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Key advanced metrics for New York Jets offense in 35-9 loss to Kansas City Chiefs

Sam Darnold, Mekhi Becton
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A look at key advanced analytics surrounding the New York Jets offense in their blowout loss to Kansas City, including an admirable performance from the Mekhi Becton/George Fant duo.

Braxton Berrios did little in featured role

With Jamison Crowder missing his fourth game, Berrios had his fourth opportunity to be a focal point in the offense, and he once again fell well short of the production that Crowder has typically given the Jets this year.

In Kansas City, Berrios caught 8-of-11 targets for only 34 yards (3.1 per target) and three first downs (27.3%). Berrios’ average of 4.3 yards per reception set a new record for the lowest in franchise history by a wide receiver with at least five catches in a game. The previous record of 4.8 was set by Jerome Barkum in 1974.

Over four games in relief of Crowder, Berrios has averaged 48.0 yards per game, about half of Crowder’s 95.8 yards per game in 2020.

On a per-target basis this season (including all of Berrios’ games, not just his starts), Berrios has averaged 5.5 yards per target and 1.39 yards per route run with a 28.9% first down rate while Crowder has marks of 8.3, 2.29, and 34.8%, respectively.

In terms of drops, Crowder has a career rate of 7.0% while Berrios has a career rate of 12.1% – the position average is typically around 7.5%. This year, Crowder’s drop rate is only 3.3%, with one drop against 29 catches.

While Berrios is a solid punt returner and decent depth option as a slot receiver, he is clearly nowhere near the caliber of Crowder, who has proven to be a very good weapon and deserves to stick around on his $10.5 million cap hit next season.

Denzel Mims needs more targets

Mims led the Jets with 42 yards despite catching only two passes, both of which were chain-movers in the first quarter. He played 55 of the team’s 57 offensive snaps (96.5%) but was targeted only three times, including just once over the final three quarters.

There are a variety of people who could be blamed for Mims’ lack of targets. Is it Mims himself for not getting open? Is it Dowell Loggains and Adam Gase for failing to design and call concepts that opened him up? Is it Darnold for not getting the ball to Mims when open? Is it the offensive line for not giving Darnold enough time to take shots to Mims?

It’s probably a combination of all four of those things. The answer will be more clear once the film is released later this week. Personally, based on what I saw on the first watch (admittedly, it is hard to glean much from the broadcast view), I thought Darnold was too checkdown-happy and missed some chances to take downfield shots to Mims when he had one-on-one coverage with limited or no help over top. But, again, we will have to wait and see what the All-22 angles show.

However, with so little talent available at the skill positions, the Jets should have placed a far larger emphasis on drawing up touches for Mims in that game. Loggains had no issue force-feeding screens to Berrios as if he were Tyreek Hill. Why couldn’t he find a way to get the football to Mims? Pull out a jet sweep for the man with 4.38 speed. Get him going on a crossing route on a play action rollout. Call a third-and-1 play fake and send him on a nine route. Send him on a slant with a rub from the slot man.

Whether the culprit is Darnold, Loggains, Gase, or a combination of them all, giving three targets to the most talented weapon on your roster is inexcusable.

Sam Darnold produced little downfield

Darnold threw for only 4.4 yards per attempt against the Chiefs, the third-worst mark of his career. It’s his sixth consecutive game to begin the season with a mark under 7.0 (the league average is 7.3) and his fifth consecutive game with a mark under 6.0. The severe regression has been shocking to watch. Darnold did not even have back-to-back games with under 7.0 yards per attempt in 2019, let alone six straight.

Currently, Darnold ranks last among qualified quarterbacks with 5.5 yards per attempt this season. If maintained, that would be the worst average by a qualified quarterback since Ryan Mallett had a nearly identical average in 2015. Prior to Mallett, a qualified non-rookie quarterback had not finished a season with as bad of a mark since JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn each posted an average of 5.2 in 2009.

In Kansas City, Darnold could not get anything going down the field. He was 3-of-9 for 55 yards on passes that traveled at least 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, including 1-of-4 for 27 yards in the 20-plus range. Darnold has yet to have a game this season with more than two completions of 20-plus yards through the air and has had one or zero such completions in five of his six games.

Darnold’s average completion this season has traveled only 4.7 yards downfield, 30th among qualifiers.

La’Mical Perine isn’t showing much elusiveness

Perine was a somewhat puzzling pick in the fourth round, as he was more of a jack-of-all-trades type of running back while there were other players available at the position who boasted flashier traits and higher upside even if their floors were a bit lower.

So far, Perine certainly has lived up to his billing as a back who does not have a very high ceiling. He has been credited with only four evaded tackles over 49 touches this season, an average of 0.082 per touch that ranks 58th out of 63 qualified running backs.

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Greg Van Roten is catching fire, but IOL mates are ice cold

Van Roten is starting to pick up some steam after appearing to be the worst of the starting five by a wide margin at the beginning of the year.

From Weeks 1-4, Van Roten allowed 15 pressures, more than any other guard in football. His pressure rate of 9.3% was the worst among qualifiers.

After a clean performance in Kansas City with no pressures allowed over all 36 of Sam Darnold’s dropbacks, Van Roten has allowed just two pressures over his past four games. Protecting on 165 snaps over that span, he has allowed a measly pressure rate of 1.2% since Week 5. The native Long Islander has been credited with zero pressures in three of his past four games.

As Van Roten trends up, Alex Lewis and Connor McGovern are trending down.

Lewis returned to his left guard spot after a one-game absence in which Josh Andrews sunk the entire offense. Unfortunately, Lewis was not all that much better against the Chiefs, allowing four pressures over 36 snaps (11.1%) and being penalized for illegal use of hands. Lewis has allowed at least four pressures in three of his past four games.

It is officially time to start considering McGovern a major disappointment. There is plenty of time for him to turn it around, but to this point, he has not been close to the player he was in Denver last year.

McGovern had a false start and allowed two pressures over 35 protection snaps against the Chiefs, a pressure rate of 5.7%. That does not seem like much, but the average for centers is very low. This year, it’s only 2.7%. McGovern has allowed at least two pressures in seven of his eight games in 2020 after doing it in only three of his 16 games last season. Over eight fewer games and 285 fewer protection snaps, he has already allowed five more pressures than he did last season, yielding 20 to this point of 2020 compared to 15 throughout all of last year.

Centers are not expected to allow much of anything in protection, but McGovern’s awareness, wherewithal, and smarts have seemingly disappeared, making him a pressure-allowing machine. His performance in the mental part of the game has been night-and-day compared to the excellence he showcased in that area on film last season.

Mekhi Becton and George Fant dominated in pass protection

While the interior offensive line has been a constant issue this season, the tackle duo of Becton and Fant continues to be the greatest strength of the entire offense and a real reason to be excited about the future.

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