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What will be the NY Jets’ top personnel package in 2023?

Nathaniel Hackett, NY Jets, OC, Scheme
Nathaniel Hackett, New York Jets, Getty Images

Projecting the New York Jets’ top personnel packages in 2023

The way an NFL team divvies up its usage of different personnel packages is a large part of its offensive identity. Some offenses prefer to keep three-plus wide receivers on the field. Some like to have two tight ends out there. A dwindling number of teams like to utilize the fullback relatively often. And many find a balance between all of these things.

Using Nathaniel Hackett‘s history, we can try and get a feel for how the New York Jets will deploy different personnel packages in 2023.

League averages

Before we dive into Hackett’s history, let’s familiarize ourselves with the 2022 NFL averages in personnel usage. This will help us understand what the typical usage rate is for each package.

For those unfamiliar, personnel packages are named based on the number of running backs and tight ends on the field – in that order. If there is 1 RB and 1 TE, you have 11 personnel. If there is 1 RB and 2 TE, you have 12 personnel. And so on. It should also be noted that fullbacks are counted as running backs.

There are five skill-position players on the field, so to get the number of WRs in a personnel package, you subtract the combined number of RBs and TEs from five. For instance, in 11 personnel, you have 2 combined RBs (1) and TEs (1), leaving 3 WRs.

With that out of the way, here is a look at the league-average personnel distribution in the 2022 regular season, per NFL Next Gen Stats:

  • 11 personnel (1 RB/1 TE/3 WR): 61.0%
  • 12 personnel (1 RB/2 TE/2 WR): 18.4%
  • 21 personnel (2 RB/1 TE/2 WR): 7.8%
  • 13 personnel (1 RB/3 TE/1 WR): 4.2%
  • 22 personnel (2 RB/2 TE/1 WR): 3.2%
  • 10 personnel (1 RB/0 TE/4 WR): 0.6%
  • 20 personnel (2 RB/0 TE/3 WR): 0.4%
  • Packages with 6 OL: 4.5% (*any 6 OL packages are classified separately from other personnel packages)

In the modern pass-happy NFL, 11 personnel has taken over as the base package for nearly every team. It was the most-used package for 31 of the league’s 32 teams in 2022, with Baltimore being the exception. All but five teams used it on more than half of their snaps (BAL, NO, MIA, ATL, SF).

So, in all likelihood, the answer to the question posed in this article’s title (which package will be used the most) is 11 personnel. There isn’t a mystery there. The mystery lies in exactly how much they will use it.

While just about everyone has 11 personnel as their top package, there is still an enormous spectrum in how often teams use it. The Rams led the NFL with a 90.7% usage rate of 11 personnel last season. Atlanta ranked 31st with a 33.8% usage rate of 11 personnel, yet it was still their No. 1 package (Baltimore was a massive outlier at a league-low 12.2%).

Will the Jets be a speed-reliant team that keeps three receivers on the field for most of the game? Or will they lean on heavy personnel packages like 12 and 21 more than most teams?

Let’s look at Hackett’s history with each package. We’ll analyze the personnel usage rates of the 2022 Broncos (head coach), 2019-21 Packers (offensive coordinator), and 2017-18 Jaguars (offensive coordinator). For comparison’s sake, we’ll include the Jets’ 2022 rates.

11 personnel

  • 2022 Broncos: 57.0% (22nd)
  • 2021 Packers: 59.2% (20th)
  • 2020 Packers: 53.9% (21st)
  • 2019 Packers: 60.7% (13th)
  • 2018 Jaguars: 64.2% (13th)
  • 2017 Jaguars: 52.9% (21st)
  • 2022 Jets: 68.2% (10th)
  • 2022 NFL average: 61.0%

With an average usage rate of 58.0% and an average rank of 18.3 over the past six seasons, Hackett’s teams have generally been slightly below average in 11 personnel usage.

At the very least, fans can certainly expect a decline in comparison to last year’s Jets. Hackett’s recent teams never got more than 4% closer to the Jets’ 10th-ranked rate of 68.2% in 2022. On average, Hackett’s teams used 11 personnel about 10% less frequently than the 2022 Jets.

So, if Hackett’s teams have generally used a below-average rate of 11 personnel, that means they were using at least one of the other packages more frequently than average. Which one(s)?

12 personnel

  • 2022 Broncos: 30.9% (1st)
  • 2021 Packers: 30.3% (2nd)
  • 2020 Packers: 23.8% (9th)
  • 2019 Packers: 19.3% (14th)
  • 2018 Jaguars: 12.1% (21st)
  • 2017 Jaguars: 16.2% (19th)
  • 2022 Jets: 22.4% (9th)
  • 2022 NFL average: 18.4%

No offensive mind saw his teams use 12 personnel more frequently over the past two years than Hackett. As the Broncos’ head coach in 2022, Hackett had the Broncos in the No. 1 spot, rising from the No. 2 spot that Green Bay achieved in 2021 under Hackett and head coach Matt LaFleur.

Hackett didn’t use 12 personnel too much during his years in Jacksonville, but his teams have seen an increase in 12 personnel usage in four consecutive seasons dating back to 2019.

The Jets are equipped to keep this going. They are three-deep at tight end, featuring two veteran free agent signings (Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah) in addition to 2022 third-round pick Jeremy Ruckert, who seems poised for a breakout.

New York already ranked top 10 in 12 personnel usage last season. With the arrival of Hackett and the continued development of Ruckert, expect them to climb even higher in 2023.

21 personnel

  • 2022 Broncos: 3.1% (20th)
  • 2021 Packers: 2.2% (22nd)
  • 2020 Packers: 13.7% (5th)
  • 2019 Packers: 12.7% (6th)
  • 2018 Jaguars: 8.0% (12th)
  • 2017 Jaguars: 14.0% (7th)
  • 2022 Jets: 3.5% (18th)
  • 2022 NFL average: 7.5%

21 personnel packages can entail one of two different things: true 2 RB sets and 1 RB/1 FB sets. Fullbacks are technically considered running backs when counting personnel, so any package with 1 RB, 1 FB, and 1 TE is considered 21 personnel. The majority of teams that heavily utilize 21 personnel are leaning on fullback packages; sets with 2 RBs are not all that common.

Some NFL teams never use 21 personnel. In 2022, there were four teams that did not utilize the package a single time (CIN, LAR, TB, WAS).

While the NFL average rate was 7.5% in 2022, that was skewed upward by a few teams at the top that heavily utilized the package, namely Miami (35.1%) and San Francisco (32.1%). The median was actually 4.1%. New York finished just under that mark.

Prior to the last two years, Hackett’s teams tended to use 21 personnel quite often. The numbers dipped over the past two years, but not to extremely low levels. Overall, over the past six years, Hackett’s teams averaged a usage rate of 9.0% and a rank of 10.3.

Similar to 12 personnel, the Jets have the right pieces to maintain Hackett’s history of high 21 personnel usage. They decided to keep a fullback on their initial 53-man roster, Nick Bawden. Throughout the summer, Bawden occasionally received first-team reps and even got a decent chunk of targets from Aaron Rodgers.

To boot, the Jets could experiment with 2 RB sets thanks to their two-headed backfield monster of Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook. During Hackett’s days in Green Bay, the Packers occasionally put Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon on the field together.

13 personnel

  • 2022 Broncos: 8.7% (4th)
  • 2021 Packers: 2.5% (19th)
  • 2020 Packers: 4.7% (9th)
  • 2019 Packers: 2.6% (13th)
  • 2018 Jaguars: 4.0% (10th)
  • 2017 Jaguars: 5.4% (12th)
  • 2022 Jets: 2.6% (20th)
  • 2022 NFL average: 4.2%

As we saw earlier, Hackett’s teams have generally ranked high in 12 personnel usage. Not only that, but they have tended to use a decent amount of 13 personnel, too. Expect to see some 3 TE packages with Conklin, Uzomah, and Ruckert on the field together.

22 personnel

  • 2022 Broncos: 0.0% (27th)
  • 2021 Packers: 0.0% (26th)
  • 2020 Packers: 1.3% (20th)
  • 2019 Packers: 2.5% (15th)
  • 2018 Jaguars: 5.0% (8th)
  • 2017 Jaguars: 8.6% (2nd)
  • 2022 Jets: 1.4% (21st)
  • 2022 NFL average: 3.2%

In recent years, there have been anywhere from two to seven teams each season that never used 22 personnel. And in each of the past two seasons, Hackett’s team was one of them.

Hackett’s teams have gradually declined in 22 personnel usage ever since he had the Jaguars at No. 2 back in their 2017 AFC Championship Game season.

With the makeup of the Jets’ personnel, I could envision a handful of 22 packages mixed in this season. They are relatively light at wide receiver, they have a fullback, and they are deep at both tight end and running back. With all of those things in mind, perhaps Hackett boosts their 22 personnel usage to 1-2%.

6 offensive linemen

  • 2022 Broncos: 0.3% (28th)
  • 2021 Packers: 0.0% (31st)
  • 2020 Packers: 0.8% (22nd)
  • 2019 Packers: 0.9% (25th)
  • 2018 Jaguars: 2.0% (18th)
  • 2017 Jaguars: 2.1% (16th)
  • 2022 Jets: 0.3% (27th)
  • 2022 NFL average: 4.5%

Hackett’s teams have consistently strayed away from 6 OL packages. All signs indicate that will continue in 2023. The Jets never appeared to test out 6 OL packages in training camp (as far as we know) and they didn’t show interest in trying it during the preseason, either.

Other notes

For the most part, Hackett’s teams have hardly ever used 10 personnel or 20 personnel – sometimes never using it in an entire season. However, there are a couple of exceptions.

In 2021, the Packers ranked fourth in 10 personnel usage rate at 5.2%. This stands out as a massive outlier considering Hackett’s teams did not use the package a single time in 2022, 2020, or 2019.

It wasn’t the first time Hackett’s team ranked that high in 10 personnel, though. The 2018 Jaguars were also fourth at 2.9%.

Hackett liked to use unorthodox packages with that 2018 Jaguars team. The same year, he ranked fourth in 20 personnel usage at 1.6%. His teams never used it more than 0.5% of the time in any other season since 2017.

Overall conclusions

In most areas, the personnel usage rates of Hackett’s teams have remained fairly consistent over the years, painting an accurate picture of what to expect from the Jets in 2023.

When you also consider that the Jets’ skill-position unit is built in an ideal way to match the tendencies we’ve seen from Hackett’s previous teams, I think there is a good chance we will see the Jets match those tendencies. Expect to see below-average 11 personnel usage (though it’s still used over half of the time) and above-average usage of heavier personnel packages, particularly 12 personnel.

Seen below are the average usage rates of Hackett’s teams over the past six years, along with the ranking each number would have held among all 32 teams in the 2022 regular season:

  • 11 personnel: 58.0% (21st)
  • 12 personnel: 22.1% (12th)
  • 21 personnel: 8.8% (11th)
  • 13 personnel: 4.7% (14th)
  • 22 personnel: 2.9% (10th)
  • 10 personnel: 1.4% (5th)
  • 6 OL: 1.0% (19th)
  • 20 personnel: 0.5% (5th)

This seems like a reasonable baseline of what to expect in 2023.

The main question is whether the Jets will maintain Hackett’s league-leading 12 personnel usage over the past two years. There’s certainly a chance that could happen, but considering the up-and-down nature of Hackett’s teams in this department over the past six years, the best guess is probably to take the average of all his teams.

11 personnel will certainly be the Jets’ primary package, as it is for most teams. However, they will likely use it slightly less often than most teams, allowing them to use multi-back and multi-TE packages at above-average rates.

Overall, though, I would expect to see a very good balance of the different personnel packages. Save for the recent 12 personnel spikes, Hackett’s teams have generally not shown an extreme favoring or distaste for any particular personnel package, and I think the Jets will continue that this year. While they will rank above average in some areas and below average in others, the differences will probably be too subtle for the average fan to notice without combing through the numbers.

Generally, Hackett’s teams have utilized some of the most well-balanced personnel distribution rates in the NFL. Consider this: over the past six years, Hackett’s lowest 11 personnel rate was 52.9% and his highest was 64.2%. In 2022 alone, 23 of the league’s 32 teams had an 11 personnel usage rate that was either below 52.9% or higher than 64.2%.

This shows you that Hackett’s teams have strictly remained in the middle when it comes to 11 personnel usage. He’s never stooped to the depths of extreme TE-loving teams like Baltimore and Atlanta or climbed to the heights of spread-centric offenses like Cincinnati and the LA Rams.

The Jets should have one of the league’s most balanced offenses in 2023 when it comes to personnel usage.

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