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What Identity Are the Jets Building on Offense?

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What kind of offensive team do the Jets want to be? Four games into a new coaching regime, it is impossible to make definitive statements. We now do have some data, however.

It can be difficult to pin down exactly what type of identity a team seeks to build. One thing to examine is the first quarter offense. Why is this? The first quarter shows what the team wants to establish each week. When you get later into the game, situations dictate play calling more. A team that is ahead is inclined to run the ball and burn the clock. A team that is behind is inclined to throw, attempting to pick up a lot of yardage quickly. The first quarter shows us what the team is planning in a neutral situation. It also shows the mindset of an offense.

For example, a run heavy team might have a heavy dose of rushes between the tackles to establish the ground game. If successful, the defense might have to commit an extra safety to the box and get less aggressive with twists and stunts on the line. It sets up play action as well. This will make it easier to throw the ball.

With that in mind, I took a look at the run-pass ratio to date for the Jets on drives that start in the first quarter. When compiling, I used the play call rather than the result. For example, if Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass and then scrambled when things broke down, I counted that as a pass even though it counts as a run in the box score.

Opponent Run Pass
Browns 66.7% 33.3%
Colts 30% 70%
Eagles 25% 75%
Dolphins 46.7% 53.3%

There does not appear to be any real pattern at this point. Perhaps no pattern is the pattern, though. Heading into Week 1 season, the general consensus was that the Browns had a much better pass defense than run defense. The Jets went run-heavy early in that game. The Colts' secondary was decimated by injuries, and the Eagles had a tough time defending the pass early in the season. The Jets came out throwing in those games.

Many of us had the Jets pegged as a run first team before the season started. They might end up as one, but it seems like they have gone in a different direction in the early going. There is a trust that there are enough playmakers both in the run game and in the passing game to be successful doing either. The early game plans have seemed tailored to go after the perceived weakness of the opponent. It has been more about balance and going after what the defense does worst rather than the Jets imposing their will.

It will be interesting to follow this to see whether things change in the future.