I'm sure there have been a lot more intelligent things written about the Offensive proclivities of Marty Mornhingweg, and perhaps some of those more familiar with him in Philly can chime in. For me I wanted to take a look at the role of running backs in his offenses, mostly because in the passing game the Jet RBs are woeful at both catching the ball and blocking. Its seems like a serious stress on pass protection because Geno can't screen off a blitz, and the backs aren't dependably picking up rushers when they stay in. Just how much does Marty need some pass catching RBs?
I normally like to break down the data into more bit-sized chunks, but this time I'm just presenting it. Maybe it will be of value to others to pick through. I tried to segment out the importance of the run on MM Offenses, and part of this required filtering out the Vick affect, which is pretty pronounced. From 2010 - 2012 I simply took his totals out as a runner (both yards and attempts), which may skew the run distribution of attempts a bit. He is such an unusual player it is hard to see beneath him and look to the structure of the offense in terms of RBs.
There are a few things that stand out. Clearly, as bad as the Jet running backs were as pass catchers they composed a higher percentage of catches and pass yards than the backs did in either 2011 or 2012 for the Eagles. So while the Jet passing attack has been anemic, running backs have still been significant by percentage. It just goes to show how poor the whole mechanism is. We see also that the Jets ran far more often (attempt % and yards %) and yet the Jet running backs composed an Mornhinweg average of yards from scrimmage percentage, similar to 2010 and 2008 so far. Make no mistake, the running backs were considered the offense's best weapons, unfortunately it was a poor man's feast.
It is hard to look back on these MM years because in some ways they were affected not only by the specialness of Vick, but also of Westbrook. What would a MM offense look like without either? 2012 or so? Not rosy. It is worth noting that as much as Marty gets the reputation as a pass attack guy, every year he had a more efficient run game than a pass game (DVOA) even when passing yards were in the top 1/3 of the league - again Vick was a very special runner. Below are the rankings inverted so that the higher the rank, the higher the number (ostensibly showing the number of teams worse than your ranking):
It seems clear that aside from Vick - and Marty might very well have considered Vick a kind of running back - he loves his running backs. If we stretch back to his failed Detroit stint as a head coach running backs composed a huge chunk of yards from scrimmage and of the % of receptions. Below is the same data as the first chart with some Detroit numbers thrown in:
It suggests something of a Running Back DNA for Mornhinweg.
While a great deal of this is inconclusive it might point to the need for not only a QB, but a dynamic backfield player to make the Marty offense go. Maybe others can look at this and from their knowledge of his history draw out more thoughts on the possible future of the Jet offense.
These stats are hand collected so there may be errors. If you see any let me know so I can correct them.