The quality of a team’s rushing attack is based partly on run blocking and partly on running back performance. It can be difficult to quantify the connection between the two.
One of the areas I like to look at is the number of run plays that result in either no gain or a loss. The reason is simple. If a run play results in no gain or a loss, it means a defender contacted the runner before he got past the line of scrimmage. That usually doesn’t happen if a play is blocked well. I understand there are busted plays where the back hits the wrong hole, but I think this is a pretty good measure.
Using Pro Football Reference’s play tracker, I decided to take a look at what percentage of each team’s running plays resulted in something other than a positive gain from scrimmage. The results do not look good for the Jets.
Watching the film, I have generally thought the Jets’ running backs were good this year, and the run blocking was weak. These numbers seem to suggest the same thing. Miami and Detroit are the only teams with a higher percentage of non-positive run plays.