A few weeks back I wrote an article calling upon Mike LaFleur to make a concerted effort to manufacture more touches for Elijah Moore in space.
In the article I referenced an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry takes his Uncle Leo out to lunch. Jerry has ulterior motives for this lunch with his uncle so he is not happy to hear it when Uncle Leo tells him they need to meet once a week.
Similarly I said the Jets should try to get the ball to Moore in space once a quarter. The offense wasn’t doing much of anything at that point, yet they weren’t trying to manufacture touches for a talented playmaker.
Mike LaFleur hasn’t quite taken the advice Uncle Leo and I gave him. Moore isn’t yet getting a designed touch in space once a quarter. However, the offensive coordinator is doing a better job of involving the rookie wide receiver in the offense.
Take this play from early in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to Miami.
This is a simple play. The Jets loop Moore in motion.
Joe Flacco just flips him the ball. On this side of the formation there are two blockers and two defenders.
All that’s left to do is for Moore to use his speed to get as far down the field as possible. This turns into a 15 yard gain that required minimal effort from the quarterback.
As Zach Wilson returns to the lineup, this is the type of play the Jets should look to utilize. You want to put as little on the plate of a rookie quarterback as possible.
I look at it like this. In NFL game this season winning team that has averaged just a hair under 21 first downs per game. Every time you can get one running a play like this, it is one less time the quarterback is asked to do something special.
Beyond the obvious impacts, putting plays like this in the defense’s mind can open things up for other players.
Later in the second quarter, the Jets swing Moore around again in a similar type of motion.
Having seen this just go for a 15 yard play, Moore’s motion draws the attention of the defender in the slot.
This in turn causes him to not pay attention to the man he is covering, Nick Bawden, who runs open from the slot.
Joe Flacco hits him for a 20 yard gain.
One major goal of playcalling should be to put tendencies down and then break them right when the defense thinks it has things figured out. This type of sequence did just that. The defense was so consumed with Moore that Bawden got open purely by design. You could say the Jets schemed him open here.
Beyond that, Moore got the defense’s attention.
I’ve seen people declare that Elijah Moore is now the Jets’ number one receiver. I don’t want to put that much on the kid so soon. This is mainly because I feel like it turns him into a failure if he’s not yet ready for the role just yet after one big game. Of course that isn’t the case. He can come along at a more moderate pace and still be a success.
Still it is nice to see the Jets have a player who forces the defense to account for him and opens things up for others. That’s something they have lacked since the glory days of Brandon Marshall. Even if we don’t want to put the weight of the world on Moore’s shoulders, we can certainly hope this is a sign of things to come.