We've written a lot about C.J. Mosley's superb season of tackling opponents and it was merited. But something that became clear as we researched the Jets Cornerbacks Look Ahead story for newyorkjets.com: The Jets' young cornerback corps was a bit of a tackling machine as well.
Two main points on this topic:
■ Bryce Hall had one of the top tackling seasons of any Jets corner. His 79 stops were third-most on this year's Jets defense, the first time a true corner has been in the Jets' top three since Darrelle Revis had 88 tackles in his rookie season of 2007. Hall's total is also fifth-most since 1989, according to the play-by-play tackle stats compiled by StatsPass.Com. Here are the top seven tackle totals by Jets CBs since '89:
|Michael Carter II||2021||15||71||4.7|
■ Hall's 79 tackles, along with the 71 tackles by Michael Carter II and 63 by Brandin Echols, gave the Jets three corners with 60-plus tackles this season. That's the first time that's happened since at least 1989.
Now some disclaimers:
1. Tackle stats are becoming more reliable all the time but they still are not an official NFL statistic. They have yet to appear in entries in the NFL Record & Fact Book's league records section yet, for instance, primarily because the further back we go in history, the less reliable the tackle figures are. Mistakes in recording tackles were often made in play-by-plays. And there have been different standards for compiling tackles, from team to team to league.
The Jets, for instance, used coaches' video-breakdown totals until recently. This led to CB Otis Smith having one of the great corner tackle seasons in franchise history in 1997 with 127 by the coaches' count, but he was credited with just 70 by the play-by-play count. We wouldn't say one total is wrong and the other is right. We would say the Jets coaches and the play-by-play crews were operating with different sets of tackle guidelines for a long time.
2. The 17-game season in 2021 has introduced some wrinkles to the ranking process. Hall is the only Jet to start 17 games in one regular season, so he had at least one more game than other top-tackling corners to compile his takedowns. If we go by tackles/game, rookie Carter, who sat out two games, averaged more tackles/game than Hall, 4.7 to 4.6, and those averages are seventh and eight since '89 in StatsPass.com's ranking.
3. It could be suggested that the Jets CBs' tackle totals are high this year because the corners had to provide a lot of support for the run defense that was in the lower tiers of the NFL's official rankings all year. The breakdown of run-play tackles vs. pass-play tackles doesn't support a lot of tackles by the Jets corners coming on run plays but no doubt it still contributed to some extra takedowns over the course of the season.
Yet what can also be said is that the young band of brothers on the corner has shown a collective tendency to "stick their face in the fan," as Al Groh might've said. With a head-start on run support plus an improvement in pass coverage in year two of the Robert Saleh/Jeff Ulbrich system plus some pass coverage help in the form of the return of injured rushers Carl Lawson and Bryce Huff, the Jets' CBs should be ready early on to tackle 2022.