Pat Fitzgerald
(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What are the positives and negatives of each potential New York Jets head coach from a statistical standpoint?

Brian Daboll

Positives

The development of Josh Allen is the obvious crown jewel of Daboll’s resume. Allen came into the NFL as a prospect with an extremely high ceiling due to his outstanding physical traits, but an extremely low floor due to his steady history of bad accuracy and mediocre overall production dating all the way back to his high school days.

Daboll came in as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator in 2018 (Allen’s rookie year), tasked with building an offense that could put Allen in a favorable position to fulfill his potential. He’s succeeded in that endeavor to an extent that few could have imagined – even the most loyal of table-shattering Bills Mafia members.

Under Daboll, Allen has progressed from the NFL’s least accurate qualified quarterback as a rookie with a -7.7% completion percentage versus expectation (accuracy accounting for attempt difficulty – via NFL Next Gen Stats) to the NFL’s second-most accurate in his third season, posting a completion percentage that was 4.6% better than expected (trailing only Deshaun Watson‘s +4.8%).


Altogether, Allen has grown from a bad starter into an MVP candidate.

The Bills offense steadily progressed under Daboll. In terms of Football Outsiders’ DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average, which accounts for the value of each play based on down, distance-to-go, game situation, and opponent quality among other factors), Buffalo rose from 31st in Daboll’s first season to 21st in 2019 and fifth in 2020.

Negatives

Daboll’s biggest question mark is the fact that he is essentially a one-year wonder. The work he has done with Allen and the Buffalo offense in 2020 may be the most impressive single season by any of the 2021 head coaching candidates to date, but before this year, Daboll was nowhere near the head coaching radar.

Prior to 2020, Daboll had not led a single offense into the league’s top half of DVOA over six tries. With the Browns from 2009-10, the Dolphins in 2011, the Chiefs in 2012, and the Bills from 2018-19, his best offensive ranking in terms of DVOA was No. 20 with Miami.

Building a strong running game is another question mark of Daboll’s. From 2018-20, he led Buffalo to 29th, 19th, and 22nd in rush offense DVOA, respectively. That is despite a solid offensive line that ranked in the league’s top half of Pro Football Focus’ run blocking grade in both 2019 and 2020.

Pat Fitzgerald


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