Due to compressed travel schedule this week, the article is streamlined to just star treatment with thorough detail on pressure, packages, and scheme on the defense podcast.
- (Q1, 8:27): He cleared LG Tomlinson allowing Queen penetration for tackle of RB Carter RM1
- (Q1, 7:51): He held initial double team from C McGovern and LG Tomlinson and shed the LG after the C climbed to tackle RB Carter RM0
- (Q1, 7:16): On 3rd/9, he bulled RG Vera-Tucker for pressure as Flacco threw behind WR Davis which was tipped and nearly intercepted by Humphrey
- (Q1, 3:07): On 3rd/10, he bulled LG Tomlinson for a fast pressure to flush Flacco left. Queen cleaned up with late QH but Flacco completed PR9 to WR Wilson to force a punt
- (Q2, 3:14): On 2nd/15, LG Tomlinson blocked him to help lead RB Carter RM22
- (Q2, 1:16): On 3rd/5, he dropped to cover and forced a fumble with his left hand on what would have been a conversion to TE Conklin. The ball was recovered behind the original line to gain and forced a field goal.
- (Q3, 7:14): He stood up then shed C McGovern to tackle RB Carter RL1
- (Q4, 4:28): On 3rd/6, he bulled LG Tomlinson for pressure to force throw away OOB
- (Q4, 4:22): On 4th/6, he bulled then pancaked LG Tomlinson for pressure as RB Carter dropped an easy TD reception
- (Q4, 1:33): He ran by RB Carter for a fast QH to force an incomplete at the line of scrimmage
Pierce led the DL in snaps and frequently remained in the game in passing situations. He had 5 full pressure events (4 pressures, QH).
The performances of both Pierce and Madubuike are more impressive when considering the Jets quality NFL starters on the interior (Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, and Alijah Vera-Tucker).
Want another reason to be excited about the DL? They did this all without Travis Jones.
- (Q1, 9:49): He held right edge vs. RT Mitchell to support Madubuike’s tackle of RB Hall RR-2
- (Q1, 3:16): He beat LT Fant inside for a fast QH as Flacco avoided fumble with hand moving forward
- (Q1, 3:11): He had hands up on screen left dropped by RB Hall 1 yard behind the LoS
- (Q2, 11:40): He beat LT Fant cleanly inside for pressure as Flacco threw PR6 to WR Berrios
- (Q2, 6:17): He beat LT Fant inside for a fast S-6
- (Q2, 5:32): He pursued Flacco left off initial pressure from Marcus Williams but was unable to make shoestring sack. Campbell chased him OOB for S-1.
- (Q2, 1:20): On 2nd/5, he undercut the pulling RG Vera-Tucker to tackle RB Carter RM0
- (Q3, 11:16): On 3rd/15, he stunted through the left B-gap for pressure as Flacco completed PL9 (-3 + 12)  to force a punt
- (Q3, 1:03): On 2nd/2, he bulled LT Fant into Flacco for pressure despite a help block from LG Tomlinson on PL2
- (Q4, 7:32): On 4th/1, he beat RG Vera-Tucker outside for pressure as Flacco threw PR7 to convert
- (Q4, 2:00): He bulled LT Fant into Flacco for pressure on PM5
LT George Fant had no answer for Houston’s inside moves and may now be reconsidering his complaints about being moved to the right side prior to the injuries to Becton and Brown. Justin had shares of 9 pressure events. His undercut of Vera-Tucker (Q2, 1:20) would fit right in with the best run plays of Terrell Suggs’ career.
- (Q1, 14:29): He bulled LG Tomlinson into Flacco as he threw incomplete at the LoS
- (Q1, 14:03): On 3rd/5, he bulled LG Tomlinson into Flacco to flush right where Campbell forced intentional grounding for effective S-10
- (Q1, 9:49): He beat TE Conklin inside and pursued down the LoS to tackle RB Hall RR-2
- (Q2, 12:20): He penetrated vs. RT Mitchell to tackle RB Hall RM0 with Campbell
- (Q3, 12:38): He and Queen cleaned up initial pressure of Means for shared S-5
- (Q3, 11:56): On 2nd/15, he diagnosed and pursued screen right to RB Carter to tackle PR0 (-6 + 6) 
- (Q3, 6:31): On 3rd/9, he stunted to bull C McGovern into Flacco for S-8 negated by Stephens’ illegal contact
- (Q4, 14:38): He bulled C McGovern for pressure as Flacco threw PM3
- (Q4, 8:44): He, Houston and Oweh combined to phonebooth the pocket with bull rushes as Washington knocked down Flacco’s pass at the LoS
He had contributions to 4 pressures (3 full), shared a sack with Queen, and had another sack negated by illegal contact. He won impressively with quickness and strength vs run and pass.
- Michael Pierce
- Justin Houston
- Justin Madubuike
Honorable mention to Marcus Williams, Marlon Humphrey, and Broderick Washington.
I saw a clip of Sean Payton being interviewed and he mentioned it was a common theme around the league of OLs greatly underperforming early in the season. He seems to think it’s a product of starters being held during the preseason, and the almost complete absence of padded practices during training camp.
So while the DL performance was very positive, it may not be predictive of how good the unit will be once OLs have time to gel.
Thanks again, Ken. That’s too bad about your travel schedule. I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on how Oweh, Stephens, and Hamilton performed.