Picked-up pieces from third-quarter review of the New England Patriots' 27-25 win over the New York Jets:
1. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but when Marcus Cannon rotated into the game for the first time at left tackle (1:37) and there was an immediate pressure surrendered on that side with him and guard Jordan Devey (incomplete pass on first down and then another pressure on third down), it sparks a question as to whether a rotation is the best way to go. (We assumed it’s a rotation because Cannon then switched to right tackle on the next series.) One line of thinking is that staying in the game allows the linemen to continue to get a feel for each other and see the same picture of what is in front of them. The other line of thinking is that it shouldn’t matter -- a block is a block. I don’t have an overly strong opinion on it, but would lean toward the former -- stick with a group of five and let them grow together.
2. There seemed to be some interest in tight end Tim Wright's playing time, as he only played seven snaps in the first half but then was on the field for the first seven snaps of the third quarter in the 2-TE package with Rob Gronkowski. That seemed to be a halftime adjustment of sorts, as the Patriots got into that grouping and went to work with some success from a balance perspective (three runs, four passes on drive that ended in a field goal). That’s a key for the Patriots with Wright -- showing the ability to run the ball with him in the game when the defense plays nickel like the Jets did. Otherwise, Wright is just a glorified receiver. Of Wright’s 20 snaps, 13 came in the second half.
3. Defensive tackle Casey Walker's sack, in which he joked after the game that he checked the SportsCenter app to see if he got credit for it, came on a six-man blitz (3:09). The Jets picked it up fairly well and quarterback Geno Smith had time to scan downfield for one of his targets (the Jets had a 1-WR/3-TE/1-RB) package in the game and released four into routes). The Patriots appeared to have good coverage in the 5-on-4 matchup down the field, forcing Smith to hold on to the ball a bit longer, as the pressure arrived.
4. The end result wasn’t what was desired -- a Smith to Eric Decker connection for 18 yards on third-and-12 at 10:12 -- but there was one positive thing about the play from a Patriots perspective that stood out. Rookie Zach Moore's pass rush, in which he got his hands into veteran left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson's chest and drove him back, was probably the best of Moore’s 16 defensive snaps in the game.
5. One week after putting on an edge-setting clinic against the Bills, not allowing runs to get outside, the Patriots weren’t as sharp in that area against the Jets. One example came on the first offensive play of the quarter, a 16-yard run by Chris Ivory as left defensive end Rob Ninkovich got caught inside.
6. Following up on running back Jonas Gray's blitz pickup, which was viewed as a positive in the second quarter, it’s not to say it’s a finished product. On first-and-10 with 5:34 remaining, Gray had a tough time with blitzing linebacker David Harris. That was the one play of the game that receiver Brian Tyms was on the field and the Patriots were looking for something down the field but just ran out of time.
7. Not a Patriots-specific note, but for Jets followers wondering why 2012 first-round pick Quinton Coples is seeing less playing time, Julian Edelman's jet sweep (6:07) on third-and-1 is a good play to highlight. He was unblocked and still lost containment as Edelman picked up the 8-yard gain.