The Jets have scored two rushing touchdowns since week six. One of them was by Sam Darnold.
Through the first five weeks, the Jets averaged 4.93 YPC (yards per carry), fifth highest in the league. Since week six, the Jets have averaged 3.42 YPC, which is dead last in the league. This collapse has been evident in the team’s record, as they are 1-5 since week six, and are currently riding a five-game losing streak for the first time during the Todd Bowles era. The question is, what went wrong?
Winters Has Passed
Brian Winters has been made out to be one of the Jets’ best lineman. He is supposed to be a veteran piece to the young Jets locker room. Unfortunately, the stats don’t show for it. Since week six, the Jets have ran the ball in the direction of Winters 19 times. Of those 19 times, they’ve averaged 2.16 YPC, which is third worst among runs directed toward right guards. They’ve gotten stuffed (2 yards or less) on 53% of those 19 runs.
He wasn’t much better in the first five games. Through the first five weeks the Jets averaged 3.07 YPC while running in his direction, which is also awful. After a strong 2016 and an injury plagued 2017, people thought Winters would bounce back for the Jets. Unfortunately, he never did. It’s either time to stop running the ball in his direction, or take him off the field. When you have set up zero successful run plays in six games, something isn’t right.
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The Jets have been far more successful running the ball in some places rather than others. Jeremy Bates has failed to recognize this, and continues to send his running backs right into bad blocking. He needs to check the film, realize what’s working, and utilize it properly.
Isaiah Crowell, for example, averages 8.37 YPC on 30 rushes outside of the tackles. He’s averaged 3.71 YPC on 87 rushes inside the tackles. The Jets have sent Isaiah Crowell inside the tackles 57 more times than they’ve sent him outside of the tackles despite averaging nearly five less yards per carry. Why?
It doesn’t end there. Despite the Jets averaging 5.3 YPC and their second highest 1D% (30%) when running towards James Carpenter, they run in that direction the least (20 rushes). And despite outside runs working nearly every time in the red zone, they’ve only used it nine times. When running inside the tackles in the red zone, they average 1.11 YPC on 19 carries. Why use something that doesn’t work more than what does work? One of the simplest concepts in football: if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
The Jets all-around execution on running plays has been atrocious during their five-game losing streak, and it’s killed the offense. If they want to see any success from Darnold during the final stretch of the season, or even win a game, they’ll have to get the ground game going, and that starts with play-calling.