Given Ryan Fitzpatrick’s struggles, one complaint that has popped up about the Jets on offense is they are not looking to run the ball enough.
Five Thirty Eight did an interesting study on teams’ play calling tendencies. They made sure to adjust for plays where the following happened.
Counting scrambles (but not designed QB runs) as pass plays rather than runs. This is an improvement, because although a scramble is counted on the stat sheet as a run by the quarterback, the play actually signals that the team’s intention was to pass.
Eliminating kneel-downs. While these are recorded as runs in the box score, they are best simply ignored because the offense did not intend to advance the ball.
Eliminating spikes for a similar reason; these are recorded as passes in the box score but should be excluded for purposes of quantifying an offense’s identity.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (Adjusted Pass Ratio of 70.9 percent), Kansas City Chiefs (70.9 percent) and Indianapolis Colts (70.3 percent) rank as the most pass-happy teams in the NFL by this metric. But those three teams have trailed, often significantly, for large stretches of their games.1 And, of course, trailing teams tend to throw more, while leading teams rely on the ground game to run out the clock.
That’s why it’s crucial to adjust for pass ratio by something I call Game Script. A team’s Game Script, a statistic I derived in 2012, is simply its average point margin over the course of a game or season, with each second of the game given equal weight. This metric isn’t designed to tell you something you don’t already know from watching the games; on the contrary, it is designed to quantify exactly how the game played out.
It is very complicated, but under their formula, the Jets actually come out as the most balanced offense in the league when it comes to run vs. pass. The final formula produces a number based on this criteria. Positive numbers indicates a team is more run heavy. The higher the number, the more run heavy the team. Negative numbers indicate the opposite.
The Jets come out the closest to 0 of any team in the league.
This is of course but one formula, and it doesn’t address situational football such as in the red zone where some might argue the Jets should be more run heavy than they are.
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