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How complete of a receiver is Jermaine Kearse? - Breaking down Kearse’s numbers by route type

Kansas City Chiefs v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After checking out the top sources of offense from Terrelle Pryor, Quincy Enunwa, and Robby Anderson over the past few days, today I move on to the most experienced receiver on the Jets roster - Jermaine Kearse. How did he turn his career around in New York after a rough 2016 in Seattle? Let’s take a look at Kearse’s production broken down by route type!

Check out the previous editions:

Terrelle Pryor

Quincy Enunwa

Robby Anderson

Firstly, a synopsis of the route types I broke down. I went with a relatively simple group of categories, and I know some routes have a variety of different names. For the purpose of this study, here are the labels I went with:

To kick things off, let’s take a look at the routes Kearse saw the most targets on. He officially tallied 103 targets, but after removing throwaways and targets that were not in his remote vicinity, I brought Kearse down to 93 targets. Here is the distribution of those 93:

If you read the Terrelle Pryor breakdown, Kearse’s tree looks very similar. The main difference would be subbing Pryor’s comeback tendency for Kearse’s flat tendency, but otherwise they have similar distributions. Kearse mostly stayed in the short to intermediate ranges, most often either sitting down in zones on curls or giving Josh McCown an option to hit in stride over the middle.

Next, let’s see where Kearse produced his first downs.

Kearse is not an all-world athlete but is a smart receiver with a nose for the sticks. He does an especially good job finding creases in zones, sitting down in the right spots on curls and adjusting his crossing routes to give the quarterback a throwing lane.

Where did Kearse generate his yardage?

Kearse didn’t spend much time downfield, but took full advantage of his targets there to put up some strong downfield production. Slants came out on top as his top yardage producer, due to his uncanny ability to break off huge yardage after the catch on those plays.

Here is a look at how Kearse produced based on the side of the field he lined up on. In terms of targets, he heavily favored the right side for most of the year until wavering back towards 50-50 near the end of the season. He was tremendously better on the right side in terms of efficiency.

Kearse primarily operated inside of the numbers but saw himself rotating between slot targets and outside targets. Unlike the splits he showed based on field side, Kearse didn’t see a big production change dependent on whether he lined up inside or outside of the numbers.

Finally, here is a complete breakdown of Kearse’s production by route type.

Some notes from me:

  • I only charted five drops for Kearse, fewest of the four receivers I’ve gone through to this point.
  • Now having completed the route breakdowns for each of the top four most accomplished wide receivers on the Jets roster, all four have different favorite routes each in terms of targets, yardage, and first downs. If all of these players can answer their question marks (stringing together good seasons, injuries, off-field), the Jets seem to have a group that could potentially compliment one another excellently.
  • I briefly noted Kearse’s YAC ability on slants earlier. I charted him for an average of 10.9 yards after catch per slant reception; the highest YAC average for a single route I’ve charted thus far through four Jets receivers (excluding Kearse’s corner route in which he had only one catch). Kearse did a good job on multiple occasions catching the ball in stride over the middle and running straight through 1-2 defenders to get himself plenty of extra yardage running between the hashes down the field. Maybe it was just a one year coincidence, but perhaps this is a weapon of Kearse’s the Jets should continue to try and feature.

Kearse’s reputation seems to be “savvy, solid vet.” I have also believed that was the best way to describe Kearse’s 2017 season, and my opinion has not changed. Kearse is not exactly a plus athlete, certainly making a low amount of acrobatic catches. He doesn’t get himself open downfield consistently enough to be an efficient target magnet, nor is he much of a creator underneath. He also was the beneficiary of a lot of manufactured yards downfield, enjoying quite a few wide open downfield throws due to either a defensive mistake or a well-executed pick play.

Regardless, he is always aware of the chains and has a knack for keeping the ball moving upfield after the catch, maximizing each reception. He executes curls and slants solidly to make himself a reliable safety blanket, while also possessing above-average hands. All in all, he is who you likely think he is. A solid complimentary receiver.

What will his role be in 2018?


Where will Jermaine Kearse rank among Jets wide receivers in receptions in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (45 votes)
  • 40%
    (182 votes)
  • 39%
    (178 votes)
  • 8%
    (36 votes)
  • 0%
    5th or lower
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    He won’t catch a pass
    (2 votes)
447 votes total Vote Now