The New York Jets have hit their bye week at 0-3 (not good!). They have three more games left in what is widely considered the hard part of their schedule before it “softens” up. Let’s hope the Jets take the bye week to reevaluate just about everything because Adam Gase’s “the plan was fine but the execution wasn’t” schtick isn’t going to carry him much longer, no matter how deep some people dig to shill for him. Who are three teams in the NFL the Jets can learn a lesson from over the bye week to help them both in the short and long term?
Despite a long tenured Head Coach and a reputation for an “old school” style of play, the Ravens have evolved with the times both in their approach to analytics and game planning. Ask yourself honestly if you could ever see the Jets current staff implementing this type of decision making around a drop kick and two point conversion decisions?
While that drop kick may look like a creative onside attempt, Baltimore never intended to recover it. In a league where onside kicks have become increasingly impossible to pull off, the Ravens opted instead for a high, floating ball that would force the Chiefs to call for a fair catch. That kept the game clock at 2:01, meaning the Kansas City offense had to run a play before the two-minute warning, giving Baltimore a slightly better chance of forcing a three-and-out before time expired…
John Harbaugh on going for two-point conversion when down 30-19 in fourth: “The point was to score as many points as we could. I don’t remember the situation, the X numbers for which one was what, but every one of those was clear analytical decisions to go for two.”
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) September 22, 2019
Beyond that, the Ravens have curated their offense to their quarterback’s skill set. Lamar Jackson is not a “conventional” quarterback but he is a dynamic playmaker both running and throwing the football, the Ravens have changed how they call plays, what personnel sets they use and how they draft/target free agents around him. They managed to even pivot it last year when they swapped from Joe Flacco to Jackson, two quarterbacks who could not be more different.
As it stands now, we have seen the exact same offense from Gase that he ran in Miami. The same swing pass 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 3, is the same one he did with Ryan Tannehill, the same one he did with Sam Darnold week 1, the same one he did with Trevor Siemian week 2 and the same one he did with Luke Falk in week 3. When Darnold is back, the team must play to his strengths, get him on the move to mitigate offensive line concerns and show some flexibility off what didn’t work for Gase in Miami. It is about building a system that fits your players, not fitting the players into your system.
The Colts lost their franchise quarterback a couple of weeks before the 2019 regular season to a surprising retirement. Rather than curl into a ball of excuses, the duo of Chris Ballard and Frank Reich (oh… the pain, it is real) have pushed their organization forward behind backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett en route to an impressive 2-1 start. Similar to what was discussed above, the Colts have adjusted their offense and style of play around their new quarterback.
Part of the reason they have been able to do that is they have been wildly competent when drafting and kept a laser focus on building their offensive line. There is confidence Joe Douglas understands the concept of positional value and will focus heavily on building the offensive line, adding juice to edge rusher and cleaning up the cornerback position. The Colts have been a model for roster building and turning around a challenging situation in a short period of time, let’s hope Rex Hogan takes some lessons back with him to the front office (just like hopefully Chad Alexander did from Baltimore).
Yes, the goddamn Bills. Buffalo had a highly active offseason concentrated around building an offense to support Josh Allen and his unique style of play. The Jets added three primary pieces on offense (Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder and Kelechi Osemele) and while Buffalo didn’t have any names that popped like Bell, they went for a high quantity approach, particularly at the most important spot of all: offensive line. They signed Mitch Morse for center, while the Jets are now left putzing around with Ryan Kalil. They signed Quinton Spain, Jon Feliciano, Ty Nseke and drafted Cody Ford, rather than staying pat with the Brian Winters’ and Brandon Shells of the world. Instead of taking a player already out of football and a blocking tight end in the middle rounds, they took Devin Singletary and Dawson Knox.
Defensively, Buffalo has built an elite unit by regularly addressing both edge and cornerback. Their pass rush can beat you in a diverse number of ways, they didn’t just go all in on their interior rush, like the Jets have (with players like Leonard Williams who can’t rush the quarterback, anyway). The Jets also need to find their version of Tre’ White if they are going to successfully rebuild their cornerback group.