Most of that is a credit to their resurgent pass-rushing unit. The Jets have great cornerbacks and when they get home on the quarterback, they tend to stifle the opposition.
Of course, everything seemed to click once one edge talent entered the fold, defensive end Bryce Huff, who was a healthy scratch the first three games of the season.
Insider Pegs DE Bryce Huff as Jets’ Secret Weapon
During an informative feature with The Athletic, NYJ beat reporter Zack Rosenblatt labeled Huff as Gang Green’s “secret pass-rushing weapon.”
“In three games without Huff, the Jets had a 31.4 percent pressure rate and averaged 2.56 seconds to pressure, per TruMedia,” Rosenblatt detailed. “When Huff has been on the field in the last five games, those numbers jump to a 50.7 percent pressure rate and an average 2.41 seconds to pressure. That pressure rate would be the highest in the NFL.”
It’s no coincidence that the former UDFA has acted as the spark that lit the powder keg, however, his personal statistics speak for themself.
“Nobody in the NFL is producing pressure at a rate better than Huff,” Rosenblatt voiced. “There are 263 defensive players who have played at least 50 pass rush snaps, according to TruMedia. Huff is fourth among all of them in pressure rate (20.5 percent) and first among defensive ends. There are 59 edge rushers with at least 15 pressures, per PFF. Huff is the only one to play fewer than 100 snaps. In Week 8, he led the NFL in pass rush win rate, per ESPN. And Huff is first among edge rushers in pass rush win percentage for the season (27.4), per PFF, tied with [Myles] Garrett.”
As the reporter highlighted, his “superpower” is his get-off speed, which ranks first in the NFL ahead of the aforementioned Garrett. “Per Next Gen Stats, it takes Huff an average of 0.65 seconds to cross the line of scrimmage, the fastest get-off among all players with at least 50 pass rushes,” wrote Rosenblatt, noting that the Cleveland Browns star was just behind him at 0.70 seconds.
Analytically, Huff is certainly impressive and you have to wonder if he still deserves more opportunities. In part, that’s why the Jets shipped off 2022 free-agent acquisition Jacob Martin to the Denver Broncos at the trade deadline.
That, and promising rookies like Jermaine Johnson II and Micheal Clemons.
“[Huff’s] vision is a tunnel, and the quarterback is at the end of it,” Rosenblatt narrated toward the beginning of his article. “It’s as if he’s shot out of a cannon.”
Bryce Huff Is Not Alone as Jets’ Pass-Rushing Trio Dominates
As we mentioned earlier, Huff has been the spark but the rest of Robert Saleh’s pass rushers have been pretty tremendous in their own right.
Jets X-Factor film analyst Michael Nania tweeted out the QB hit leaders for Gang Green this season. Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams led the way in a direct tie (16 each), with John Franklin-Myers falling into the three-hole (10).
Even better was how this trio ranked amongst other pass rushers around the league. Lawson and “Big Q” were tied for second in the NFL, while “JFM” was tied for 19th.
“They have a combined total of 42 QB hits,” added Nania, “the most of any defensive trio in the NFL. There are 16 [full] *teams* that have less than 42 [total] QB hits!”
This Jets pass rush is starting to resemble that of Saleh’s San Francisco defense that carried the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2019. If Zach Wilson and the offense can rebound over the second half of the season and this unit continues to get stronger, watch out for the Jets in late January — yes, you heard that right.