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Plays With No Upside

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/ via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Would you like to see a play call that adds zero value for the offense?

This was a 3 yard pass in the flat to Ryan Griffin. It came on a second and 12 play late in the first quarter of last week’s loss to the Broncos.

What makes this play so unhelpful? Griffin has pretty much no playmaking ability to make anything happen with the ball in his hand. He isn’t going to burst up the field with speed to turn this into a big gain.

The biggest issue might be the positioning of the defender assigned to Griffin.

You can see how far off the line of scrimmage he is at the snap. Griffin has such little burst that he can leave this kind of cushion and know he can still charge downhill to limit any gain on a pass to the flat.

This deep alignment allows the defender to provide help preventing a big play. He would be in position to help stop a hypothetical run play from turning into a big gain or assist a teammate on deep coverage if Sam Darnold took a shot down the field. The pass to Griffin can’t make him pay for this deep alignment.

This play was bad, but the Jets kept dialing it up against Denver. You can see how ineffective it continued to be, and how deep Griffin’s defender was able to align each time.


This play just isn’t going to get you more than 3 or 4 yards.

There isn’t much upside, but there also is a lack of situational awareness in the play calling. All of these either took place on first and 10 or second and long. A 3 yard gain is a win for the defense in those situations. If you are going to run a play with 3 yard upside, at least do it on a third and 3 or fourth and 2 when a 3 yard gain would actually be an offensive success.

The reasons the Jets are struggling on offense are numerous, but I come back to one main point. The offense can’t get better when the theory behind the play calling makes such little sense.