These are PFF target numbers for the team, taken as percentage of their total together, the targets that express where the pass offense has been going.
There has been a lot of talk about how horrendous Geno is or has become. People want to evoke the worst performances in the history of the NFL in order to salve the "same old Jets" wounds that make every difficulty into an Opera of disaster of the first order. But it seems more interesting to me to look at the details of what is going on and instead of the Sky is Falling think about factors that are contributing to some very shaky rookie numbers. Just who has made up this offense, where is the offense flowing to?
Despite the ball not going to Hill lately he remains on the year the most targeted Jet, thrown at 20% of total targets (from this major target data set). The fact that he overall is the most targeted, but also has become helpless in creating opportunities that could relieve the pressure on Geno (other than as decoy on deep routes) really pushes the reality that he is something of a bust of a player. He no doubt can be a contributing player in a fully fledged offense, but he never is going to be the player they hoped for, and probably not even close.
These are the percentages:
In many ways this feels like two seasons. There was the Kerley and Holmes season of moderate, halting but hopeful success, in which Smith excelled in deep passing and then the Kerley-less season. But more than that divide just think about the quality here, the shifting, questionable talent, the unstably chemistry building that Geno was dealing with (aside from issues of pass protection, which have been significant). Who here did not come into the season as a question mark? Kerley maybe? And Kerley is not even a middle of the league talent, certainly not someone you build an offense around, or someone who saves a rookie QB's season. Everyone other than Kerley was a significant question mark coming into the season, and many were not on the team. We have Salas and Gates thrown at as much as Holmes was.
Here are the completion %s when targeted (PFF). When the offense is really "working" we see Kerley (over 70%) and very modest NFL talents Cumberland and Winslow forming the bedrock of a catch for the offense. Wow. Hill, the most thrown to (and greatest upside?) player is under 50%, and notably Holmes is under 40%. This is not the semblance of an NFL passing offense. And if indeed, as some claim, that the entire Mornhinweg offensive design (I'm leaving out the RBs here) is to get your "playmakers" in space, where exactly is that possibility? Hobbled Winslow your playmaker? This is not an offense.
Add to this that these receivers don't even really know, in the deeper sense of knowledge and comfort, where they are going. Mornhinweg can't even gameplan for specific teams the way he would prefer, as he has had to teach basic pass route installation to his receivers instead, basic stuff from nj.com:
The availability of Kerley and Holmes should help the Jets’ offense be less predictable, said receiver David Nelson, who in eight games with the team has had to play all four receiver positions – X, Z, Zebra and flanker. He is a natural Zebra – a slot receiver. Now that Mornhinweg does not have to simply plug in healthy receivers, he can "start getting guys in position to do what they do well," Nelson said.
For Kerley and Holmes, that could mean having to catch a quick pass on third-and-long – a heavy-blitzing situation the Jets faced often lately – and use their speed to attain a first down.
"You give them a 5-yard route, and they’re going to turn it into a 60-yard touchdown maybe," Nelson said. "For a guy like Geno who is looking to get back in rhythm and get that confidence back, he’s not feeling like he has to throw a 30-yard pass. He can just get the ball out of his hands to Santonio on a quick slant, and Santonio can take it up the field."
Because injuries resulted in midseason acquisitions such as Nelson, and receivers Josh Cribbs and Greg Salas, Mornhinweg has had to frequently teach the basic structure of plays this season, rather than just how to use them against a particular opponent. This late in the season with teams more experienced in his offense, Mornhinweg has rarely had to focus so heavily on the bare-bones installation of a play.
Geno has had receivers who are on the lower end of NFL talent, but also guys that are running patterns they themselves admit they don't run well, and doing so with a comfort level that is extremely challenged. If your receivers don't know what they are doing, are not super talented, and you are a rookie just trying to find your feet how big of an impact do you think that is going to have on your performance. No wonder they have turned so much to the run, despite knowing that teams are stacking the box. And again, this is without taking in consideration the sudden group failures of the Offensive Line.