An interesting tweet from PFF shows just how little the Jets attempted to get the ball to their tight ends in 2016.
2016 Regular Season Tight End Target Share% pic.twitter.com/joEWxqpDOu— John Gatta (@PFF_JohnGatta) April 8, 2017
With less than 6% of targets in the passing game going to tight ends, it might be going overboard to say the tight end position was even an afterthought.
That said, I think it is easy to take the wrong lessons from this figure. Two come to mind.
A. It’s tough to argue the lack of involvement from the tight end position was the driving force behind the Jets’ offensive struggles. The tight end was similarly ignored in 2015. That was the best Jets offense in recent memory.
B. The Jets simply deciding to throw the ball to the tight end more will not fix the offensive problems or even make the offense better. There is a major personnel issue at the position and has been for years. Look at last year’s roster. Look at the wide receivers. Look at the running backs. Now look at the tight ends. Is it any wonder the Jets threw the ball to tight ends so infrequently? There were solid pass catchers at receiver and running back. There were no quality NFL players at tight end. If the Jets want tight end to be a bigger factor, they need to upgrade the position. It won’t be so easy to do either. Free agency is essentially over, and even drafted tight ends who develop into really good players rarely make an impact as rookies.