Jim Leonhard’s Loss for the Season Bigger than You Think

Jim Leonhard’s Loss for the Season Bigger than You Think
RichCimini Were the #Jets tipping plays? S Eric Smith says Eagles WRs were calling out coverages before the ball was snapped. 12/19/11 10:32 AM

Going into the Eagles game, I was thinking that this was a bad match-up to begin with but then I had a sick feeling in my stomach when I realized that Jim Leonhard, the QB of the defense, was not going to be calling the on-field checks to help out the secondary.  I had this feeling that the defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, was going to simplify the defense to make it easier for Eric Smith and Brodney Pool.

So after the game when Eric Smith said that the Eagles WR’s were identifying every coverage pre-snap, perhaps Pettine simplified it too much and no one was there to make the on-field checks.  Obviously this wasn’t the only reason for the Jets blowout to the Eagles, but it certainly didn’t help.

Smith said the Eagles’ receivers were able to identify the type of coverage before the snap, yelling it out to each other and to QB Michael Vick.

“They’d line up, look at us, look at Vick, and (say), ‘Oh, they’re in Cover Zero’ or ‘They’re in Cover One,’” Smith said after the 45-19 loss. “They did a good job of studying, a good job of preparing for the game.”

Which begs the question: Did this have something to do with the absence of injured S Jim Leonhard?

On Thursday, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said he was planning to cut back the number of plays on the call sheet, to make things easier for Smith and Leonhard’s replacement, Brodney Pool. The secondary relied heavily on Leonhard to make on-field “checks,” and Pettine evidently wanted to simplify it.

Smith apparently didn’t know that and bristled when a reporter brought that up after the game.