Chris Ivory and the New York Jets running attack started the season on fire. Despite missing the game against the Philadelphia Eagles, ivory was on pace to break 1,000 yards easily through the first 6 weeks of the season. However following the game against Washington, the jets running attack nose dived off a cliff and landed in the sea of despair. Just take a look at his average yards per run:
vs Cleveland - 4.6
@ Indianapolis - 4.1
@ Miami - 5.7
vs Washington - 7.3
@ new England - 2.4
@ Oakland - 1.1
vs Jacksonville - 1.1
It doesn't take a statistical expect to conclude that the last three weeks have been unacceptable and substantially different to the results we were seeing at the start of the season. There has to be a reason for the downturn in fortunes for what was initial considered one of the elite units in the NFL. So why has it taken such a downturn and what has led Todd Bowles to say:
I mean, I'm concerned. We have to get it going. We're working at it and we've got guys working at it. We'll have a few moving parts in the game if we don't have everybody play, but we just have to get on track and get back in sync.
Lets take a look at some ideas
- Oakland, Jacksonville and New England all have decent run defenses. Jacksonville allows just 3.2 yards per carry, the best mark in the league. The Patriots allow just 89 yards on the ground, good for 3rd best in the league. Oakland allows 96 yards on the ground, good for 9th best in the league. All three are relatively successful stopping the run, although I think the New England statistics are inflated due to most teams being behind and having to throw against their defense.
- Our offensive line continuity has been ruined. Mangold missed the game in Oakland and missed the majority of the game against the Jaguars. Only Mangold is credited with a positive run grade for the Jets this year. Losing your best run blocker will always have a detrimental effect on your overall production. If you consider that Willie Colon missed the Jacksonville game and is set to miss the Buffalo game, we don't have that continuity which is important for a cohesive unit.
- Are teams dedicating more resources to stopping the Jets running game. In truth, yes they are. When you run at 5.7 and 7.3 yards per carry in consecutive weeks, any defensive coordinator worth his salt is going to dedicate more players to stopping the running game. if you are able to establish the run, that opens up your whole play-book. I don't have the stats, but just from the eye test you can see more players in the box, filling any small gap the offensive line may be able to create. As a result Fitzpatrick is having some good success throwing the ball.
- Chris Ivory has been slowed by a spate of recent injuries, including groin, hamstring and quad injuries. Is he really 100%? he doesn't seem as decisive hitting the hole like he was in the early weeks of the season. His missed or broken tackle numbers are also down. Through the first 6 weeks of the season, which equates to four games for Ivory (one missed through injury, one bye week) he had 18 missed or broken tackles, through the last three games he has 3 combined.He has said that there have been some missed assignments from his lineman, and they need to do better up front. That's true, but he needs to do a better job as well.
There are a number of issues with the New York Jets running game at the moment, however if want to be successful and make it to the play-offs for the first time since 2010, we're going to need to fix it and quickly, starting with the game against the Bills. It won't be easy, the Bills have allowed just an average of 93.6 yards per game, as well as a 3.9 average, both marks are top 10 in the league.