All shadows of clouds the sun cannot hide
Like the moon cannot stop oceanic tide;
But a hidden star can still be smiling
At night’s black spell on darkness, beguiling
— Munia Khan
Pro Football Focus is out with several rankings after the first nine weeks of the NFL season. Rankings of all starting quarterbacks with enough snaps, rankings of the top rookies, and rankings of all 32 NFL offensive lines all came out today.
Let’s dispense with the distasteful stuff first and save the best for last.
PFF rates the New York Jets offensive line 25th in the NFL, and aims its ire directly at one of our own favorite targets, Spencer Long:
Yet another free agent signing gone awry. Spencer Long was always solid on the interior for the Redskins after he was third-round pick back in 2014. So far in New York, however, he’s been disastrous. His 14 pressures allowed are more than he gave up in either of the past two seasons, and his 45.5 run-blocking grade doesn’t look much better.
Oof. Not good.
Next up: the quarterbacks. PFF has 30 NFL quarterbacks with enough snaps to qualify for ranking. Sam Darnold ranks - you guessed it - 30th and last among the league’s starting quarterbacks. In separate rookie quarterback rankings, PFF also ranks Darnold 4th and last among the four rookie quarterbacks with significant playing time. Double oof.
But let’s not dwell on the negatives, shall we. PFF ranks all of the rookies in the running for rookie of the year. While only ten were ranked numerically, and no Jets qualified there, another 15 were lumped together in an honorable mention grouping. There is where we find Jets tight end Chris Herndon. Honorable mention may not sound all that great, but for a 4th round pick to rank in the top 25 rookies, particularly at tight end, a position notorious for difficult transitions in the NFL, isn’t too bad at all.
Well done Chris Herndon. In another lost Jets season we can at least celebrate a hidden star, raging against the dying of the light.