The explosiveness of the New York Jets’ running game has been limited by subpar blocking at the wide receiver position.
Recently, I broke down how the Jets’ running backs – not their offensive line – are the primary reason for the offense’s lack of rushing success. Throughout the season, Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine have not taken full advantage of the decent-level blocking in front of them.
However, the running back position is not the only one responsible for the Jets placing only 28th in rushing DVOA despite the offensive line’s 13th-ranked cumulative Pro Football Focus run blocking grade and 17th-ranked adjusted line yards per carry average.
The level of blocking at the wide receiver position is another reason for New York’s below-expectations rushing output. Jets wide receivers have combined for a cumulative PFF run blocking grade of 53.3 this season, fifth-worst among all 32 wide receiver groups.
Let’s take a look at some examples on film of the wide receivers laying a dent in the rushing attack’s productivity.
Vyncint Smith should pick up the outside linebacker (Frank Clark) here, but instead, he tries passing Clark off to the right before heading up to the next level. Clark is left unblocked as he heads into the backfield, forcing Frank Gore to cut back into traffic for a one-yard gain. Smith might have thought that George Fant was going to pick up Clark, but there is no reason for him to expect that. Fant is pulling outside, so he is likely going to take the safety standing directly over Smith’s outside shoulder. The safety’s presence coupled with Fant’s pulling assignment should let Smith know that Clark is his responsibility. Smith allows Clark to blow up the play, showcasing the effect wide receivers can have in the run game.