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Key changes Mike LaFleur will make to the New York Jets offense

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 28: Wide Receivers/Passing Game Specialist Mike LaFleur of the San Francisco 49ers Victor Bolden Jr. #17, Dante Pettis #18, Kendrick Bourne #84 and Marquise Goodwin #11 in the locker room prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 18-15.
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

Here are the biggest differences between Adam Gase’s New York Jets offense and the San Francisco 49ers offense that Mike LaFleur comes from.

Passes behind the line of scrimmage to WR and TE

The 49ers love to utilize their outside weapons in the screen game. In 2020, San Francisco threw 56 passes behind the line of scrimmage to its wide receivers and tight ends. Those passes yielded 455 yards and 20 first downs, which is about 8.1 yards per target and a 35.7% conversion rate – insanely good numbers for passes in that range.

Adam Gase’s screen game wasn’t remotely close to as depended-upon or effective. The New York Jets threw 34 passes behind the line of scrimmage to their wide receivers and tight ends, which resulted in just 156 yards (4.6 per target) and seven first downs (20.6% rate).

None of the Jets’ six wide receivers and tight ends to see at least one target behind the line of scrimmage averaged more than 5.5 yards per reception on those passes. The 49ers had five players average a mark of 6.0 or better.

San Francisco had two wide receivers combine for more targets behind the line of scrimmage (37) than the entirety of the Jets’ WR/TE group (34) – Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

Despite playing only six games, Samuel ranked third league-wide among WR/TE with 21 targets behind the line of scrimmage. His average of 3.5 targets behind the line of scrimmage per game was more than double every other qualifier besides Antonio Brown (2.1). Samuel made the absolute most of those passes as his average of 10.9 yards per reception and his conversion rate of 52.3% were each the best marks among the 55 WR/TE with at least eight targets behind the line of scrimmage. His total of 11 first downs on those catches also led the NFL – he was the only qualifier to average more than one conversion per game on such passes.

Aiyuk, San Francisco’s 2020 first-round pick (25th overall), was also great on these plays. He ranked sixth among WR/TE with 1.3 targets behind the line of scrimmage per game. Aiyuk picked up 106 yards and six first downs across 16 targets (6.6 yards per target, 37.5% conversion rate).

The Jets’ most-utilized player on these passes was Braxton Berrios, who tied for 27th among WR/TE with 11 targets behind the line of scrimmage. He wasn’t great on those plays with only 60 yards and two first downs (5.5 yards per target, 18.2% conversion rate).

Finding a wide receiver or two who can make things happen on screen plays will be a must for the Jets throughout the free agency process and the draft.

Personnel deployment

The Jets and 49ers offenses were drastically different when it came to their personnel deployment in 2020.

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