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NY Jets fans should be excited about Joe Tippmann’s numbers

Joe Tippmann, NY Jets, Stats, Rookie
Joe Tippmann, New York Jets, Getty Images

Joe Tippmann set himself up for a bright future with good rookie-year stats

New York Jets fans have seen the absolute best and the absolute worst that the center position has to offer.

For nearly two decades, Jets fans enjoyed the dominance of Kevin Mawae (1998-2005) and Nick Mangold (2006-2016) with no break in between, as Mawae passed the torch directly to Mangold. The two superstars combined for 13 Pro Bowl appearances and nine All-Pro appearances across 19 seasons from 1998 to 2016. Over that span, either Mawae or Mangold started at center in 284 of the Jets’ 304 games (93%).

Since Mangold retired following the 2016 season, New York has cycled through a multitude of poor-to-mediocre players at the center position. In fact, the Jets have suffered from arguably the worst center play in the NFL since Mangold called it a career.

From 2017 to 2023, the Jets’ centers allowed 215 total pressures, the third-most of any team’s center position over that span. They also tied for the lead with 47 penalties.

If Joe Tippmann‘s rookie year is any indication, the days of longing for another franchise center may be over. New York’s second-round pick put together a promising debut campaign, somehow managing to shine amidst a raging storm of injuries and ineptitude in the trenches.

Pass-blocking

Tippmann made his first four appearances of the season at right guard before moving to center in Week 9. He started the Jets’ final 10 games of the season at center.

Tippmann set a high floor for himself with his solid rookie-year performance in the passing game. Over his 10 games at center, Tippmann was credited by PFF with allowing 15 total pressures on 449 pass-blocking snaps, giving him an allowed pressure rate of 3.3%. This rate ranked 13th-best among 31 qualified centers from Weeks 9-18. For perspective, the 2023 league average for centers was 3.9%.

This is not to say Tippmann is already a guaranteed star or that he does not have plenty of room to improve. But for a first-year player, being an above-average pass-blocker is quite impressive – doubly so when you do it in a situation as messy as the Jets’ offensive line.

Even if Tippmann never takes another step forward, he’s already established that he is at least capable of being an average pass protector, which is a high floor. Most likely, though, the athletic second-rounder will steadily improve as the years go on, putting his ceiling at a sky-high level considering where he is already situated in the center hierarchy at 22 years old.

Run-blocking

Over his 10 starts at center, Tippmann earned a 63.7 run-blocking grade at PFF, which ranked 18th out of 32 qualifiers. Tippmann was steadily improving over the latter half of his stint at center. From Weeks 14-18, Tippmann jumped to 11th out of 32 qualifiers with a 71.9 run-blocking grade.

Tippmann showed many flashes as a run-blocker throughout the season, although it was often difficult to notice because of the struggles around him. There were instances where Tippmann made a great block but the runner was still stuffed, such as these plays below.

In the rare cases where the Jets did manage to forge a successful run, Tippmann was often an instrumental cog in making it happen.

Where to improve

Aside from making the necessary improvements to leap from “solid” to “great” as a pass protector and run blocker, there are a couple of other specific areas where Tippmann has work to do.

Tippmann needs to clean up the penalties. He had seven penalties at center, which led the position from Weeks 9-18. This included four holding penalties, three false starts, and one ineligible downfield.

For perspective, the 2023 league average for centers was 5.2 penalties per 1,000 snaps. Tippmann had seven penalties in 653 snaps, giving him a rate of 10.7 penalties per 1,000 snaps – more than double the positional average. There is a significant amount of improvement needed in this area.

The second area where Tippmann must improve is his snap accuracy. Tippmann struggled with inaccurate snaps in the preseason. While he was slightly less erratic in the regular season, he was still less consistent than most starting centers, and it led to some big mistakes. Most notably, this high snap against Washington caused a turnover.

Overall, Tippmann set himself up very nicely for the future with his rookie-year performance. He could’ve easily gone down with the ship and had a rough season, which would’ve been excusable given his inexperience and the difficulty of the situation. Instead, he overcame the adversity and showed high-level potential within an otherwise disjointed unit.

If Tippmann could put up average-ish numbers for a starting center as a 22-year-old rookie in that situation, the sky is the limit going forward.

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Psi
Psi
4 months ago

The Jets run of good to great centers for an unbroken period of time stretched back before Mawae and Mangold. Before them they had roughly a 10 -12 year run with Joe Fields and Jim Sweeney. It was a remarkable roughly 20-30 year run of really good centers in a row. Probably the best run of positional dominance of any position for the organization. The window post Mangold until now looks like it will turn out to be a brief interlude of mediocrity as Tippmann does look poised to reestablish at least above average center play. All told however Mawae was the best.

Jets71
Jets71
4 months ago

I think he grows into the Center role and like you say I’m excited. Another good pick by Joe Douglas.

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