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By: Michael Nania
New York Jets edge rusher Bryce Huff deserves to be recognized as one of the team’s most important defensive cogs
As a surprising playoff contender in the country’s largest market, the 6-3 New York Jets are becoming a popular topic in the national NFL media. For the first time in many years, the Jets are being consistently talked about by people outside of their little Gotham Green bubble.
Very few of those national-media conversations include Bryce Huff, the Jets’ third-year edge rusher from Memphis. And who can blame those casual observers for ignoring him? Huff has played a measly total of 95 defensive snaps in six games this season. That gives him an average of 15.8 snaps per game. He’s been on the field for just 23% of the Jets’ defensive snaps since debuting in Week 4.
Huff doesn’t even boast impressive box-score stats. Do a quick Google search for “Bryce Huff stats” and you’ll see he has 1.5 sacks and 2 solo tackles. That’s nothing to write home about.
So, Huff barely plays and he barely puts any numbers in the box score. Why should people around the country be talking about him?
Well, if they ignored those meaningless box-score stats and flipped on some Jets tape, they would know Huff is one of the most effective players on the team’s entire roster. The impact he has made on the Jets’ defense is monumental.
Few players in the NFL are as dominant in their role as Huff.
Among 134 qualified edge rushers this season (min. 50 pass-rush snaps), Huff ranks second in pass-rush win rate at 25.6%, per Pro Football Focus. He trails only Myles Garrett in that category. Huff also ranks second in pressure rate at 18.7%, trailing only Randy Gregory.
It is staggering how drastically Huff is outproducing his playing time. Since Week 4, Huff has the 27th-most pressures among edge rushers (17) despite playing the 76th-most snaps against the pass (93). He is averaging nearly three pressures per game, which is absurd for a situational backup.
Huff has found a niche in the Jets’ defense as their pass-rush specialist. He only takes the field in situations where a passing play is extremely likely – hence that the opponent decided to pass the ball on 98% of Huff’s snaps this year (93 of 95).
This role is perfect for maximizing Huff’s explosiveness as a pass-rusher. Huff stays well-rested and never has to think about defending the run. These two factors allow him to pin his ears back and pursue the QB with 110% effort every time he is on the field.
The numbers back that up. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Huff has an average get-off time* of 0.67 seconds this season, which is the fastest mark in the league among all qualified defensive linemen. Myles Garrett closely trails at 0.70.
*Get-off time: How long it takes a defender to cross the line of scrimmage after the ball is snapped.
Huff is an absolute menace in his role. He wins his pass-rush battles at an incredibly high rate, and most of those wins are high-quality reps that create a good result for the Jets’ defense.
To visualize the impact of his stellar production, let’s take a look at some of Huff’s best moments on film.
Bryce Huff film
Huff wears No. 47 and can be found on the left-side edge (same side as the RT) in all of the clips below.
Huff often uses the threat of his explosiveness to set up moves to the inside, as he does here.
Lined up as a 9-technique (outside of the TE), Huff bursts upfield and catches the RT over-setting to the outside. So, Huff halts his momentum and turns his hips inside toward the B-gap. The RT actually lands a two-hand punch into Huff’s upper body, but Huff counters with a club move, using his inside arm to strike the RT’s inside shoulder and free himself of the contact. Huff works inside through the B-gap and flushes Mitch Trubisky out of the pocket, leading to a throw short of the sticks on third down.
The TE delays Huff as he gets into this rush, but once Huff engages with the RT, he wins quick. Huff gets his hands on the RT’s shoulder pads, dips his inside shoulder, rips through with his inside arm, slices upward to get the RT’s hand off him, and bends the corner. He pressures Trubisky into heaving up a prayer against double coverage, which is nearly picked off by Sauce Gardner.
Don’t underestimate Huff’s power. He has a strong bull-rush in his repertoire, too. That bull-rush is effective because of his explosive get-off. Look at how quickly and violently he comes out of his stance here. Sheesh! Huff then gets good hand placement into the RT’s upper body and blasts him back. He disengages and lays a smack on Skylar Thompson.
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Huff uses a nifty cross-chop as he brings his inside arm across the RT’s body and chops down on the RT’s outside arm. After that, Huff displays his speed around the corner as he gets home for another hit on Thompson. The heavily pressured pass attempt falls incomplete.
Huff gets another win with the cross-chop. Watch how he sets up the move. He jabs toward the RT with his inside foot while simultaneously raising his inside hand. This sells a power move and gets the RT to shoot his hands. Once the RT’s hands are out, Huff works back outside and chops down on the RT’s outside arm. Huff pairs the cross-chop with a rip to get through and bend the corner. He lays another hit on Thompson, contributing to another incomplete pass.
The Jets don’t get a good result here due to a heady play from Aaron Rodgers, but this is one of Huff’s cleanest wins all year.
Huff comes out of his stance and takes two steps upfield. When he drops that second step with his outside foot, he explodes off it to the inside, crossing the RT’s face. By this point, the RT has already committed outside and is in deep trouble, but he tries to save face by jabbing Huff with his inside hand. Huff is ready as he immediately swatting away the RT’s hand. Huff generates immediate pressure on Rodgers and takes him down in the process.
Huff and John Franklin-Myers execute a stunt. Franklin-Myers attacks the B-gap to try and distract the RG so Huff can skip inside through the A-gap. It’s a success. Franklin-Myers buys just enough time for Huff to get inside with a leverage advantage against the RG. Huff finishes the job using a rip move with his outside arm to fend off the RG and create a direct angle to Rodgers. His pressure forces Rodgers to throw into double coverage, which nearly results in an interception. Huff knocks Rodgers down as well.
Huff splits a sack with Carl Lawson. Ironically, Huff didn’t win nearly as quickly on this play as he did on many other plays where he didn’t get a sack. It just goes to show you how misleading sacks can be as a measure of a player’s pass-rushing ability.
Nevertheless, this is a nice play from Huff. He has an effective Plan B after his initial move is stalled. Huff goes for the bull-rush but doesn’t get much movement out of it. He decides to disengage, pulling both arms out to free himself up before ripping through with his inside arm to get around the corner. Huff then shows a good motor and good finishing ability as he pursues Brett Rypien and grabs him around the ankle for a sack.
It looks like Huff initially goes for the cross-chop here but is stalled when he gets hit in the facemask (which the RT possibly grabs). Huff responds incredibly well after that.
Huff uses his outside arm to grab the RT’s wrist and push it away. Meanwhile, he places his inside arm in the RT’s chest. Now, Huff is in complete control. Huff plows the RT back with his inside arm, and while doing that, he continues gripping the RT’s wrist to prevent him from getting hands-on. After creating some movement, Huff rips through with the inside arm. He meets up with Quinnen Williams to sandwich Rypien.
The TE pushes Huff inside, and Huff uses that extra momentum to his advantage. There is an enormous amount of space in the B-gap as the RG sets inside and the RT sets outside, so Huff takes advantage. He rides the momentum of the TE’s chip, defeats the RT’s inside hand, and quickly pressures Mac Jones. Unfortunately, the Jets don’t get a good result this time around, but you can hardly ask for Huff to get home faster than that.
Huff again uses a chip to his advantage. This time, a WR shoves him in the back, so Huff uses it to continue chugging upfield. Huff goes for a double-swipe against the RT but actually appears to miss, so the RT is initially able to get his hands on Huff’s upper body. However, Huff responds with a violent rip move, slicing upward with his inside arm to get the RT’s hands off him. Huff bends the corner and hits Mac Jones’s arm from behind as he throws, which pops the ball in the air and creates an easy interception for Michael Carter II.
Huff gets another quick win to the inside, using his inside arm to swipe away the RT’s punch. His lateral quickness is very impressive.
And here it is: The moment where Huff caught everyone’s attention.
What I like most about this rep is how late Huff declares his move. He takes three full steps toward the RT before showing anything. Pause the clip as Huff lands that third step. At this point, you could easily see Huff going for either a power move or an outside move. He keeps the RT guessing rather than just immediately bursting outside. This is why he ends up winning.
As Huff throws that third step toward the RT, he recognizes the RT dropping his back foot in preparation to absorb a power move. The battle is won at this very moment. At this point, the RT is flat-footed with his weight heavily leaning on that front leg. Huff sees this and knows the window is open for the outside speed rush. He takes it.
Huff explodes outside off that third step. In the process, he shoots his inside arm toward the RT’s chest to get him to shoot his hands. Once the hands are out, Huff throws a club-rip combo. He uses his outside arm to club the RT’s outside shoulder while simultaneously ripping through with his inside arm, slicing upward to get the RT off him.
Huff wins so cleanly that he is actually in front of Allen when he bends around the RT, rather than being behind the QB and having to come back as is often the case with outside rushes. As he pursues Allen, Huff sees him loading up for a pass, so Huff forgets about getting the takedown and instead focuses on the football. He extends both arms and lunges at the ball, knocking it loose for the game-changing strip-sack.
Bryce Huff is a beast.
Next Article: Throwback to 2020: A rookie Bryce Huff breaks down his Memphis film on the CYJ Podcast
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Originally posted on Jets X-Factor