Jets Cornerbacks Pass Tough Test With No. 1 NFL Rank Against Bengals

Michael Carter II

Getty New York Jets nickelback Michael Carter II was on the field often in the October 31 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Heading into the Week 8 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, one key factor was limiting Ja’Marr Chase and this dynamic core of wide receivers.

The rookie out of LSU has been on a tear in 2021 as the current favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Chase was averaging 107.7 yards per game before facing the New York Jets with 754 yards on the season. His final stat line versus Gang Green: three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown off eight targets.

This young Jets secondary has played at an elite level all season after many questioned them throughout training camp but in the past, the excuse was that they have not faced top talent. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos aren’t known for their wide receivers, the Tennessee Titans were without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones in Week 4, and the Atlanta Falcons were missing Calvin Ridley in London.

Before Cincy came to town, the argument could be made that the greatest challenge actually came in Week 1, against a Carolina Panthers unit that included D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. After Week 8, the Jets cornerback hype has been legitimized.

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Jets Coverage Grades Pass With Flying Colors

"This Is The Standard" | CB Bryce Hall Postgame Interview | The New York Jets | NFLTeam reporter Ethan Greenberg is joined by CB Bryce Hall to discuss Coach Saleh's message to the team after a win like today, how he feels he performed in today's game and more. Subscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: For more Jets NFL Action: #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL For more Jets action:…2021-10-31T22:30:41Z

We’ve mentioned that Bryce Hall is turning into a true shutdown NFL corner but Brandin Echols and Michael Carter II have also exceeded expectations as rookies. On Halloween, this entire unit came to play.

According to Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor: “The Jets’ corners allowed six catches on 12 targets for 71 yards and three conversions (2 touchdowns, 1 first down). That is the fewest yards and fewest total conversions allowed by a cornerback unit against Cincinnati this season.”

In other words, Jeff Ulbrich’s secondary ranks numero uno against the Bengals so far this season. Here is the list of allowed yards from cornerbacks versus Cincy.

Going one step further, Pro Football Focus graded out Carter and Hall as the Jets’ top defensive players in Week 8. Here were the scores for each of the NYJ corners.

CBs Snap Count Overall Grade Coverage Grade Run D/Tackling Grade
Bryce Hall 54 75.6 75.2 67.8/78.1
Brandin Echols 54 56.5 54.7 64.0/75.4
Michael Carter II 51 78.4 69.2 83.8/77.5
Javelin Guidry 6 71.0 76.0 60.0/74.5

PFF is a good judge most times but you can also determine the coverage performance for yourself. Hall allowed two receptions off four targets (36 yards), while Echols was targeted more. The Bengals attacked the Kentucky product six times and he held his own, allowing just two grabs for 11 yards.

Carter was barely thrown at due to his lockdown coverage, but he did give up a 21-yard reception on his only target. Guidry didn’t play much on Sunday, allowing one three-yard catch.

“I think it was a really good challenge for me today,” stated Hall after the game, “I think I’m still learning and growing, there’s so [many] inches in the game and so, for me, I look and I learn and I feel like there [are] some opportunities out there that I can be even more on top of, more better, make plays on the football and change the game around. So that’s how I look at it, how can I perform? I’m always thinking what can I do better for this team.”

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Week 8 Emphasis From Ulbrich, Coaching

Robert Saleh spoke on the impressive outing by his defensive backs. “Those DBs take a lot of pride in the task and [Chase] was a big challenge. A lot of the explosive plays that Cincinnati has been able to generate has come through him and [it] was challenge accepted between all the DBs, not just the corners but the safeties and there was a lot of great communication… there were some [plays] where they were on a island and we were trying to mix up that coverage as much as possible to keep them from creating that explosive play.”

He complimented his coaches too, adding that he “thought that [Ulbrich] and Marquand [Manuel], Tony Oden did a heck of a job with regards to game plan and then the players did an unbelievable job executing it.”

The Jets HC once called Hall the “most consistent” of his young corners on September 10, noting that they’re confident that the second-year player is “not going to get you beat.”

Hall explained Ulbrich’s strategy as well: “We know that they live on a lot of explosives and so our strategy was to limit those explosive plays. We know that they have players that can go deep and I felt like our game plan was solid. I felt like we did a good job, we controlled the run game which allowed us to be able to control the explosives in the pass game.”

The Virginia product is quickly turning into a team leader that seems very mature for his age. After a brutal loss in Week 3, he said this: “We’re a family on this team, even though we go through these struggles… Brothers are born from times of adversity and so when we go through these stretches, this is when we’re going to begin to dig in and keep grinding through it.”

Gang Green ended up winning their next game in Week 4.

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