How do you proportion blame for an offence that is on course to be historically bad?
In terms of points per game, third-down conversion rate and red zone conversion rate, the Jets are abysmal. You can’t hide from that fact, it is what it is.
Some people put all the blame on Nathaniel Hackett, some people put all the blame on Zach Wilson, some people put all the blame on the offensive line, and some people realise that it’s a collective failing. Which it is...spoiler alert.
Yesterday PFF posted an article stating that the offensive line and not Zach Wilson is the biggest culprit. It’s an interesting read, but it uses PFF grades which are pretty arbitrary. So I wanted to take a look at the actual stats behind the number.
According to the article, the Jets are on course to be historically bad in terms of pressure allowed. The Jets allow pressure on 45.4% of all dropbacks, which is the second-highest number since 2005, behind only the 2017 Houston Texans (46.2%). The Jets have allowed a pressure rate of 55% or more in four of their eight games this season, which is obviously absolutely awful.
The article doesn’t attribute pressure to specific position groups, but looking at the data (provided by PFF), Zach has been responsible for 7 sacks (4th most) and 12 pressures (13th most). That’s based on their perception that he held onto the ball too long. But overall, PFF has the QB responsible for 10% of all pressures generated, or just above league average.
I’m to a point where I think every single person within that offensive group needs to take responsibility and part of the blame. Hackett knows he has a banged-up line, but called a lot of long developing routes against the Chargers. Zach still can’t process fast enough and has no feel for pocket pressure. Allen Lazard in particular is struggling to get open and drops too many passes and of course, the offensive line needs to block better. But they’ll be on their 6th different iteration tomorrow, so can you blame them that much? I know I’m a complete offensive line apologist...and I accept that.
So i went into the data with an open mind...if the Jets offensive line really is the biggest issue, then Zach’s numbers when kept clean should reflect that. Getting hit impacts throws when kept clean because you’re expecting the pressure, but without wiring Zach’s brain up and having a neurologist study the results, it’s the best we have.
I’ve used a minimum of 50 snaps to filter out passers who have barely played, so this is based on 34 qualified QBs.
Here’s Zach’s numbers
44.7% completion (27/34)
4.5 yards per attempt (30/34)
0 touchdowns (28/34)
1 interception (4/34)
2.8% turnover-worthy play rate (10/34)
7.8 average depth of target (32/34)
65.8% adjusted completion (17/34)
22.8% pressure to sack rate (27/34)
When kept clean:
68.2% completion (30/34)
6.8 yards per attempt (26/34)
5 touchdowns (23/34)
4 interceptions (19/34)
2.1% turnover-worthy play rate (15/34)
7.8 average depth of target (11/34)
75.3% adjusted completion (30/34)
Obviously, a lot of the numbers improve. However, improved numbers need to be taken in context with the peers. His actual completion numbers are worse when he’s kept clean, and interestingly 4 of his 5 interceptions have come when he’s had time to process and throw.
The Jets have a lot of problems on offence, but I’m not ready to completely absolve Zach based on what we’ve seen.