Home | Articles | Analytics | NY Jets’ two new RBs can fill another sorely needed hole

NY Jets’ two new RBs can fill another sorely needed hole

Braelon Allen, New York Jets
Braelon Allen, New York Jets, Getty Images

The two running backs the New York Jets drafted both succeeded in an important area

One of the New York Jets’ puzzling decisions in the NFL draft was adding two running backs. The move signified a clear move toward a power scheme and possibly the end of Izzy Abanikanda’s short tenure with the Jets. Still, it certainly raised some eyebrows.

Michael Nania pinpointed one critical skill in which Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis excelled in college: generating yards after contact. After dealing with backup running backs who went down at first contact, the Jets acquired two bruising backs who are hard to tackle.

Looking deeper into the numbers, there is another skill in which Allen and Davis succeeded after the Jets’ failures in 2023. Both backs had strong track records in short-yardage situations, unlike the Jets’ backs — specifically Breece Hall.

Short-yardage success

In 2023, Jets running backs went 9-for-17 (52.9%) on third and fourth down with two or fewer yards to go. They ranked 30th in the NFL in that category, ahead of only the Chargers and Texans. Individually, among 31 backs with at least 10 short-yardage attempts, Hall ranked 28th in success rate (7-for-13, 53.8%), 29th in first downs over expected (-3), and 27th in EPA per rush attempt (-0.23).

Meanwhile, Allen and Davis were far more successful in that area, even relative to college football running backs. Among 153 CFB backs with at least 10 short-yardage attempts, Allen ranked in the 58th percentile at 75% (12-for-16), while Davis was in the 63rd percentile (11-for-14).

Allen and Davis did not face nearly the adverse conditions that Hall did in short-yardage situations. Still, as bruising backs who break tackles, they bring a better profile for success in these scenarios than the more finesse-driven Hall. In particular, Davis’ consistent vision makes him a better fit to push forward for the first down. Hall’s -3 first downs over expected indicate that he may have left some meat on the bone in that area, even with the Jets’ atrocious blocking (last ESPN’s run-block win rate metric in 2023). He also posted negative rush yards over expected on 9 of his 13 attempts, even if he did get the first down.

You can see on some of these plays that had Hall hit the ground running at full speed rather than trying to finesse his way toward yardage, he likely would have gotten the first down.

There was some merit to Robert Saleh’s criticism of Hall for that exact tendency, to dance until a hole opens rather than trying to run straight downhill and gain whatever yards are available. The power scheme should help Hall with that, but nonetheless, he’s shown a tendency to leave yards on the field in these situations.

If Allen and Davis can carry over their college success in this area, it will be just one of many more improvements for the Jets’ offense. Short yardage does not seem to be Hall’s forte, but he won’t need to carry the load alone.

Want More Jet X?

Subscribe to become a Jet X Member to unlock every piece of Jets X-Factor content (film breakdowns, analytics, Sabo with the Jets, etc.), get audio versions of each article, receive the ability to comment within our community, and experience an ad-free platform experience.

Download the free Jet X Mobile App to get customizable notifications directly to your iOS (App Store) or Android (Google Play) device.

Sign up for Jet X Daily, our daily newsletter that's delivered to your inbox every morning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Add Jets X-Factor to your Google News feed and/or find us on Apple News to stay updated with the New York Jets.

Follow us on X (Formerly Twitter) @jetsxfactor for all the latest New York Jets news, Facebook for even more, Instagram for some of the top NY Jets images, and YouTube for original Jets X-Factor videos.

Related Articles

About the Author

More From Author


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments