Here are a few ways the New York Jets can use the snaps vacated by Elijah Moore
New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur suddenly has a new task on his hands: figuring out how to replace 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.
I believe the most likely scenario involves Garrett Wilson taking Moore’s role as the starting X receiver and Braxton Berrios filling Wilson’s shoes in the slot.
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%
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I can see this WR line up being successful if they can create separation and block well for the running game. Our QB trusts Wilson so we might see some deeper passes this game (If the O-line can create time) We can mix things up with the 21 Personnel a little more this week. (15% Like you mentioned Mike) So that the offence is not predictable. Even Switching Mims and Wilsons roles for a couple of plays during the game should keep Denver’s defense on its toes. Berrios seems to always put forth a great effort. Mims showed improvement during preseason and will have to put up some good tape if he still wants out of NY so i’m expecting him to bring his ” A ” game as well. I’m really hoping that this new WR lineup clicks and produces.
For sure, I’m a fan of staying around that 15% mark for 21 personnel. Get your best weapons on the field.
It would be poetic justice for Mims to make a play or two tomorrow. If he’s been working hard he’ll be ready.
I don’t see any reason the offense will be affected as long as the guys moving spots know the playback.
Berrios is best used sparingly but whe he had to fill in late last year he acquitted himself very well and I have no qualms about sitting Moore till he gets with the program
Question on Moore, was it lack of targets or how he’s being used? I think there is a difference, he gets plenty of targets overall.
Your plan makes sense but I would say this…you have noted many times how many “go routes” Moore runs, and to me that screams Mims. He’s bigger and every bit as fast as Moore and does have a much bigger catch radius. I am not saying Mims will start but I like the Davis, Wilson, Mims 3 WR set. They can all block, they are all fast, and they all have size which may help vs. these Denver DB’s.
You know I’m not a fan of Smith, the more he plays the more he’s exposed. If he gets an increase in snaps this week I look for his route running or lack of toughness at the catch point to cause at least 1 INT. I wouldn’t change his role at all.
I trust Berrios, as does Zach, plus it seems Braxton has stepped up in the past with an expanded role. I wouldn’t want to live with him as the full time 3rd WR but I like him in this spot.
Lastly, I wouldn’t rule out more of the 2 back set with Hall used as the 3rd WR. I’m not sure he’s a great route runner but I’m sure he can “bubble screen” and get the ball in his hands “in space.”
I agree that I’d like to see some go balls for Mims, but I just don’t think the staff likes him enough to play him any more than just a few snaps. I have a hard time seeing him going from inactive to playing a big role with one player going out.
I also agree on Smith, I don’t think he’s ever shown much of anything, but again I’m just going off what I think they will do. Smith has been playing a little bit each game so with a higher up player going out it seems likely he’ll take some of those snaps.
I get it, I don’t see Mims playing a ton especially since it’s obvious this staff doesn’t trust him, that said, Cager had a big role in a game now he doesn’t dress. I think if they see an advantage they will try to take it. I’m not saying a ton of snaps but I’d say more than might be expected. I know the coaches don’t think this way but I prefer Mims to Smith at WR, It’s possible they may too however Smith is good on Teams so Boyer gets some say in who dresses.
Mims not dressing could be as much a numbers game as it is who they like at WR.
If the jets are going to run the ball out of 11 personnel, I would like to see Mims on the field more for those. I’ve never seen smith as a competent blocker and Mims has been a good run blocker in the past. But you also don’t want to be predictable and only run when MIms is on the field.
If he is going to play more than what I’m projecting for him, this will be why. He can really block when he’s dialed in. But like you said, you don’t want to be predictable and only play him to run-block. On that note, I think he can be used on some go routes from that X spot. That was his best route as a rookie – just going deep down the sideline and snatching jump balls.
It’s a little bit of everything with Moore. First few games there were a lot of wins where he got open but didn’t get the ball. And he was still getting a respectable 40-50 yards a game, so he wasn’t non-existent. (Although their pass volume was so high that those numbers were inflated a bit)
Last two games I really didn’t see him win at all, although he played a much lower snap percentage and the Jets also passed the ball less, so the opportunities were way down, but that applies to everybody. Regardless, he just was not winning his routes as often over the last two weeks.
Overall, I don’t think his role/route diet is perfectly conducive to his skill-set, but he’s not doing much to earn the QB’s trust with how many 50-50 balls he’s failed to come up with this year. Plus I’m sure Zach lost some trust in him due to that interception in Pitt. And, clearly, it seems like he’s not being the best soldier off the field, either.
I think his lack of effort on the field was a problem prior to any of this becoming public. This is just an assumption but I’m sure they let him know they were not happy with his effort especially that INT.
This is so disappointing because he was in the mix for a Jersey haha. He’s out now. Are you allowed to share the site you get your jersey’s from? You said you have a spot on the podcast.
I tend to agree about the likelihood of an effort issue lately with Moore. On his one pass in the GB game, he looks like he eased up before the ball got there probably out of frustration. Moore has been a bit overrated by this fan base from the start and his “me first” behavior this week was very very poor judgment as well as an over-inflated sense of self.