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Examining yards per route run over expectation for the New York Jets starting wideouts

NFL: New York Jets Training Camp Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The other day I wrote about how consideration of the package a team uses can help to set expectations for how many yards a receiver earns on a per play basis, such that greater sure of desirable packages that have higher yards per route run should allow a player to be more generally effective.

While this is interesting from a schematic perspective, it does little to tell us about how individual receivers did relative to these expectations. Thankfully, Twitter (or is it X?) analysts often take one interesting piece of interesting and then turn it into another piece of interesting data, which is exactly what Tej Seth of SumerSports did.

Within this analysis, Tej Seth accounting for the personnel groupings that receivers lined in and then adjusted for this as well as down and distance to determine how effective wide receivers were on a per-snap basis based on how they “should” have done based on the quality of the opportunities they were given. Within this plot, three New York Jets are present and each fare fairly well.

First, wide receiver Garrett Wilson can be found in almost the dead center of the plot. Specifically, his adjusted yards per route run were slightly below average whereas his yards per route run were slightly above average. This means that while Garrett was effective, his performance may have been aided by the quality of the game situations that he placed in. However... this doesn’t account for the quality of QB play last season, which might have prevented Garrett from taking full advantage of these desirable opportunities. Accordingly, we might anticipate Garrett to score more favorably following the arrival of quarterback Aaron Rodgers if given equivalently desirable game situations to run his routes.

Second, wide receiver Allen Lazard scores rather similarly to Wilson with his dot placed only slightly to Wilson’s left. While Lazard was not particularly impressive on yards per route run with a n essentially average score, he actually scores a tick above average on the adjusted numbers. What this implies is that Lazard did not receive favorable situations within which to run his routes, allowing for potential improvement if offensive coordinator Paul Hackett is able to create more advantageous opportunities for Lazard. As someone who was not particularly high on the Lazard signing, I view this as an encouraging datapoint that might suggest Lazard has more to offer the Jets than his previous season performances indicate.

Third, wide receiver Corey Davis can be found on the list with his dot featured to the left of Lazard. For Davis, he scored below average on both yards per route run but essentially average on the adjusted version of this statistic, showing that Davis was not all the effective on the whole but that he performed at an average level of effectiveness based on the situations he was placed in. It is also important to note that he suffered from the same quarterback woes that likely hindered Wilson, so perhaps an improvement in the quality of his quarterback will allow him to improve these metrics across the board and place himself firmly in the “above average” realm of performnace.

Overall, I view these datapoints as rather favorable for the Jets. It does appear that they have at least three wideouts who are at least approaching average performance levels based on the level of effectiveness they should have achieved based on their opportunities. Given that the NFL is currently being dominated by teams with multiple quality pass catching options and good QB play, this gives the Jets the opportunity to follow the trend if Rodgers can return to this 2021 MVP form.