Taiwan Jones has been a noticeable contributor to the offense this year and has grown increasingly important. On Sunday, he had his biggest, flashiest, and most exciting offensive play and cemented his name in many fans' minds. He was also involved in a few other plays and in one particular play, he again flashed some of that game breaking skill that makes him an exciting player.
Unfortunately, the play was negated by a penalty on the backside, but the play itself is still worth noting because of what Jones showed us.
Play 61 : Q4, 2-10-NYJ 34 (14:11) T.Jones right tackle to NYJ 24 for 10 yards (S.Richardson; M.Williams).
PENALTY on OAK-R.Hudson, Illegal Use of Hands, 10 yards, enforced at NYJ 34 - No Play
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At first glance, the play may look like a very basic Off Tackle run that creates some space into which Taiwan explodes for a big gain. As with most plays, there's quite a bit more to it than that.
So far in 2015, the best way to get Taiwan into space has been to use the Crackback Toss play. Get the WRs to crack down on the outside, pull the OL, and then Toss to Taiwan to get him out on the run.
This play is on tape and has been used often and has been successful. It's also a key, primary play in Taiwan's arsenal so Bill Musgrave knows that the Jets are aware of it.
Taiwan has deadly speed that can outflank defenses. An aggressive defense like the Jets may be prepared to overcommit to this play when they see it.
OC Bill Musgrave may have expected that and calls for something different. This time, the call is to fake that Toss play and then run counter (opposite) to it. Ideally, the Toss Fake will get the Jets defense to jump and then clear out the backside. The inside handoff may then give Jones room to run.
But the Jets' defense is not just aggressive, they are disciplined and smart, also. While the Toss fake freezes a couple of defenders, they don't chase or vacate their responsibilities. The backside defenders (who are now the playside defenders) have maintained their responsibilities.
Even worse than that, OLB #57 Trevor Reilly crashes down hard and takes out both pulling LG Gabe Jackson and lead blocker TE Mychal Rivera.
With the two leading blockers taken away, it leaves Taiwan Jones 1-on-1 with a free defender #56 Demario Davis.
Jones attacks outside, forcing Davis to widen his position, and then cuts back inside. Davis would LOVE to make the tackle, but the most important part of his role is to play Force and make Jones cut back. In this case, the Help is not there and Jones is running into clear.
ILB #52 David Harris is a tackling machine. And this defensive play is designed to funnel Jones back to Harris. But the offense handles it well.
The initial Toss action held Harris on the backside of the play. Harris had to honor the toss which kept his feet still and slowed him down.
Austin Howard releases from his Tandem Block and works his way to the second level. He eyes Harris and does a great job getting on top of him.
Webb seal his man and Howard seals his man. This is called "Cutting the Defense in Half."
Howard is expecting the play to be run right behind him and doesn't realize that there's a body pileup in the running lane. Taiwan's going to be a little bit late coming thru and this puts additional stress on Howard to maintain his block.
Howard maintains that block long enough (without holding) but Harris is able to eventually work his way free just as Taiwan is breaking past the line of scrimmage.
As Harris fights to clear, Howard is able to get one last chuck on him.
The timing of the play is interrupted and so now when Taiwan comes thru, he finds David Harris disengaging from Howard's block and looking to make the tackle. Since Harris is just coming off the block, he is not quite set up in an ideal position.
Taiwan reads Harris' leverage.
Harris' leverage is to the inside and there is no immediate help to the outside. Jones gives a little shake and then breaks to the outside.
Taiwan is able to clear Harris and that frees him up to get downfield. He eyes the first down marker and then finishes off the run by lowering his head into two tacklers.
It's a beauty of a run.
Taiwan has speed to burn but also has some frightening suddeness; when he is given a little bit of space and can show it off, he makes everyone else look like they are slogging around in slow motion. What will be interesting to see what Bill Musgrave comes up with in order to get Jones the ball.
* * *
The play as it unfolded was quite exciting and impressive, but there are quite a few details to the play that are quite interesting and paying attention to them may change how you view the play.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the play is that the lead blockers were disrupted. Both Gabe Jackson and Mychal Rivera were supposed to lead the play and account for the defenders; had they executed well, they would have cleared a lane for Jones and he would have had an easier time getting into the clear. Instead, there was a 3-body pileup where the clear lane was supposed to be.
Some may initially say this is another example of poor blocking by Rivera or that Gabe missed his block. And while we'd hope that the Raiders would always execute and win their matchups, this is actually an example of a great play by the Jets' defender and a very interesting defensive play call.
A Scrape Exchange is when the outside LB and the Inside LB swap responsibilities and positions.
Typically, on this type of play the OLB #57 Trevor Reilly will play contain and the ILB #56 Demario Davis will attack up inside.
This sets up the blocking for the play as Gabe Jackson pulling to kick out the OLB Reilly and Mychal Rivera leading and taking on the ILB Davis.
Instead, the two Linebackers will cross with Reilly crashing down inside and Davis Looping to the outside.
The Exchange call is a good one and causes blocking confusion for the Raiders. Gabe Jackson is expecting Reilly to play contain so that he can kick him out. Reilly crashes inside so hard and so low that Jackson can't make the block on him; Reilly explodes past Jackson and then hits Rivera well into the backfield. This creates the body pileup and leaves Demario Davis unblocked.
One Jet draws two Raiders; this is called "Trading Two for One," which is a deal the defense always takes.
The Raiders' lead blockers were jammed up and this was a case of a great defensive play call and great execution by Reilly. Against a slower and less quick RB than Jones, this may have been a tackle for loss.
Interesting, though, is that this play was called against the initial formation. Recall that this was supposed to be a misdirection play with the initial look being a Toss action to the opposite side. If the play had really been the Crack Toss play, the Jets would have taken a chase defender out of the play.
Tandem Blocking and "Handing Off"
Since early this offseason, the left side of the OL has been stable and a group that most fans have confidence in. But when Menelik Watson went down, the right side became a major concern. Bears' castoff J'Marcus Webb is the latest player to fill the "cursed" RG position and the new RT is Austin Howard.
The early returns were so-so at best but under OL Coach Mike Tice's watchful eye, they have steadily improved. One aspect of the OL performance that definitely takes time and repetition and effort is what is known as "Chemistry." On this play, we get a nice example of that.
For the play to have a chance at success, the Raiders have to move the DE #96 Mo Wilkerson down and then seal him away from the runner. This takes both Webb and Howard; they double team Wilkerson and get just a bit of movement.
It would be nice if they could both just stay on Wilkerson for the duration of the play, but they can't.
Austin Howard has other responsibilities. He must work his way down to the 2nd level and pick up the chasing linebacker, in this case #52 David Harris.
Here is where the coordination and chemistry comes into effect. They must convert this Tandem Block with two guys pounding on Wilkerson into a single block where now only Webb will be fighting with Wilkerson. This is where Howard "Hands Off" or "Passes Off" the defender to Webb.
Howard has to slide out downfield while Webb has slide into the proper leverage. Webb wants to slide from Wilkerson's inside shoulder to the outside; this allows him to set up between Wilkerson and the ballcarrier's running lane.
Webb can't fight all the way outside, but he gets out enough to maintain a good block. Howard's continues to help control Wilkerson with his left hand.
And then when the LB #52 David Harris cross the field, Howard is able to totally disengage and make his own block on the 2nd level.
This is a nice job of the two coordinating their efforts against one of the dominant DEs in the game. It's a great view of what it takes for the two OL to make this block.
It's also an impressive look at Wilkerson who fights that double team throughout and who will eventually shed Webb, but not until too late.
The Big Guys have to work together. It has to be quick, powerful, and coordinated. When that all comes together, they make it look easy and fans can focus on the runner.
Rodney Hudson and Damon Harrison
The play was a nice one but gets called back for a penalty on Rodney Hudson : Illegal Hands to the Face of NT #94 Damon Harrison. It's a good call, Hudson does get his hand a bit high and as a result he smashes Harrison's helmet ajar. But the interesting thing is that a few moments after that happens, Harrison himself tosses his own helmet off his head.
During the play, it looks like Hudson hits and knocks Harrison's helmet off, but on further inspection, it's clear that the helmet has been knocked loose and then Harrison flips it off.
The penalty was on the backside of the play and had little effect on the outcome and it's unfortunate; that penalty negated a first down and backed the team up to a 2nd and 20.
It's a nice play and an indication that Taiwan may be worked more into the offense. Jones has run the Toss play with the WR crack several times, enough for it to be a noticeable play of his. This is a nice counter to that, to let defenses know that Jones may be used in the opposite direction.
Keep an eye on Taiwan and on the plays he runs. It's going to be fun to see how he is used in the offense.