Players get plenty of criticism lofted their way for the penalties they commit. However, the players on the other side of those plays never get any credit for making the effort that leads to a penalty being committed by their opponent.
To get a look at the oft-ignored end of the spectrum, I sifted through each penalty committed by a Jets opponent in 2019 and tracked which players on the team drew the most flags. Obviously, penalties such as delay of game, offsides, roughing the passer, false start, and unsportsmanlike conduct were excluded. The calls that ended up being included were holding, offensive/defensive pass interference, intentional grounding, illegal use of hands, illegal contact, illegal block above the waist, facemask, and chop block.
Here are the results:
My biggest takeaway from this list is the wide gap between Robby Anderson and the rest of the team. He generated three more penalties and more than twice as many penalty yards as any other Jet. I am a strong believer that box score numbers have underrated Anderson over the past two years, and this stat provides a little bit of support to that notion. Anderson’s elite speed and ability to win vertically led to a healthy diet of holding and pass interference calls by opposing corners. I have not looked through and tracked Anderson’s drawn penalty totals from his first three seasons, but I think this has always been a positive asset he has brought to the table.
Anderson has gotten the raw end of the stick with some of the things he has had to deal with. In four seasons he has had four offensive coordinators and seven starting quarterbacks. Consistently atrocious offensive line play has greatly limited the number of instances in which quarterbacks have had enough time and room to target Anderson on deep routes.
I do not think that Anderson is some megastar being held back by everyone else, but I think his somewhat pedestrian numbers (averages of 765.5 yards, 32.5 first downs, and 5.5 touchdowns over last two seasons) undersell him quite a bit. I think that if the Jets build a competent offensive line and Sam Darnold stays healthy for 16 games, Anderson could put up somewhere from 900-1000 yards, 40-45 first downs, and 7-8 touchdowns on a consistent basis.
Spotrac estimates Anderson’s market value at $11.4M/year — he is absolutely worth that number in my opinion.