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Did Carter Warren prove he’s a capable backup for NY Jets?

Carter Warren
Carter Warren

Do the New York Jets have their swing tackle for 2024?

Did the New York Jets finally find an offensive line piece in the middle rounds?

The Jets’ line was a sieve for the entire 2023 season. They allowed 64 sacks, amazingly tied for 28th among NFL teams (showcasing how poor the pass-blocking was across the league). They started 13 different offensive line combinations. The team’s 28.3% rush success rate ranked 31st in the NFL, largely on the back of a line that could not open holes.

Still, many Jets fans were pleasantly surprised by the performance of Carter Warren. The fourth-round developmental rookie was thrust into the lineup due to the many injuries along the line. In total, he appeared in six games at tackle, starting one on the left side and four on the right. To the naked eye, he seemed to hold up fairly well, at least compared to Max Mitchell and Billy Turner.

Let’s take a closer look at his season, though. Was Warren really more impressive than expected? Is it reasonable to go into the 2024 season expecting him to be a legitimate starting backup in the NFL?

Pass-blocking

Even relative to his position, Warren’s pass-blocking numbers were poor. Per Pro Football Focus, out of 92 tackles with at least 150 pass-blocking snaps, he tied for 63rd with a 7.8% pressure rate. That number is the same as Mekhi Becton’s but better than Alijah Vera-Tucker‘s (8.5%), Mitchell’s (8.9%), and Turner’s (10.6%).

From that vantage point, Warren was successful — he was either the same as or better than every other player who lined up at tackle consistently for the Jets. (Duane Brown had a 13.2% pressure rate on 68 pass-blocking snaps.)

Additionally, Warren allowed the quarterback to be impacted at roughly the same rate as the Jets’ other tackles. He allowed five sacks and two quarterback hits out of his 20 pressures, a 35% impactful pressure rate that ranked 62nd. The Jets’ other tackles were clustered around there — Mitchell at 33.3%, Turner at 37.5%, and Becton at 40%. (Vera-Tucker was at 21.4%; that is generally one of his strengths.) The league average for tackles was 29.7%. Warren didn’t do a great job keeping his quarterback upright.

True pass sets

When Warren was forced to go head-to-head with edge rushers without the benefit of a quick release or a screen, he struggled mightily. In true pass sets, defined as a pass play with at least four pass rushers, a release time between two and four seconds, and no screen or play action, Warren tied for 73rd out of 92 tackles with a 13.9% pressure rate.

Warren was simply fortunate to face fewer true pass sets than the rest of the Jets tackles. The league average for true pass set frequency among those 92 qualified tackles was 46% of all pass-blocking snaps. Every other Jets tackle besides Warren was above 49%, but Warren was at just 44.6%.

When adjusting pressure rate for a league-average rate of true pass sets, Warren’s 7.9% rate was worse than Becton’s (7.5%) and Vera-Tucker’s (7.8%), though it was still better than Mitchell’s (8.6%) and Turner’s (9.4%).

Run-blocking

Warren was even worse as a run-blocker, which was considered his biggest weakness coming out of college. His 49.9 PFF run-blocking grade tied for 71st out of 82 tackles with at least 125 run-blocking snaps. His grade was significantly better as a zone-blocker (63.5) than as a gap-blocker (35.1). Considering that 32.9% of his run blocks were in a gap scheme, though, that totaled some poor run-blocking.

Penalties

Warren was called for two penalties on 401 blocking snaps, an average of 5.0 penalties per 1,000 snaps. That ranked 34th out of 91 tackles with at least 230 block snaps; the average was 7.2. That was better than his college average (5.85).

Warren’s penalty rate was far better than Becton’s (18.3) but not as good as Mitchell’s (2.1), Vera-Tucker’s (4.1), or Turner’s (4.8).

Backup

If Warren had qualified among starting tackles, these would be his percentile ranks.

  • Pressure rate: 25th
  • True pass set pressure rate: 12th
  • Adjusted pressure rate: 25th
  • Impactful pressure rate: 26th
  • Run-blocking grade: 9th
  • Zone-blocking grade: 40th
  • Gap-blocking grade: 1st
  • Snaps per penalty: 66th

In other words, Warren was a poor pass-blocker and a putrid run-blocker compared to starters. Generally, an ideal backup tackle could be a starter on a bad team, but that was not the case with Warren.

The best way to contextualize Warren’s performance is to compare it to other backup tackles who played roughly the same number of snaps. 25 tackles did not begin the season as starters on their team’s depth charts and wound up with at least 150 pass-blocking snaps.

Among those tackles, Warren ranked 12th in pressure rate, 14th in true pass set pressure rate, 13th in adjusted pressure rate, and 13th in impactful pressure rate. In other words, he was roughly average as a pass-blocker among backups who played significant snaps.

Among 27 non-starter tackles with at least 100 run-blocking snaps, Warren ranked 19th in run-blocking grade, 11th in zone-blocking grade, and 26th in run-blocking grade. Warren was an above-average zone-blocker but one of the worst gap-blockers among backups, leading to a below-average run-blocking grade.

Overall, these numbers would suggest that Warren is a viable backup — if he’s going to play the role he did this past season. With more snaps, he’d already fall into the category of a starter, in which case his numbers are unacceptable.

Film

Warren simply never seemed to be balanced and in control when he was pass-blocking. Defenders consistently got around him, whether or not they reached the quarterback before the ball was released. He coupled that with poor awareness, playing too high, and punching inaccurately.

Warren wears No. 67.

By contrast, I don’t think Warren looked quite as bad in the run game as his PFF grade would indicate. He certainly wasn’t good and his technique was poor, but he was not the primary reason that the Jets’ run-blocking was so inept. Warren struggled to get his hands on defenders in space and had his face crossed way too often; still, he also managed to get in the way enough to create some space for Breece Hall. He had some solid combo blocks and occasionally made a good block on the second level. That’s more than Mitchell can say.

Make no mistake: Warren was not good or even okay in the run game. He simply was not the worst backup tackle in the league as a run-blocker.

Swing tackle?

Even if the Jets did not have a two-year track record of massive offensive line issues, it would be a crucial error for them to trust Warren as their swing tackle heading into 2024. Given that history, it would be a repeat of Douglas’ 2023 mistakes. The Jets must sign a legitimate swing tackle in addition to two starting tackles.

Can Warren be their fourth tackle, though? He’s not ideal, but I don’t know if the Jets can find anyone better for a price they can afford. The likes of Larry Borom (Bears), James Hudson (Browns), Tyre Phillips (Giants), and Stone Forsythe (Seahawks) were among the backups who were statistically worse than Warren either as a run-blocker or pass-blocker (or both), and all of them played a high number of snaps for their teams. The Jets made mincemeat of the Eagles’ Jack Driscoll when he came into the game due to Lane Johnson’s injury.

Competent starting offensive line play is difficult to find in the NFL. There’s a reason that the average pressure rate for starting tackles rose from 5.5% in 2022 to 6.2% in 2023; blocking was significantly worse across the league. Still, with a quarterback entering his age-41 season and back-to-back years of crippling offensive line play, the Jets must invest in three tackles ahead of Warren on the depth chart.

If Warren would be the fourth tackle, especially if they sign a guard like James Hurst with significant tackle experience, the Jets can trust that they’ve done what’s necessary to improve their line. They can let Warren and Mitchell battle it out for the final spot, giving Warren a slight edge simply because he has one less year of bad tape.

Still, saying that Warren was good in 2023 is an extreme stretch. Like Mitchell in 2022, he may not have been a complete train wreck, but that does not make him competent. Warren has a lot of work to do before he can be anything more than the final tackle on a team strapped for cap space.

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Robert Papalia
Robert Papalia
4 months ago

Woody sell the team. The only hope.

Jets71
Jets71
4 months ago

I think it’s also important to note he was a rookie coming off an injury so it’s not as though he got a lot of prep time. I do agree, his play wasn’t as good as some fans thought based on the fact he’s being compared to some of the horrid performances by other Jets. It reminds me of Bryce Hall. He was always considered a better player than he was based on the fact he wasn’t a total disaster.

All of that being said, I think Warren has an opportunity to improve. His college production was good, and he’s an older player with experience. I wouldn’t trust him as the only backup OT but he could be productive enough to play in a pinch. The real problems come when guys get hurt for the entire season. That’s the biggest problem with the Jets’ injuries of late, it’s: Rogers…out for the year, AVT…out for the year…etc. Yes, injuries happen but how about for a game or two haha.

You mentioned a good back up would be a starter on a bad team, and that would be great but the OL play around the league is so bad those guys are hard to find. A handful of teams have that luxury. Not to mention, unfortunately the Jets OL injuries go back more than 2 years, so we are a bit scarred.

DFargas
DFargas
4 months ago
Reply to  Jets71

Your first point is exactly what I was thinking. Warren was a rookie thrown in very cold. Just the fact that he could hold his own without immediately being replaced by Mitchell or someone else actually struck me as impressive under the circumstances. So, this analysis would be much more meaningful if Warren was compared to other rookies, not the rest of the league. For example, let us not forget that Andrew Thomas of the Giants performed poorly in his rookie year (from what I’ve heard anyway) and now is an all-pro. Also, I wouldn’t let this flawed analysis be a guide to what Douglas and the coaches are thinking. Saleh seemed to like Warren, he made some positive comments about his footwork, and, again, he didn’t replace him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Warren is in the mix for right tackle.

pat brady
pat brady
4 months ago

At some point, you have to look at the OL coaching. I remember when we had guys come in without great track records and they’d play fairly well. It hasn’t seemed that we’ve seen that in a long time. The OL coach seems to be universally hated by guys who have played for him, which might be tolerated if he was getting them to play well.

Jets71
Jets71
4 months ago
Reply to  pat brady

Yes, Bill Callahan is as good a OL coach there is, and it’s clear by his track record. The Jets haven’t had a decent OL coach since he left.

verge tibbs
verge tibbs
4 months ago
Reply to  pat brady

Yeah, imo they need to look at teams who have OL that had players have better years than previously and try to get that coach or one of his assistants. Like how the giants nabbed the raiders OL coach a few weeks ago. I dont know what other teams had collectively over performing OL units though. Maybe poach OL assistants or run game coordinators or whatever from somewhere like baltimore, kc, cleveland, etc ?? I dont know man but this jets OL coach certainly doesnt seem to be getting great production from his players

Jets71
Jets71
4 months ago
Reply to  verge tibbs

The ironic thing is, if you look at Tenn, and Carter they had a great run game. Sure some players didn’t like him but isn’t that the case on most teams? However, that it keeps coming up with Carter is a concern. Maybe he can bring something out of a better group. I’m hoping because he’s here.

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