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Shaun Ellis: Stay or Go? Part 2: Productivity

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There has been a prevailing theme I have heard from a lot of Jets fans about Shaun Ellis' play these days. It goes that he is slowing down and is no longer terribly productive. After watching every game, I am not sure I understand this sentiment. He has looked pretty good to me. The numbers back this up as well.

Perhaps the confusion comes from misconceptions of what ends do in the 3-4. They are not meant to be sack artists winning one on ones like they are in the 4-3. 3-4 ends do the dirty work. They occupy double teams. They collapse the pocket. Ellis was very good doing this. According to Pro Football Focus, a website that charts every play of every team, Ellis was in the top five at his position in registering sacks, hits, and pressures on the quarterback. If you are upset with the pass rush, do not blame Ellis. He was actually by many measures the best pass rusher on the Jets. Blame the outside linebackers, Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace, and Jason Taylor for not winning their one on ones on the outside.

How was Ellis against the run? As the left end, he lined up across from the right tackle on most plays According to Football Outsiders, the Jets were the best team against runs to right tackle. Does that make Ellis the best run stopping end in the game? Probably not since there were plays where he subbed out or moved inside when the team went 4-3. He also benefited from strong run stopping linebackers. Even so, these numbers back up my perception that he was very solid.

Ellis is still an extremely productive player. His monster Playoff game in New England was not just one big night.