disappears into the line, emerges barely past the LOS and stays close, running laterally across the formation, then leaking out into a route, is a leak play. This is the "under cover of darkness" version of route and it works remarkable well. It’s more effective if the player is far down on the list of coverage priorities. Often times this results in a wide open receiver with a bit of grass in front of him. The link above shows an example of a TE taking his route deep, which is another great idea against the Jets.

Hunter Luepke is an excellent candidate for this. Slow for a RB, but fast for a TE and likely the forgotten man, he could get Dallas a big gain using this concept. But also Schoonmaker, Ferguson or Hendershot. Or from a two-back set, Rico Dowdle could go unnoticed.

Crossing Routes

It appears that shallow crossing routes will be effective, but the Jets know these are coming, so we’ll see.

I would like to see a few pivot routes—where the receiver starts a crosser then abruptly reverses course—in order to use the Jets aggressiveness against them. If you recall peak Cole Beasley, he ran the pivot or jerk route better than anyone I’ve ever witnessed. Turpin could do this quite well.

And you can’t mention crossing routes without mentioning mesh concepts or pick plays.

Gotta have em against this team.

Bunch Formations

I would dial these up to 11 for this game. So much can be done. WR screens, fake WR screens, throw a TE in there but send him on a deep crosser or a post…

The Bottom Line

It is very hard to pull away from the Jets, even when their QB is terrible. That is how good their defense truly is.

Which leads to this conclusion: Don’t hold back plays. Don’t save stuff, waiting to see if it’s needed to win this game. This is not a game to FAFO. When the Jets hang around, they can score on defense or some fluke busted coverage or punt return and win.

Also, do not expect the Jets to come out flat, because of RAD (Rodgers Achilles Disappointment). If that does happen, it’s Christmas in September, because Dallas will annihilate them.

But it is highly unlikely the Jets defensive unit, who prides themselves on being excellent, will have a let down. There are too many dogs on that unit who love to fight.

Dallas will need to show them that their defense is even better.

And on offense Dallas just needs to play smart, be patient, run the ball the efficiently and kill with a thousand cuts in the passing game.

Will Dak Surpass 270 yards passing vs the Jets?

Probably not.

First, it shouldn’t be needed, because Dallas’ defense should be able to shut down the Jets offense almost entirely.

If it were to happen, this is the distribution I would anticipate:

Total TE Yardage: 80

RB Receiving total: 50

WRs Receiving total: 140

Note that the TEs do plenty of heavy lifting in this scenario.

My best guess for combined rushing offense from Dallas in this game is 125 yards.

A more realistic passing total from Dak versus the Jets is 210.

The Bills put the ball in the air 41 times and Allen was sacked five times and threw three picks. They put on a clinic on how to blow a game your team should win against a back up QB.

Fortunately, McCarthy and Dak have other ideas for how to go to war on Sunday.

As long as the Dallas defense continues their excellence, 335 yards of offense from Dallas should secure a victory.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.