Here are a few ways the New York Jets can use the snaps vacated by Elijah Moore
After the second-year receiver publicly complained about his lack of targets and proceeded to request a trade, the Jets decided to hold him out of this Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. It’s unknown when he will suit up again.
In the meantime, LaFleur must figure out what to do with the snaps vacated by Moore’s exit. Moore has played 83% of the Jets’ offensive snaps this year. Who will assume those snaps on Sunday?
Here’s how I see it playing out.
For Wilson, this would likely involve a significant boost in snaps. Wilson is only playing 59% of the Jets’ offensive snaps this season compared to Moore’s 83%.
I proposed earlier this week that the Jets should have Wilson and Moore swap roles, moving Wilson to the X and Moore to the slot. It looks like we might get to see Wilson at the X after all.
Moore has run a go route on 33% of his pass plays this season, ranking 14th-highest among all wide receivers. That wasn’t working for Moore, who has a small frame and struggles in jump-ball situations. But it could suit Wilson, who excels at snatching acrobatic catches in mid-air.
Berrios is the clear WR4 on this team. He ranks fourth among the team’s wide receivers with a snap percentage of 28%, which is more than double the Jets’ WR5, Jeff Smith, who sits at 13%.
So, it only makes sense that Berrios would be the next man up if one of the Jets’ top-three receivers went out.
Berrios, of course, is a pure slot receiver. If he steps into a starting role, he’d have to play there. That’s why Wilson would have to move outside if Berrios were to join the starting trio.
As previously mentioned, Wilson has played 59% of the snaps this season, so I could see Berrios jumping up to a number in that neighborhood.
With Berrios joining the starting lineup, Jeff Smith can rise one spot on the depth chart to fill Berrios’s shoes as the WR4/gadget weapon. Smith is a converted quarterback with stellar speed (4.34), so I think he would do quite nicely in this role. He’ll be a threat on jet motion and also offers the ability to pass on a trick play.
Finally, Denzel Mims could fill in for Smith as the fifth wide receiver. The Jets have used five wide receivers in every game this year. Smith has played 13% of the offensive snaps, taking the field for 11.0 snaps per game. I think Mims will get a snap count in that range.
New York can focus using Mims in short-yardage situations and in the red zone. In these scenarios, the 6-foot-3 Mims can be a threat on fade routes while his blocking ability allows him to remain useful if the Jets run the ball.
In terms of roles and positions on the depth chart, here’s a summary of how I see things playing out for the wide receiver position:
- X: Garrett Wilson
- Z: Corey Davis
- Slot: Braxton Berrios
- WR4: Jeff Smith
- WR5: Denzel Mims
The next question is exactly how many snaps each of them will play. While I laid out some season-average percentages that can serve as guidelines, those numbers vary greatly on a weekly basis. For instance, Moore has played as many as 94% of the snaps (Week 3 vs. CIN) and as few as 58% (Week 6 at GB).
It all depends on the Jets’ personnel usage.
Last week, the Jets used their 12 personnel package (1 RB/2 TE/2 WR) on a season-high 34% of their plays. They also used 21 personnel (2 RB/1 TE/2 WR) on a season-high 15%. These boosts in two-receiver sets led to the Jets using 11 personnel (1 RB/1 TE/3 WR) on a season-low 38% of the plays, which caused Moore (58%) and Wilson (44%) to register season-low snap percentages.
If the Jets stick with last week’s plan – or even expand upon it considering they lost a starting receiver – we could see the Jets’ new lineup of receivers held to a fairly limited snap count while tight ends Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah are featured as mainstays. Last week, Conklin played 67% of the snaps while Uzomah played a season-high 78%.
However, there is a chance that the Jets go back to using a lot of 11 personnel this week.
When researching the Broncos’ defense, I found that they are significantly better at defending 12 personnel than 11 personnel – specifically against the run. Denver allows 2.7 yards per carry against 12 personnel (3rd-best) and 5.8 yards per carry against 11 personnel (4th-worst). If the Jets want to continue their ground-and-pound mentality, 11 personnel is their best bet.
New York is also much better at rushing out of 11 personnel than out of 12 personnel. The Jets are averaging 3.6 yards per carry with 12 personnel (22nd) and 5.4 yards per carry with 11 personnel (11th). Perhaps they do not need to be overly reliant on two-TE sets to run the football well.
Furthermore, the Jets’ 11 personnel package could be even more dangerous against the run with this new group of receivers. Wilson is an upgrade over Moore as a blocker at the X spot. Berrios is a greater jet-motion threat than Wilson in the slot. Couple these factors with Corey Davis‘s outstanding blocking, and the idea of the Jets establishing their ground game by utilizing a ton of 11 personnel becomes quite enticing.
The 11-personnel run game can then set up play-action success. If the Jets demand the Broncos’ defenders to respect the run in 11 personnel situations, the upside of play-action will be incredibly high considering there are three wide receivers on the field instead of two.
New York utilized 11 personnel on 74% of its offensive snaps over the first four games, ranging anywhere from 68% to 84% in each of those first four games. That dipped to 57% in Week 5 and then down again to 38% in Week 6.
If the Jets employ a heavy increase in 11 personnel compared to last week, I think we will see Uzomah’s snaps take a steep drop while Berrios, Wilson, and Smith see huge boosts, with Mims making a respectable number of cameos.
If the Jets stick with last week’s heavy-12 personnel usage, then we’ll probably only see a little bit of Smith or Mims while Wilson and Berrios each hover around the 50% mark.
Ultimately, I think the Jets will find somewhat of a middle ground. It seems they believe in the heavy-personnel identity they have been able to establish over the past two weeks with favorable game scripts, but I also think they will recognize the weaknesses in this Denver defense and adjust accordingly by employing more three-receiver sets.
Here’s my snap count prediction for the Jets offense against Denver:
- WR Corey Davis: 85%
- WR Garrett Wilson: 80%
- TE Tyler Conklin: 70%
- RB Breece Hall: 67%
- WR Braxton Berrios: 57%
- TE C.J. Uzomah: 55%
- RB Michael Carter: 48%
- WR Jeff Smith: 28%
- WR Denzel Mims: 10%