New York Jets: Three takeaways from the Pierre Desir release #TakeFlight

New York Jets, Pierre Desir

The release of Pierre Desir leaves some lasting ripple effects across the remainder of this New York Jets season…and beyond.

Another week, another veteran bid farewell in the New York Jets organization.

The Jets released starting cornerback and team interceptions leader Pierre Desir on Tuesday, ending his New York career after nine games. Desir joined Steve McLendon and Avery Williamson as Jets defenders that have been sent away in the midst of this lost season.

How does this affect the Jets (0-9) moving forward? ESM investigates…

Let the Kids Play

The macabre silver lining on the Jets’ side is that their winless status leaves them with nothing to lose from a team standpoint, allowing them seven more consequence-free games, seven chances at free research and development for 2021 and beyond. We’ve seen it on offense with Denzel Mims starring on the receiving front and La’mical Perine seeing his workload increase with Le’veon Bell gone. Defensively, this should be fifth-round rookie Bryce Hall’s time to shine. Hall previously relieved Desir through coaching decisions in the late portions of the most recent loss to the New England Patriots.

It certainly appeared that the release of Desir was at least partially made with the younger players in mind after head coach Adam Gase’s comments on Wednesday.

“I think where we’re at right now we’re really looking to play as many of these young guys as possible,” Gase said, Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated. “We just felt like it was the right decision to give him an opportunity to go try to get an opportunity somewhere else. I don’t think a guy with that experience and a guy that’s been a starter for multiple teams, kind of having him play scout team, and possibly be inactive or a backup really wasn’t fair to him. So, we felt like this was the best decision to make and get these young guys out there and play those guys.”

Hall began his NFL career with placement on the COVID-19/reserve list before being moved to the non-football injury list in September. He was activated for his debut in the New England game and earned two tackles. Desir’s departure could be a big opportunity for both he and fellow rookie Lamar Jackson. The undrafted Jackson could return to secondary after partaking almost exclusively on special teams over the past few weeks.

Not-So-Lucky Horseshoes

While Joe Douglas’ inaugural draft class has worked out, for the most part, his free agency class has left much to be desired. That’s particularly true for a triumvirate of former Indianapolis Colts defenders who are no longer with the team.

Desir’s release comes after the Jets already bid farewell to his Racing Capital comrades in Nate Hairston and Quincy Wilson. Hairston was serviceable in relief but struggled in two games this season prior to his October waiving. Wilson, brought in through a trade on draft day, likewise failed to make an impact and was let go last week. The previously released pair have already found new homes, with Hairston going to the Ravens and Wilson joining the Jets’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants in blue. Desir has had a tough season (his receivers earned 35 catches against him, ninth-worst in football), but he still has enough talent and experience to head to a contender’s roster and contribute to a playoff run, much like he did during his Indianapolis tenure.

That doesn’t do the Jets any good in the meantime, and the Jets absorb $3.5 million in cap space with the release of Desir, equaling his guaranteed money upon taking a Jets uniform. Fortunately for their cap situation (just over $29 million currently), nothing adversely affects 2021 (where they still have an excess of $80 million to spend). It simply doesn’t bode well for Douglas’ first free agency class that two members (plus one from last season) are already gone.

Park the Tank

Many Jets fans are completely indifferent as to whether they win or lose at all in 2020. The hardly-restrained jubilation seen when the Jets blew their lead against the Patriots on social media showed just how apathetic or numb fans have become to this woebegone season. Losing, in their eyes, only contributes to the cause of earning the top overall pick next spring. If it means joining the Lions and Browns in 0-16 infamy, so be it.

But the release of Desir shows that any deviation from a full effort will not be tolerated in New York.

As New England made their comeback, some saw Desir slacking and not chasing after receivers at full speed, leading to his benching for the remainder of the game. Now that he’s gone, it’s up to Hall and company to rise where Desir fell. Being an accomplished veteran isn’t enough to exempt a player from trying to erase the goose egg that resides in the Jets’ win column. Time will tell if it allows them to avoid an imperfect fate, but it’s clear that the Jets believe that Hall gives them the best chance to win a football game.

“Some of these guys that are really young, they’re fun to coach because these guys, they’re all ears, they’re trying to do everything possible to put themselves and the team in the best position possible,” Gase said in a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Last year was a good example of having success with some of these guys that a lot of people didn’t think were very good, and we were able to win some games because of it. We’ve just got to keep getting these guys better and find a way to win it at the end of the game. When we get to the fourth quarter and it’s a close game, let’s go win one of these things.”

The Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets release CB Pierre Desir (Report)

New York Jets, Pierre Desir

The defender’s New York Jets career ends after nine games, tallying 47 tackles and three interceptions in that span.

Per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the New York Jets are releasing cornerback Pierre Desir. The defender was signed to a one-year deal by the Jets last spring after his release from the Indianapolis Colts.

Desir, 30, earned 47 tackles and three interceptions during his brief New York tenure. His most memorable moment came in the Jets’ Thursday night tilt against the Denver Broncos at the start of Week 4, when he tallied the second multi-interception game of his career, as well as his first touchdown. Desir also had an interception in the Jets’ Week 2 loss against San Francisco.

Despite these turnovers, Desir mostly struggled in a Jets uniform. According to Pro Football Focus, receivers covered by Desir have earned 35 catches, the ninth-worst in football. Desir was also called out by New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta for not appearing to give a full effort during a crucial moment in the Jets’ latest loss, a narrow 30-27 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots. The aforementioned Denver game also saw Desir victimized on a highlight reel touchdown catch by Jerry Jeudy in the Jets’ 37-28 loss.

With the reported departure of Desir, the Jets have bid farewell to a trio of former Indianapolis Colts in their secondary, joining Nate Hairston and Quincy Wilson. The previously released duo has since respectively signed with the Ravens and Giants.

The departure of Desir will likely lead to extended opportunities for the Jets’ rookie class. Fifth-round rookie Bryce Hall came in for Desir during the New England game, while the Jets are also experimenting with undrafted first-year man Lamar Jackson and sophomore Bless Austin in primary roles. New York is allowing over 281 passing yards per game, 29th in the NFL.

The Jets (0-9) return to action on Sunday late afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Four plays that shaped the New York Jets’ Week 1 fate

ESM looks back on the New York Jets’ Week 1 defeat, finding a play from each quarter that’s shaping their past, present, and future.

When taking a look at exactly where it went wrong for the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon, one well could argue that things went awry from the opening kickoff.

The Jets (0-1) opened their 2020 campaign with a 27-17 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Week 1’s final score shielded just how ugly the game, particularly the first 30 minutes, truly was, as a 21-point onslaught buried the Jets before they could truly get going. Fleeting positives were able to emerge in the second half, but the former segment’s shortcomings cast a considerable pall over any progress the Jets were trying to make or showcase in their season opener.

“There is so much for us to clean up,” head coach Adam Gase said in defeat. “It was a rough game. We didn’t play well enough. We have to get a lot of things fixed in a short period of time.”

ESM looks back on opening weekend, looking back on a big play from each quarter, one that will affect the team’s past, present, and future…

1st Quarter: Pierre Desir’s penalty 

Maybe it’s just the “2020” effect, but Sunday’s first quarter already feels like an eternity ago. The early stages of the frame actually granted brief hope to the Jets in the form of Marcus Maye forcing the ball from a running Josh Allen, putting the ball right into the hands of Bradley McDougald. Maye and the rest of the unit, however, were barely granted a two-minute break to compose themselves. An offensive three-and-out lasted just two minutes, forcing the defense to return to service almost immediately.

Buffalo took advantage of the Jets’ gassed defense, working their way to New York’s five-yard-line. The potential of holding Buffalo to a field goal seemed realistic and rookie kicker Tyler Bass was anything but fully reliable (2-of-4, though one miss appeared to be ruled incorrectly). If the Jets emerged from the ordeal with a 3-0 deficit, good vibes could’ve emerged from a dangerous quarter.

Alas, a Desir penalty, a defensive holding infraction to be precise, gave Buffalo a fresh set of downs as Allen’s would-be touchdown pass to John Brown fell incomplete. Allen and the Bills capitalized immediately in the form of his first of three touchdowns on the afternoon, this one being a two-yard rush. It began a streak of three consecutive touchdown drives and buried the Jets before they even knew what hit them. Desir had a tough debut in cover Brown and touted Buffalo newcomer Stefon Diggs. He was eventually benched for Nate Hairston in the second half.

Penalties continue to be an issue in the Gase era. The Jets were 10th in the final penalty rankings last season (115) and the nine yellows they drew on Sunday were tied for the most with Tampa Bay and Arizona.

2nd Quarter: Sam Darnold’s Interception

It’s possible to hold both Gase and Darnold accountable when analyzing Sunday’s disastrous results. One particularly garish play was something that simply should come from a third-year franchise quarterback. Darnold’s first interception of 2020 was an across-the-body toss that more or less served as the premature dagger for the Jets’ Sunday chances.

The defense managed to hold Buffalo scoreless on the drive that came from the Matt Milano interception, taking advantage of another Allen fumble. But still wasn’t an encouraging sing the Jets wanted to see from their franchise savior.

“The interception was just a bad play to try to fit a ball in there that I shouldn’t have,” Darnold said in his postgame comments. “It’s a bad play, it’s inexcusable, there are no excuses for it. I’ve just got to be better.”

Criticism against Gase is widespread these days…early Vegas odds have him ranked as the coach most likely to be fired midseason…but one can rip on his situations and playcalling while also acknowledging that Darnold has more to learn. The offensive line actually performed rather well in Sunday’s showing, but Darnold worked his way into coverage sacks that stalled drives. He’s got a lot to work on with a relentless rush from San Francisco visiting East Rutherford on Sunday.

3rd Quarter: Marcus Maye Forces a Field Goal

A rare Sunday silver lining of consistency was Maye. Thrust into the defensive spotlight after Jamal Adams napalmed his New York bridges, the safety got his contract year off to a good start with the tune of a game-high 10 tackles to go along with the forced fumble and a pair of sacks and pass breakups each.

Each of Maye’s sacks came on third downs in the third quarter, the first capping off a three-and-out on Buffalo’s opening trek. The latter, a three-yard loss at the cusp of the red zone, kept the Jets’ hopes temporarily alive. His takedown led to an unsuccessful 38-yard try from the rookie Bass, three plays before Darnold united with Jamison Crowder for the Jets’ most electrifying play (a 69-yard scoring hookup and the team’s first 2020 touchdown).

Maye admitted that the Jets’ biggest Sunday sin was failing to contain Allen, who made up for his turnovers with 369 yards of offense, a career-best.

“(We failed at) containing the quarterback,” Maye explained. “(Pass interference penalties) in the first half hurt us and letting (Allen) extend plays. Other than that, in the second half we got off the field like we needed to once we settled in. It wasn’t really anything that they necessarily did, it was all us I feel like.”

To Maye’s point, the Jets allowed only two field goals in the second half and allowed less than 200 yards. Maye knows that a better start against San Francisco and beyond could work wonders.

“You have to come out hot. You have to come out fast. You can’t wait until things get tough to get going. From the first play you have to come out.” Maye remarked. “We just have to execute and be disciplined in our rush lanes. When the ball is in the air, just be composed and be smart.”

4th Quarter: Josh Adams Gets a Workout

Le’Veon Bell missed a majority of the second half with a hamstring injury, one that will keep him off the field for the foreseeable future. It opens up a new opportunity for Adams, who made a name for himself as an undrafted rookie, discovered by Joe Douglas in Philadelphia. Adams finished in the top ten in rookie rushing with 511 yards and joined the Jets’ practice squad last season. He was in the same spot at the start of September but was promoted when it was clear La’Mical Perine wouldn’t be ready for Week 1.

Adams took full advantage of spelling Frank Gore in the dying stages of Sunday’s loss, earning 22 of the Jets’ final 65 yards on their last drive. The last two allowed him to score his first NFL touchdown since December 2018.

The Notre Dame alum was placed on the practice squad earlier this week, but with Bell on short-term injured reserve and extended moves on and off the squad allowed in this trying season, it stands to reason that Adams will be called upon to fill the void while Bell heals. If Sunday’s final drive is any indication, he can certainly help stem the New York bleeding.

The Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon against the San Francisco 49ers (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets add former Air Force defensive back to ranks

New York Jets, Zane Lewis

The New York Jets have added a new piece to the secondary in the former track star and defensive back Zane Lewis. Lewis was signed by the Cardinals as a UDFA out of Air Force for the most money of any of the 21 UDFAs they brought on.

When watching him, a few key abilities show why he earned the money he did originally. His speed, versatility, and on-field production are big reasons why and why the Jets picked him up quickly.

How will Zane Lewis fit in with the New York Jets: 

At Air Force, Lewis played in 37 games with 94 tackles, 5 TFLs, and 2 INTs. In 2019, Zane played in all 13 of their games and put up 45 tackles and one pick. He also finished fourth in the Mountain West for pass deflections with 15 as well.

Lewis was a key contributor and leader for a squad that had their best year in a long time, finishing 11-2. Lewis received a lot of compliments during the pre-draft process for his coverage abilities and his vertical speed. His biggest flaws though, came when looking at his tackling. It was evident in watching him shortly that he needs to get better as a tackler to stick in the league.

With the Jets they have a lot of depth at corner currently. That doesn’t mean much, though. Aside from Pierre Desir, Bless Austin, and Brian Poole, there is no clear 4th option. If Lewis comes in and performs quickly, he could fight for that role at some point. Still, with his flaws, he will need to shape up quickly. If he does, the speedy corner could be a nice addition. 

Can the New York Jets rely on Pierre Desir as their top corner in 2020?

New York Jets, Pierre Desir

Can the New York Jets rely on Pierre Desir in 2020 as their top cornerback?

The New York Jets are undoubtedly taking an interesting approach with their cornerbacks unit, featuring new signing Pierre Desir, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts, as one of their primary options. At 29 years old, Desir is a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He played football in Division II with Washburn, where he eventually earned himself a fourth-round selection (127th overall) in the 2014 draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Desir is a quality corner that has played inconsistently throughout his career. In 2019, he earned a 64.9% completion rate against and allowed five touchdowns. He also logged a 13.8 missed tackle rate, showing off a significant decrease in tackling efficiency and coverage ability. He tends to have more success as an off-ball man cover corner. He can get tossed around at the line of scrimmage due to a lack of strength and hand fighting, but he is decent in mirroring opposing wide receivers and sticking with them on their breaks. His lack of strength is supplemented by good athleticism and play speed, but I wouldn’t categorize him as a top corner on any given team.

He signed a one-year deal with the Jets, likely a “prove it” contract to earn a long-term extension in 2021. Over the last six seasons, he has spent time with the Browns, Chargers, Seahawks, and then a more consistent home with the Colts.

His best game to date comes against the Houston Texans in the 2019 AFC Wild Card game, which the Colts won 21-7. He covered top wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, all night, limiting him to 37 yards on five receptions. The longest catch was a 13-yard reception in the fourth quarter, with the Colts enjoying a healthy lead and shutting down one of the league’s most prolific pass-catchers likely aided in the Jets deciding to sign him. He has the ability to play above his weight class; he doesn’t have the consistency to match up weekly and dominate against top WRs.

Nonetheless, the Jets needed another corner they can rely on after the Trumaine Johnson debacle. Currently, they have Desir, Bless Austin, Quincy Wilson, Arthur Maulet, Brian Poole, Nate Hairston, and Bryce hall as their corners available. This unit is extremely thin on paper, as Austin showed promise in 2019 as a rookie, but expecting him to feature as a top-two corner is optimistic.

Hall, on the other hand, suffered a significant injury last season with Virginia, limiting his reps and production. He has the potential to develop into a starting corner, but I wouldn’t guarantee anything during his rookie season.

I would be stunned if the Jets didn’t land a veteran corner to aid this unit, as sticking with their current grouping could be problematic during the 2020 season.

New York Jets Could Pursue CB Logan Ryan (Report)

New York Jets, Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans

The New York Jets reportedly have interest in cornerback, Logan Ryan:

The Jets have four pressing needs — offensive Line, cornerback, wide receiver & edge rusher. The Jets need another corner; however, they could really use a development guy to build around alongside Bless Austin, which makes the latest rumblings a bit confusing.

Per Manish Mehta, the Jets have internally discussed making a run at CB Logan Ryan. Manish has had his fair share of stories be debunked, so this can be taken with a grain of salt. Still, this is an interesting player for the Jets to have a case in.

Who is Logan Ryan?

Logan Ryan is a New Jersey kid who attended Rutgers University. After a stable career there, Ryan was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. When Ryan debuted, he immediately carved himself a role with the Pats.

Ryan was a very solid corner with them until he left in 2016. He then joined the Titans, where Mike Vrabel has coached him. The now-former Titan comes from an excellent background of coaches, and he holds a championship pedigree with two rings under his belt. Ryan is also 29 years old, so it’s fair to assume he still has a few years of good football left, so being unsigned has been a bit perplexing.

How Would Ryan Fit?

Logan Ryan has always been a stable corner. Last season he had one of his best seasons yet — 113 tackles, 4 INTs, and 4 TFLs. Ryan had an awe-inspiring season and was overshooting his potential market value.

Now the Jets are discussing how he’d fit financially and within the team. Ryan and Pierre Desir would be a great duo to pair with Poole, but it seems like more of a win-now move. If Ryan is cheap, and they believe it gives them more draft flexibility, than it’s a solid decision. You can never turn down a good player, but Ryan would likely pull some reps away from Bless Austin, and unless they don’t have much faith in Austin, this move would be a strange one.

I like Ryan, and I think adding him would make for a solid secondary, but he’s likely in the market for a multi-year deal. At the same time, teams are a bit concerned with his ability to hold up in coverage, allowing a dismal 66% completion rate against him in 2019. Also, the move may take opportunities away from younger guys like Austin and a potential draft pick at a time where their development is more crucial than adding a veteran with inconsistent coverage abilities. 

New York Jets set to add CB Pierre Desir (Report)

New York Jets, Pierre Desir

The New York Jets added the former Indianapolis Colts defender on a one-year deal, per Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

It was anything but a quiet weekend for the New York Jets.

The team has apparently crossed off another need off of its offseason checklist, as Connor Hughes of The Athletic has reported that Pierre Desir will join them on a one-year deal.

Desir, 29, is a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He made a name for himself at Division II Washburn and eventually played his way to a fourth-round selection (127th overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Over the last six seasons, Desir has spent time with the Browns, Chargers, and Seahawks before finding a strong semblance of a home with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He would work his way into the starting lineup by the midway mark of his debut year. A strong pair of seasons earned him a three-year deal with the Colts last offseason.

Desir came up big during the Colts 21-7 win over the Houston Texans in the opening game of the 2019 AFC Wild Card playoffs. His primary duties were to cover top Houston target DeAndre Hopkins. He wound up limiting Hopkins to 37 yards on five receptions (ten targets), the longest being a 13-yard catch in the final quarter with the game in relative hand. The Jets are set to face off against Hopkins and his new squad in Arizona later this season.

Over his six seasons, Desir has earned 210 tackles, 34 pass defenses, and five interceptions. He earned a career-best 11 defenses and three interceptions last season. The Colts released Desir earlier this weekend, saving just over $6.8 million in cap space.

The Jets likewise made a move in the secondary to create space. On Saturday, the team confirmed the departure of veteran cornerback Darry Roberts, who spent the past four seasons in a Jets uniform. Such a move earned the Jets $6 million in cap.

Returning to the Jets’ secondary, and slated to work with Desir, will be veteran cornerback Brian Poole, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Jets earlier this week.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags