A look back at the 2011 Jets Offense: Playcalling, 3rd downs, Redzone


Hey Jets fans, it's been a while since my last post on this topic and for that I sincerely apologize. What I'm going to present here are some various numbers, break downs, and analysis in regards to the Jets offensive playcalling as well as their 3rd down and redzone success. Though this was meant to be broken down into quarter seasons, for the sake of brevity I'm going to break it into halves. If you didn't catch my first post no worries, the info will be here as well.

In regards to playcalling, what I did was split it up by down into run and pass. Reading from left to right you will see run and pass for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down respectively:

GameRun PassRunPassRunPass
Record 2-2
Record 3-1


Looking at games 1-4, we see an even split of run and pass selection on 1st down, a more than 2.2-1 split in favor of the pass on 2nd down, and a 9-1 split in favor of the pass on 3rd down. In other words the play selection in a given series of plays would most likely look like run-pass-pass, or pass-pass-pass. Don't get too caught up on that because it is just a generalization. The tendencies I discovered here were for 2nd and 3rd down to be predominantly passing downs for the Jets offense no matter distance.

As we move on to games 5-8 we see some shifts in philosophy. On 1st down instead of seeing an even split, we see a 3-2 split in favor of the run. The most dramatic shift in playcalling philosophy occured on 2nd down where the run was favored by a 3-2 clip. Essentially we went from a likely sequence of run-pass-pass or pass-pass-pass to a likely sequence of run-run-pass. Looking at 3rd down and long, while it remained predominantly a passing down, the gap was closed from 9-1 to 3-1. This indicates to me that the Jets were able to run more often on 3rd down because the distance was more manageable and/or they held decent leads. Let's move on to the 3rd down numbers to see if these things are true.

Again, read this left to right 3rd and short (1-3), 3rd and medium (4-7), 3rd and long (8+)

3rd down Run PassRunPassRunPass

Above I mentioned that in the first Q of he season, the Jets tended to pass on 2nd/3rd down regardless of distance. Now let me say that you should never rush on 3rd and long unless 1) you have a mile to go and you don't want to risk a turnover---(The Jets tended to take shots down the field though from my observations)...2) you have a lead and you're trying to burn the clock. Furthermore, a running play will average about 4-5 yards so it isn't exactly the best thing to run on 3rd and medium. I understand passing in those situations. What we see on 3rd and short in the 1st Q of the season though is that the Jets passed the ball on 3rd and short 75% of the time. This should not be the selection for a ground and pound team and is a fundamental error of understanding the strengths of your team as well as strategy. Lets move on to the 2nd Q of the season.

GameRun PassRunPassRunPass

Still not the sort of numbers I'd like to see on 3rd and short, but they do show an improved focus on the running game in that scenario. Notice also that the Jets had twice as many opportunities from 3rd and short in the 2nd Q of the season. Furthermore, the Jets faced about 20 less 3rd and longs which validates my observation that the renewed focus on the running game helped create more favorable down and distance situations. As far as an overall break down, here it is:

- The Jets converted 35-95 (35%) 3rd down opportunities overall--very poor.

- Converted 15-51 (29%) 3rd downs in the 1st Q of the season--very poor.

- Converted 20-44 (45%) 3rd downs in the 2nd Q of the season---good improvement.

- Converted 9-17 (53%) 3rd downs on the ground.

- Converted 26-78 (33%) 3rd downs through the air.

- Converted 13-24 (54%) 3rd and shorts (1-3 YDS), this number should be closer to 67%

- Converted 11-31 (35%) 3rd and mediums (4-7 YDS), this number should be closer to 50%

- Converted 11-40 (28%) 3rd and longs (8+ YDS), this is close to the 33% it should be.

Overall 3rd downs were a disappointment and there were many 3 and out drives I observed in the gamelogs.

Moving on to the Redzone, this was a strength of the Jets last season---I believe they led the league in Redzone scoring. With the Redzone, there are two important questions:

1) Are you converting almost all of your opportunities?

2) Are you making the most of those conversions by scoring TD's?

Here is the Redzone data from games 1-8, and after we'll answer those questions either "yes" or "no" to guage the success:

@BUF43075%75%Sanchez INT

1) Are you converting almost all of your opportunities?

YES, The Jets converted 24-26 (92%) of Redzone opportunities.

2) Are you making the most of those conversions by scoring TD's?

YES, The Jets converted 16-26 (62%) of Redzone opportunities for TD's---should see about 66-70% here, very close.

That's about all I have for now, we'll see what the 2nd half of the season has in store for these situations in about a week or so---I promise;) For now if you have quesions please ask them in the comments.

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