This renaissance could definitely still occur under the pair and it was always more of a 2022 expectation based on the youthful roster, but the recent losses have been depressing. A lack of talent is one thing but a lack of heart and pride is another.
Coach Saleh’s teams are supposed to be known for that no-quit mentality. Right now this Jets group is known for the no-show performance. Having said all that, it’s important to take notice of some positives for the sake of our sanity and one standout defender has been edge rusher Bryce Huff.
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Skilled Pass-Rusher Joins Elite Group
After Week 7, the Jets’ 23-year old pass-rusher surged into the top 10 in a crucial category for his position, pass-rush win rate.
According to ESPN Analytics, Huff’s win rate now ranks tied for seventh in the NFL at 24%. The best in the league is Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt at 30%, but no other disruptor surpasses 27%. That means Gang Green’s 2020 undrafted prospect is only four percentage points from a number two rank.
This analytic has led to 2.0 sacks so far in 2021, with 13 quarterback pressures (per Pro Football Focus) and a 74.4 pass-rush grade on the season. There’s no doubt about it, Huff can get to the quarterback but his knock has always been his ability as a run defender.
The jury is still out in this regard, with a mixed bag of analytics to judge off. For example, PFF has charged Huff with a terrible 41.9 run defense grade during his sophomore campaign. ESPN Analytics on the other hand has the defensive end in the top 10 for edge rusher run-stop win rate.
Once again, the Memphis product joins an elite group here with a 31% run-stop win rate that is tied for sixth in the NFL among eligible edge defenders. Now, win rate doesn’t always mean perfect execution. Huff must work on finishing plays, whether that means a sack or a solid stop on a rushing attempt.
At such a young age though, he’s a clear bright spot for Saleh and an impressive notch on the belt of Douglas as a UDFA find. Huff once told Harrison Glaser that he’s doing everything in his power to make sure he doesn’t “get overlooked” ever again, and turning heads is a great way to do it. He should be a staple of the Jets D-end rotation for years to come.
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Jets Defensive Line Stats Are Curious
Huff isn’t the only Green & White D-lineman that made the top 10 in win rate according to ESPN Analytics. On the pass-rushing side of things, Sheldon Rankins and Quinnen Williams currently rank fourth and fifth in the NFL for interior linemen.
Rankins has a 19% pass-rush win rate, while Williams is just under him at 18%. The two have been taught to attack the pocket under Jeff Ulbrich and Saleh, but they’ve gotten burnt by screen passes and run designs because of it.
The Jets defense must work on finding a balance between the two mentalities.
Folorunso Fatukasi also tops the charts in run-stop win rate for all interior D-linemen at 48% (tied with Sebastian Joseph-Day). Unfortunately, he’s coming off his worst outing against the rush as the New England Patriots bullied this defensive line straight up the gut in Week 7.
PFF graded Fatukasi at an uncharacteristically low run defense score of 40.2 this week. The Jets rank 25th in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game.