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Jets vs. Saints: The Scaled Back Passing Game

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody watching yesterday's game between the Jets and the Saints could probably tell the Jets were operating with a scaled back passing attack. Pro Football Focus' numbers indicate just how scaled back it was. Eight of Geno Smith's 19 attempts and five of his eight completions were behind the line of scrimmage. To look at it the opposite way, the Jets only had their starting quarterback throw a pass beyond the line 11 times, and they only completed 3 passes.

There was good reason for this. The Jets were playing with a depleted receiving corps. Four key cogs, Kellen Winslow II, Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, and Jeff Cumberland were out. Even at full strength, the Jets don't exactly resemble the Greatest Show on Turf in terms of personnel, but this team was putting out fringe NFL players. They couldn't trust those guys to get open. The receivers also had limited experience with Geno Smith in practice. Geno couldn't have had much of a feeling about exactly when in a route those guys would make cuts, how sharp they would be, and other timing points that can be the difference between a completion and an interception. They didn't have much of a choice.

As the key guys get healthy, this will be less of an issue. We are unlikely to see that kind of an offense once again.

What's the point then? The Jets played so well running the ball and on defense that they were able to beat one of the league's best teams with that kind of high school passing offense. That's a pretty good sign for once the key guys come back and they can get more from the passing game.