A promising start from the offensive line is among the key takeaways from the New York Jets’ advanced metrics on offense in Week 1.
Downfield game was not there for Sam Darnold
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Darnold’s average pass completion traveled only 3.5 yards in the air, tied for fourth-worst among quarterbacks in Week 1.
Prior to his 39 air yards over eight completions on the Jets’ garbage time drive, Darnold averaged just 2.7 air yards per completion, which would have been the league’s worst mark of the week.
The Jets can help Darnold out with more separation from their outside wide receivers (Breshad Perriman and Chris Hogan) downfield, but this stat was largely Darnold’s own doing as he missed far too many open throws beyond the first down marker.
Darnold’s average attempt traveled 7.5 yards downfield, 17th-highest of the week, but as mentioned previously, his average completion traveled only 3.5 yards. The -4.0 differential between Darnold’s intended depth and the depth of his completed passes was fourth-worst of the week, ahead of only Joe Burrow (-4.1), Drew Lock (-5.5), and Carson Wentz (-5.7). Struggling in this stat typically means the quarterback failed to complete the majority of his longest attempts, which was certainly the case with Darnold in Orchard Park.
Jamison Crowder dominated in the slot
Crowder racked up 110 receiving yards when lined up in the slot, tops among all players in Week 1. He tied for second in the NFL with six receptions out of the slot.
Only one of Crowder’s receptions came with him lined up outside, which was a quick dump-off late in the first half in which he was off the line of scrimmage in a stack behind Breshad Perriman.
In 2019, Crowder ranked fourth in touchdowns (5), fourth in receptions (58), and ninth in yards (648) out of the slot. While his odd proneness to brutal drops limits his ceiling, he brings a unique level of explosiveness to the table that most pure slot receivers don’t offer, which more than makes up for the drops and places him among the game’s elite slot weapons.
Offensive line was intriguing
I was a fan of the offensive line’s performance on Sunday, and there is one impressive number out there that seems to agree this unit may be on its way to establishing itself as a huge upgrade over last year’s monstrosity.