It’s time for the New York Jets to make some depth chart changes now that their playoff dreams are kaput. The rebuilding franchise had an embarrassing 41-10 loss against a week Buffalo Bills team in Week 10. So a call for some serious changes should not be out of the ordinary.
In my opinion, nobody’s job is secure. For a rebuilding team, fresh faces need to start getting more playing time, and the failed veterans must be ousted. They’ll still get their paychecks so they can’t be mad. This team needs hope heading into the offseason. A young franchise quarterback that established his presence in the offense isn’t enough.
Sam Darnold may be the future of the Jets offense, but who will join him? Are they any young players on the team currently who should be a part of his assumed bright future? Since Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan has an estimated $100 million in free cap space to spend this offseason, it’s essential for the team to establish what pieces will remain in place.
Before I can reveal which players I believe should have an increased role for the remainder of the season, let me provide some insightful analytics calculated by Football Outsiders.
Compared to the rest of the NFL, the New York Jets offensive efficiency is atrocious in the air and on the ground. Their pass offense is ranked 30th, and their rushing attack is ranked 26th in the NFL. To understand why they are terrible, let’s take a deeper dive into their efficiency at each position.
Starting at quarterback, Sam Darnold wasn’t expected to be a Pro Bowler in year one. Even though he has been far from efficient in 2018, his job should remain safe heading into the offseason. Through the first ten weeks of the NFL season, he ranks 32nd in DYAR and DVOA, which is ahead of Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen.
The Jets entered the season with a respectable rushing attack led by veterans Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. While they have looked decent at times, they’ve been below average as a unit. Isaiah Crowell has been the team’s leading rusher since Powell went down with an injury. Compared to the rest of the NFL’s running backs, he ranks 21st in DYAR and 18th in DVOA. It’s unfortunate that Powell’s neck injury suffered in Week 7 may end his career. We are not sure yet, but we hope he can get back on the field in the future. As for Powell’s efficiency in 2018, he ranked 32nd in DYAR and 34th in DVOA compared to the rest of the league’s running backs.
There is no sugar-coating this fact; the Jets have the worst receiving core in the NFL. None of their top three receivers rank in the top-60. Robbie Anderson ranks 59th in DYAR and 60th in DVOA, Jermaine Kearse ranks 63rd in DYAR and 65th in DVOA, and Quincy Enunwa ranks 64th in DYAR and 64th in DVOA.
Rookie tight end Chris Herndon has been a bright spot for this team. He hasn’t been amazing, but he has been a pleasant surprise for the team and will be a piece kept in place heading into next year. Compared to the rest of the NFL, he ranks 20th in DYAR and 15th in DVOA.
Make no mistake about it, the Jets offensive line has exceeded expectations. They were expected to be terrible, but they’ve only been bad if that makes any sense. As a pass protecting unit, they rank 12th overall because they rank tied for 15th in sacks allowed and 12th in adjusted sack rate. However, they struggle to create holes for their running backs. They’re tied for 20th in power plays, 29th in stuffed percentage, 19th in 2nd level rush plays, but 2nd to the New York Giants in open field rush plays.
The defense has been slightly above average for the New York Jets, but having a good defense as a weak team is useless. No one cares that the Buffalo Bills have a great defense, they still stink. While the Jets are above average against the run, they are below average against the pass in a passing league. That is not a recipe for success.
The biggest offseason need for the New York Jets defense is a pass rusher. Their lack of an effective pass rush hurts the defense tremendously. Without quarterback pressure, opposing quarterbacks have torched them. They currently rank 28th in the NFL in sacks, which could explain why they have allowed the 2nd most amount of 20+ yard pass plays and 13th most amount of 40+ yard plays. They’ve also allowed the 15th most amount of 1st Downs, tied for 2nd in passing touchdowns allowed, and rank 20th in interceptions despite ranking 12th in pass attempts against their defense.
For the most part, the Jets are slightly above average against the run. The unit ranks 14th overall against opposing offensive lines blocking for run plays according to the Football Outsiders. While ranking 1st against Power plays, they also rank 13th in YPC, 11th in stuffed percentage, 12th in 2nd Level rushes, and 14th in Open Filed rushes.
I’ve identified where the lack of efficiency has been for the New York Jets. Now let’s discuss which players I believe should have an increased role for the remainder of the 2018 season.