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One isn’t enough: Imploring the Jets to consider more receiving help

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Last offseason, the New York Jets selected wide receiver Garrett Wilson 10th overall. To the glee of Jets fans, Garrett Wilson immediately produced in year 1 as he amassed 83 catches for 1,103 yards. As this offseason approaches, the Jets will seek to add to their roster which has several notable holes including offensive line and quarterback. Given the success of Garrett Wilson, some have argued the Jets have enough talent at WR to avoid major additions at the positions, whereas others have pointed to the lack of production from wide receivers Corey Davis and Elijah Moore as rationale for the Jets to consider further investment into this position.

Given this narrative, two pieces of information related to the Minnesota Vikings stood out to me this week. First was this quote from New York Giants Defensive Coordinator (and Rex Ryan lookalike according to some) Wink Martindale, whose defense held Minnesota Vikings star WR Justin Jefferson in check last week en route to a playoff upset and is now faced with doing the same to Philadelphia Eagles star WRs AJ Brown and Devonta Smith this week:

As succinctly put by Martindale, the more good wideouts a team has the harder they are to cover. In a nutshell, this occurs because teams rarely have more than 1 cornerback (if they even have that) who they are comfortable leaving in single coverage against a great wideout, such as the three listed in the tweet above. To offset this, teams often opt to roll additional coverage (to simplify we will call this a double coverage) to assist a corner they feel is outmatched and likely to be targeted. However, using double coverage leaves the defense a player short in another area, which can create opportunities for the offense to exploit. Given this, teams rarely opt to double cover multiple receivers on one play as it would compound the problem. For the Eagles, this typically means that one of AJ Brown or Devonta Smith are in single coverage, which is a favorable matchup that prevents defenses from stalling their offense simply by taking one player away. For the Vikings, the lack of a strong #2 receiver leaves Jefferson open to double teams that can lead to regular stagnating of their offense.

This leads me to the second interesting piece of information.

Within this tweet, it is shown that merely double covering Justin Jefferson greatly weakens the passing efficiency of the Minnesota Vikings. In fact, this would suggest that the Vikings offense is approximately 13 as effective in situations where Jefferson is double teamed, making this a strong strategy to employ in any passing down against the Vikings. This is notable because Justin Jefferson is about as good as it gets at WR, so if he cannot overcome this additional defensive attention then we should not expect another receiver, such as Garrett Wilson, to do so regularly.

To this point, without a competent #2 WR, the Jets risk Garrett Wilson becoming the type of player who is so good that teams are willing to deploy additional assets to slow him down. For a team that shown a willingness to force feed Garrett Wilson (as evidenced by his 17 targets in week 18), I think this could be rather detrimental to the overall success of their 2023 offense.

But what do you think? Is Garrett the type of players that teams may consider deploying these resources to? If yes, should the Jets consider investing in another WR in an attempt to minimize the number of double teams he faces or to provide a strong secondary option for whoever winds up playing QB? Or would the Jets instead be better suited to round out other parts of their offense and team?