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Regardless of what a team’s depth chart looks like, there is going to be fluidity between their personnel packages on both sides of the football. Here is a quick overview of prospective packages for the Jets on offense in 2018, followed by thoughts on how a few different players roles could shake out…
1 – Singleback, frontside trips with H
With the return of Quincy Enunwa, the Jets have the flexibility to run a four receiver look with the benefit of their inside slot being able to function as H Back. Enunwa can block if need be and also create mismatches with linebackers or safeties. We don’t know if Jeremy Bates will utilize him in this way but in the below look, Enunwa can be the inside slot or H-Back, Jermaine Kearse can be the outside slot receiver with Chad Hansen or Terrelle Pryor outside of him, leaving Robby Anderson isolated backside. The Jets can also use a more traditional tight end in the inside slot, like Chris Herndon or Jordan Leggett, with Enunwa as the outside slot, leaving Kearse and Anderson on the outside.
2 – Singleback with Y
A more traditional three receiver look, where the Jets can put Enunwa or Kearse in the slot or outside and Anderson as the other outside receiver. If the Jets don’t feel great about their fullbacks, this could be a formation they frequently run the football out of with Eric Tomlinson functioning as the Y (or Herndon if they are looking for a more versatile player).
3 – Five wide, frontside bunch
The Jets had a high amount of success last year with rub routes, particularly when utilizing bunch formations. With the ability of players like Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire to catch the football out of the backfield, you can begin this play with a more traditional alignment before shifting one or both of them to the slot in the frontside bunch and/or slot on the backside. The Jets can mix and match their other receivers and tight ends, with a larger target like Enunwa, Pryor or Herndon serving as the point man on the frontside of the bunch.
4 – Singleback, Two Tight Ends
Frontside, the Jets would have a traditional Y like Tomlinson paired with a H, who could be Herndon or Leggett. Backside, the slot receiver has been brought in motion to function as a blocker (Jermaine Kearse below), this could easily be Enunwa this year, with Anderson as the lone outside receiver.
5 – Traditional I formation with 21 personnel
The Jets can utilize either Lawrence Thomas or Dmitri Flowers as their fullback (or potentially Tomlinson, if neither fullback distinguishes themselves). The deep back is likely to either be Isiah Crowell or Powell (probably Crowell more frequently in this alignment). Depending on the situation, the outside of receivers will be some combination of Anderson, Enunwa, Kearse, Pryor or Hansen.
6 – Singleback, four wide with no H/Y
A slightly wider split for the inside slot than the first formation we looked at. The Jets may want to frequently spread the field with a way to get their top four receivers out there at the same time. Enunwa and Kearse are most likely to regularly work from the slot but we could see Anderson utilized there in some situations. The Jets can easily shift this to a five wide formation with a pre-snap motion from Powell or McGuire in the backfield.
7 – Quincy Enunwa – The biggest question mark on the Jets offense is how Jeremy Bates will utilize Enunwa. Will he be the H/WR hybrid he was in 2015 or will he be the more traditional split end he was in 2016? With Robby Anderson’s speed outside the numbers, it would seem making Enunwa a chess piece who bounces between X, Z, slot and H to create mismatches is the best move. However, where he sees the majority of his reps and if the Jets can effectively manufacture touches for him to create YAC remain outstanding questions.
8 – Eric Tomlinson – There are probably eye rolls whenever Tomlinson is mentioned in above personnel groups but nobody on the Jets depth chart played more reps last season and nobody is as proven as a blocker. Tomlinson will have a role as a traditional Y in this offense, particularly with the Jets so unproven at fullback.
9 – Jermaine Kearse – He will likely be pushed by Chad Hansen for playing time but Kearse fits the bill as a potentially productive slot receiver and zone buster who can occasionally take the heat off Anderson and Enunwa.
10 – Terrelle Pryor – Pending his health, Pryor is likely to be a situational player more than anything, who is utilized primarily in the red zone and as an outside the numbers complement to Anderson. He has the most limited route tree of the Jets top four receivers.
11 – Isiah Crowell – The most likely back to receive the bulk of early down carries and the least versatile of the top three runners.
12 – Bilal Powell/Eli McGuire – McGuire is likely to add more value as a pass catcher than a runner, while Powell should be a 1A/1B early down option with Crowell and also regularly be utilized on third downs. He remains the team’s best overall back.