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NY Jets: The Big Play Difference

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A little over a year ago, I wrote a lengthy post talking about how nothing came easy for the Jets due to their lack of top end talent. They didn't have game-changing players who could make huge plays so their scoring drives had to be lengthy. Of course, when you lack the top end talent, it is difficult to string together a lot of plays with pinpoint execution. The result should not have been surprising.

With a more talented roster this season, we have seen things change. Things actually are coming easily for the Jets. This defense has been a turnover machine through five games. 23% of opponent drives have ended in turnovers. That tops the NFL. Due in part to this, the Jets have the second best average starting position for their offensive drives in the league, just short of the 33 yard line. This is around 5 yards better than where the Jets started last season. Think about what that means for an offense averaging between 5 and 6 yards per play. Because of how good this defense is, the offense essentially needs to execute on one less play per drive to score a touchdown.

Here's another way of looking at it. The Jets are in the top ten in points per game, but their average scoring drives rank among the least in terms of yards gained.

The expression that the best offense is a good defense definitely holds in this case. It isn't all about the defense, though, as you can imagine. The addition of Brandon Marshall and Chris Ivory starting off what might be a career year have added an extra element to the offense. These guys can rip off big gains that don't require everybody to execute. These are easy yardage that limit the number of plays the offense needs to be in top form to score. compiled a list of big plays. These are 10 yard runs of 25 yard completions. The Jets rate first in the league with 14 more big plays than they have allowed.

It's amazing the difference actually having good players on the team can make.