Sam Darnold led a road comeback victory in his first start back. Did the offensive line help him? Let’s take a look.
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 blocker, 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 (knockdowns) 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 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 against Buffalo!
- Not a good run blocking game at all. It was a team effort, as just about everybody to run block in this game had their share of whiffs. I thought Elijah McGuire ran the ball very well to generate as much extra yardage as he could. Trenton Cannon scored a four-yard touchdown behind key blocks from Jermaine Kearse and Chris Herndon, but I thought he looked very ineffective on his other four carries, which combined to gain negative one yard.
- It was a decent pass protection outing, but the Jets were clearly doing their best to try not to let the offensive line lose them the game. Lots of quick releases were called, and a ton of credit needs to go to Sam Darnold for the way he handled the pressure in this game. Save for his forced interception on a rollout in which pressure from Kelvin Beachum and Brian Winters ushered him out of the pocket, Darnold managed the pocket well, dodging trouble left and right. The Jets didn’t allow a sack or QB hit (knockdown) in the game, and Darnold deserves the most credit for that.
- Regular readers of this series know that I’m the President of his fan club, but I got to shout out Brandon Shell once again! I tagged him with just one pressure (plus a pass deflection) allowed in this game, and that brings him to a total of only five pressures allowed over the past four games. Trent Murphy beat Shell with an inside spin early in this one, a weapon that has decimated him in the past. He adjusted, and didn’t let it happen again. Shell did a nice job with his hands in this game, getting underneath and into the chest of his matchups to win his battles with regularity. I’m very impressed with what he’s done this season, and I’m sold that he should be a solid starter for the Jets for a while. The choice is yours - you can hop on the Shell bandwagon, or you can let it run you over!
- The Jets should probably just move on from Spencer Long. I only tagged him with one pressure and one stuff allowed in this game, but he had a lot of losses in the ground game that went uncaptured. In pass protection, when I earlier wrote about the Jets quickening their releases to mitigate the offensive line, Long in particular is exactly who I’m talking about. While he did enough to limit his numbers, he was still getting constantly penetrated into the backfield forcing Darnold to look over the outstretched arms of defenders. He ducks his head and gives up the swim move way too much. It’s surprising, since Long was a decent player in Washington, but it hasn’t clicked here, whether it’s due to injury or whatever else it may be. The Jets have a franchise quarterback to protect, and they would be better served taking a shot on somebody else rather than experimenting with a struggling player.
A couple of interesting run game clips here. First, an effort that popped out to me as one of the better ones I’ve seen from the entire front this year. Ironically, it’s just a four-yard pickup.
All five guys up front put in a phenomenal rep here. Shell crushes the linebacker on the pull. Winters drives Kyle Williams (#95) into the backfield away from the ballcarrier. Jonotthan Harrison and Long blow the 1-technique out of the play on the double team - Harrison finishes him into the ground while Long breaks off and hits the linebacker. Beachum isn’t really involved but the let the edge defender open up the outside gap himself.
Unfortunately, all of that was canceled out by a really poor effort from Eric Tomlinson, who is on the right end of the line. I don’t really know what he was trying to do there. He blocks nobody and allows the linebacker to make a nice play closing the gap to bring McGuire down and save a potential huge gain.
Here is the Jets’ biggest run of the day, a 34-yarder from McGuire. This is a really nice run, great patience and then good burst to squeak through the small hole, and McGuire adds a little extra with a stiff arm into the dirt on Micah Hyde.
Brian Winters absorbs the blow from Kyle Williams and Brandon Shell does a good job blocking down on him to create some space. Eric Tomlinson gets just enough of Trent Murphy (#93) to keep him out of the hole, while on the outermost edge, Chris Herndon does a good job preventing Jordan Poyer (#21) from getting through.
Herndon’s run blocking is coming along nicely. Over the first eleven games of the season, I credited him with a 10:14 assist to stuff ratio in the run game, which is very poor. Over the past three games, I have him at 8:0 - phenomenal. Hopefully he can continue this through the end of the year. If he can, he will enter 2019 with a very real chance to become one of the top 10-15 all-around tight ends in the game.
Where will Chris Herndon eventually settle in among tight ends in terms of his overall game?
This poll is closed
Best in the league
He won’t ever be a top 25 tight end