How much of a role did the offensive line play in the subpar output? In some ways, they were a huge part, but in others, they actually contributed very positively. Let’s dive in!
As I will always mention, it is impossible to capture everything with the stats, but with this series I hope to capture the most impactful plays accumulated by each linemen, both positive and negative, to help better our perspective on their production levels. Every single snap does matter, and here we will only be grading a small portion of those snaps, but this data can still help shape our opinions on players more properly and truly. Do not use these numbers as final judgement, but as useful evidence.
Here’s what I’ve been tracking:
- Stuffs (runs for 2 yards or less and no first down) allowed in the run game
- Rushing first downs assisted
- “Setup runs” assisted (which I now define as a 5+ yard pickup on 1st-3rd down that did not result in a first down). Despite not resulting in a first down, these kinds of pickups are still positive plays that deserve to be tracked.
- Sacks allowed
- QB hits allowed
- QB pressures allowed (pressure counts include all throws affected by pressure, forced rollouts/dodged defenders, forced throwaways, throwing directly over/around a deeply penetrating defender, footwork/mechanics forced to adjust due to pressure, etc.)
- Deflections allowed (occurrences when allowing the currently engaged defender to bat/deflect a pass at the line)
- Open field assists (blocking assists for significant extra yardage/first down by any player, OL or skill position, in the pass game while a pass receiver has the football)
- Pass blocking snaps (Pass blocking snaps now counted for all players rather than just the base five linemen. Team pass attempts + sacks)
- Penalties (Total accepted, yards, first downs/scores wiped out, and declined)
Here are the numbers for the Jets in Week 8!
- The run blocking was atrocious. The Jets tried to get the outside game going but failed miserably, as Brandon Shell and Kelvin Beachum easily had their worst run blocking games. I credited them for 7 combined stuffs allowed in this game, compared to 11 combined over the first seven games.
- Pass protection was actually pretty decent against a Bears front that rarely brought more than four rushers. The final pressure rate of 40.6% is bad and the second-worst number the Jets have posted this year, but I think that is a bit misleading for two reasons. One, the team compiled a lot of pressures allowed in garbage time with the game out of reach. They were solid for most of the time the game was still within reach.
Two, the offensive line actually was solid in pass pro as a whole. The Jets were hampered by bad help from the skill positions. Isaiah Crowell, Trenton Cannon, and Neal Sterling combined to allow 5 pressures in only 6 protection snaps. That’s atrocious, and it tanks the team’s overall number. The Bears rarely blitzed, and thus the Jets relied on extra pass protection help in this game as little as they have all season. Yet, the skill position protection was as harmful to the offense as it has been in any game. These three were that poor in their execution. All five misses were poor reads, rather than lost 1-on-1s.
- In spite of a poor outing in the run game, Shell is officially red hot in pass protection. Since his Week 4 debacle in Jacksonville, I’ve credited Shell with only 6 total pressures allowed in 135 protection snaps over the past four games, a sterling 4.4% rate. He was untouched throughout the entire Bears game until one pressure in garbage time.
Brian Winters’ pass protection is a consistent liability holding back this offense. Whether it’s to his inside, to his outside, or straight through him (as seen below), Winters is getting beat far too many times a game. As mentioned, in the following clip Akiem Hicks blasts straight through Winters to get the hit on Sam Darnold.
The Jets’ zone running game was obliterated in this game, but there were actually a couple of flashes of impressive work with man blocking concepts. Here, James Carpenter, the prototype man blocker, shows what he can do when he can drive the man in front of him vertically. Chris Herndon also gets a great block on the edge. His pass blocking has been far ahead of his run blocking, but he’s gradually getting this phase of his game improved.
Isaiah Crowell’s pass protection is a major detriment to this offense and likely the reason he has never been trusted as a featured every-down back. With the stout pass-blocking Bilal Powell out, that weakness from Crowell will be highlighted even more.
As Tony Romo pointed out on the CBS broadcast, Crowell should have checked for the blitz before leaking out and running his route here. This misread leads to an unblocked sack of Darnold, the only sack allowed by the Jets in the game.
I chose this play to highlight Brandon Shell. I thought it was a strong contender for his best pass-blocking game as a Jet. He did not get much (if any) help from tight ends and running backs, and yet had one of his most pristine outings. Here, he does a nice job shutting down the attempted rip move by Leonard Floyd.
At the same time, you can also see Beachum allow pressure forcing Darnold to adjust his footing, and Carpenter get decimated by a spin move to allow a nice little shot on the QB (FYI - this was the only pressure of the game I credited Carpenter with.)
Beachum’s inability to create space in the run game, specifically with his lateral movement in the zone game, was perhaps the top reason the Jets had such a sluggish running game (2 first downs to 12 stuffs, 1.8 yards per attempt sans-scrambles). Here he easily lets the outside linebacker slip through the B-gap to force Crowell to redirect his run inside.
Here is a look at how the Jets are stacking up through the first half of the season.
How many new OL starters (compared to Week 1 of 2018) will the Jets have on their first snap of 2019?
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