The Jets have had a pretty lousy first quarter of the season, and with the third hardest current schedule in the league on paper, it may not get any easier. All eyes have been on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Todd Bowles, and deservedly so. However, there is one culprit who has not faced the same scrutiny, and that man is Chan Gailey.
Last year the Jets had offensive production that hadn't been seen in over a decade. I admit, at first I was part the love affair. We saw Ryan Fitzpatrick breaking Namath records, two 1,000 yard receivers, the AFC's leading rusher, and amazing redzone efficiency. What wasn't to love? But as the season neared the end, and the offense started to stall more as games went on, I realized many inefficiencies were being hidden by above-average players. Another year may have helped players learn the scheme, but it also allowed opposing defenses to lock into some of Chan's more predictable techniques. There are three things that have come across to me this year that have been mind-boggling, and each of those things can be tied to the offensive coordinator. These things are Offensive Pace, Red Zone Targets / Touches / Efficiency, and Scheme.
To no one's surprise, the Jets are ranked in the bottom half of the league in Sec/Play. With a plethora of players on offense above 30, this makes complete sense. There are two numbers however, that don't make much sense to me. The first of which, is Sec/Play when up 7+ points. In this category, the Jets rank 2nd, running a play every 20 seconds. The other teams in the top 3 are Jacksonville and Indianapolis. Keep that in mind. That number is quite astonishing however, because of the 10 slowest-paced teams, the Jets are the only ones in the top 5 in that category. It's also confusing, that when up, an offense quickens its pace instead of trying to drain clock and secure a win. The other number that stuck out to me was Sec/Play when down 7+ Points.The Jets rank 5th here, running a play every 22.19 seconds.
None of the teams in the top 5 have a winning record. This stat equally confuses me, because it means that the offense starts to panic when getting behind. The playcalling becomes extremely lopsided and erratic, and usually results in quick three and outs and putting a gassed defense back on the field. Now, these two stats differentiate from the Jets' norm so much that I can only come to the conclusion that it is due to the offensive coordinator.
He calls the plays. If it happens once in a blue moon, it's coincidence. But when it's on a consistent basis that these things are being done, you have to look to the man in charge. If the Jets can average those numbers out, and stick to their gameplan, I think they can find more success offensively.
Redzone Targets / Touches / Efficiency
The Jets have done a complete 180 in the redzone from 2015, to this year. Since there have been few big personnel changes on the offense, I look to the man above for the sudden change. Ryan Fitzpatrick has done himself no favors recently, playing some incredibly poor ball, especially in the Red Zone, but the question begs asking. If he has played so poorly, why do the Jets keep throwing so much?
I looked at the numbers and I was surprised to find that only 3 QB's have thrown more times in the Red Zone (Fitz had 25 attempts), and only one QB who threw more than ten passes inside the 20 had a lower completion % (Blaine Gabbert at 36.36).
Even worse, when throwing inside the 10, only 2 QB's have thrown more than Fitzpatrick(12), and he has the worst completion % out of QB's who threw more than 10 times (33.33). If you were wondering, Fitzpatrick only has 4 TD's to 3 INT's in the Red Zone this season. These are atrocious numbers, and unexcusable for the quarterback, and the OC.
Now, let's see how Forte fares in the Red Zone. When looking at the numbers, Forte has 15 rushes and 3 TD's inside the 20. (ALL of these were during the Bills game.) However, he only has 4 total rushes inside the 10, and only 1 target directed towards him in the passing game. When looking at the target distribution in general, it's also a little puzzling to see that Bilal Powell is number 2 in targets, with 5, and also 2 rushes.
Powell is not a terrible player, but it's interesting to see that players like Forte(1), Enunwa(4), and Decker(4) have not been more heavily involved. I would like to blame these RZ statistics on Fitzpatrick himself, but most short-yardage pass plays are based off of one read, and plays always designated towards a certain player. I thus blame a majority of the shortcomings in the Red Zone on Gailey. This must improve.
When it comes to schemes and plays being run, certain offensive coordinators can drive you mad. I think about long passes on 3rd and 1, short runs on 2nd and 10, and repeater plays that are performed regardless of success rate. Gailey has a habit of doing it all on occasion, but he was quite successful last year.
Moving onto players , most of us know the Jets have a wide variety of very talented skill position players. One of these players is Bilal Powell. I know, I criticized his usage in the Red Zone but only because I feel more talented players are not getting their touches there. However, in this portion, my basis for argument is to utilize as many skill players as possible in our schemes and formations to cause confusion to opposing defenses between the 20's.
Last year, Powell played nearly 47% of all offensive snaps, compared to this year where he has only played about 35% of offensive snaps. So what's my point? My point is the Jets have two talented pass-catching RB's but limit themselves to using only one at a time. They have run ZERO plays involving the I-Formation or 2 Back Splits.
This may not seem important, but if the Jets are not being creative to utilize their players, theybecome predictable. Another player who has seen his usage change, is breakout player Quincy Enunwa. Although Enunwa has continued to have success so far in 2016, his role has changed. With Eric Decker nursing an injury and now out for the time being, Enunwa has been thrust on the outside, and is not seen as much in his usual H-Back position. Although this may be good for Enunwa's individual stats, I believe it alters the chemistry of the offense, and does not utilize the matchup of having Enunwa on a slower safety or linebacker. We have already seen when in the slot or playing on the line, that he can open the seams quite easily with these mismatches. If the Jets can continue to go back to this and successfully disguise the play, I think the offense can have good success. However, if Chan Gailey continues to become stubborn in adjustments, defenses will feed on the predictable playcalls.
In conclusion, I think there are many more problems within the Jets organization right now than Chan Gailey. However, he is not totally innocent. He has the ability to provide adjustments to help win games. It is also up to the players to execute plays and end drives successfully. The Jets are in quite a slump so far to start the season. Let us hope Gailey, Fitz, and crew are able to put on a better show the rest of the year.