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Stat Pack: Minnesota Vikings
Good morning ☀️
It’s been a while since the AFC East has been so hotly contested between multiple teams, a win for the Jets in Buffalo this Sunday will blow it wide open, as well as make a statement to the rest of the league. It’s one thing beating the favoured Bills in New York, it’s another to do it in their own backyard.
It’s getting to the point in the season where I’m starting to look at the schedule and do some rudimentary playoffs maths, before remembering that I was awful at maths in school and my maths teacher would throw things at me because I wasn’t paying attention.
The Dolphins will be on Sunday Night Football this week, taking on Justin Herbert and the Chargers. While the Patriots will be on Monday Night Football taking on the Cardinals. I’m not sure why the NFL flexed the 4-8 Cardinals to MNF to face the 6-6 Patriots, but there you are.
😁 Coach Saleh was asked yesterday whether there was a possibility that Mike White was the long-term answer at QB, a smile that could light up broadway spread across his face before he answered “One week at a time guys”. Saleh’s never going to answer that in the season, but his expression said it was absolutely a possibility. Saleh handles these press conferences with pure class, and when you have a little QB controversy it’s a balancing act every single day.
⚖️ Saleh did confirm that the QB situation would be status-quo this week with Mike White starting, Joe Flacco backing up and Zach Wilson being inactive.
📢 One comment that Saleh made which raised some questions among the fanbase was in relation to his intent to get Zach Wilson back on the field this year. My read on that is that it’s pure coach talk and intentions can change, just like his intent was to never bench Zach. When asked if White could alter that intention, he refused to answer…which means yes. If White continues to play the way he has, Zach won’t see the field again until OTAs.
👏 Duane Brown took some time to talk about Mike White yesterday saying: “He played great … he made some big-time throws. I thought he kept his poise and the talk in the huddle was always positive. We never lost faith. There was never a moment we thought we were gonna lose that game.” - Poise and calmness in the huddle are becoming a consistent theme, that’s an excellent trait for a QB to have.
Mike White will undoubtedly have a few throws he’d like to have back, but when you reevaluate his performance you’ll see more good than bad. The very slight overthrow to Garrett will probably play on his mind this week, but every QB in the NFL will have throws like that over the course of a season. Here’s a look at his passing chart.
You probably don’t want your QB to throw 57 times, but when you fall 17 points behind that tends to happen. Coach Saleh mentioned that we had 20 passing attempts in the 4th as we tried to play catchup. The game situation dictates a lot of the run/pass balance. I was impressed with White’s ability to push the ball downfield and his throws into tight windows. We have to remember that White has only played 5 games and only completed 4, he’s still seeing a lot of things in live situations for the first time.
Time to Throw: 2.52 seconds
Adjusted Completion %: 61.5%
Turnover Worthy Plays: 1
Receive Drops: 1
There were 20 rushing attempts by the RBs and for me, that’s just not enough. I was also surprised to see Ty Johnson only getting one carry considering he looked explosive last week. One aspect of that is that the Jets were using those check downs to try and get him the ball in space, and while it’s a pass it’s actually always designed to go to the RB as Saleh confirmed in his press conference. Zonovan Knight is certainly playing himself into the conversation for 2023 and beyond and I have to admit to being pretty excited about a potential RB trip of Breece Hall, Bam Knight and Michael Carter.
MTF = Missed tackles forced. YPA = Yards per attempt. YAC = Yards after contact.
Zonovan Knight - 15 attempts, 90 yards, 6.0 YPA, 68 YAC, 4 MTF
James Robinson - 4 attempts, 10 yards, 2.5 YPA, 5 YAC, 0 MTF
Ty Johnson - 1 attempt, 3 yards, 3.0 YPA, 1 YAC, 0 MTF
Elijah Moore - 1 attempt, 10 yards, 10 YPA, 10 YAC, 2 MTF
Following the game against the Bears, Saleh spoke about the Jets leaving meat on the bones in the run game, and I can’t help but think they did exactly the same on Sunday. James Robinson has been disappointing so far, but at the same time, it’s hard to get into a rhythm when you’re only in the game for 10-15% of the snaps.
8 different receivers caught a ball on Sunday and 9 were targeted. Mims was the only receiver who received a target who failed to come down with a ball, but his lone target should have drawn a penalty flag considering the defender got there early which impacted his ability to make a play on the ball. Elijah Moore was targeted 6 times on Sunday and caught 2 of them, although he should have had a third when he failed to toe drag on the sideline, I’m sure that’s a catch he’d expect himself to complete.
In total, the Jets gained 225 yards after the catch, which is exactly what this offence is designed to do, and I know you’re going to get bored of me saying that every week, but the QB getting the ball out on time and to his receivers is absolutely key to yards after the catch potential. One thing I really want to see more going forward is targets for the tight ends in the red zone, recently we’ve entered the red zone and completely ignored two big-bodied targets, who should be feasting down there.
There are a couple of numbers I really like in the receiver stats. Wilson caught 60% (3-5) of his contested catches and Corey Davis came down with 66.7% (2-3). We have the talent at the receiver position, you have to trust them to go up and make a play. We only had one drop on the day which was the Tyler Conklin one that led to the INT, considering we threw the ball 57 times, having one drop isn’t too bad at all.
Overall it was a positive day for the offensive line, George Fant returned to solidify the right side of the line and the Jets ended up allowing just one sack and while 8 pressures are higher than you’d like, it’s not bad either. I do think that the offensive line going forward will be Duane Brown at LT and George Fant at RT with Max playing in case of an emergency. It was always the plan for Mitchell to sit this year and develop in the weight room, and I think that’s what we’ll see the rest of the way.
Duane Brown - 2 pressures, 0 sacks, 98.3 pass-blocking efficiency
Laken Tomlinson - 2 pressures, 0 sacks, 98.3 pass-blocking efficiency
Conor McGovern - 1 pressure, 0 sacks, 99.2 pass-blocking efficiency
Nate Herbig - 0 pressure, 0 sacks, 100.0 pass-blocking efficiency
Max Mitchell - 1 pressure, 1 sack, 94.1 pass-blocking efficiency
George Fant - 2 pressures, 0 sacks, 97.7 pass-blocking efficiency
Here’s the average separation of the Vikings pass-rusher from Mike when he let go of the ball. 75% of them were under the league average, but not one of them was under 4 yards which is largely due to White getting the ball out in 2.52 seconds, a QB who gets rid of the football quickly is a linemen’s best friend.
On the other side of the ball, the Jets managed to generate pressure 19 times on Kirk Cousins, but that translated into just two sacks. Kirk did a great job getting rid of the football, but as I mentioned in my game summary yesterday the Jets pass-rush forced him to release it quicker than the design, which didn’t allow for the route to develop and helped the secondary in dealing with the likes of Justin Jefferson. Here is who generated that pressure:
As you’d expect it was led by our two best players on the defensive line in Quinnen and Lawson, and both got a sack for their efforts. I would like to see Huff given more opportunities which would probably lead to less for JFM, or moving him inside more on obvious passing downs which would lead to fewer opportunities for Sheldon Rankins who also generated 2 pressures. The simple truth is that the Jets have a lot of good linemen and only so many spots available, Jermaine Johnson doesn’t appear on this list as he failed to generate pressure in his 8 pass-rushing snaps, but he remains one of the best run-defenders on the team.
Please ignore the grades on the below chart as they don’t make any sense. Sauce gave up 17 yards all afternoon and he received a grade of 53.5, how on earth that is calculated I have no idea. Overall I would say it was a solid day for the Jets in coverage outside of Joyner who allowed a 100% completion rate into his coverage and 65 yards. Sauce and DJ continue to be among the best (if not the best) cornerback duos in the league, when you go up against Justin Jefferson and only allow 37 yards between you, you’ve done a good job.
It’s also worth noting that Jordan Whitehead had a good game in coverage only allowing one completion for 12 yards. This secondary really is one free safety away from being one of the elite units in the league. Justin Jefferson had 1.98 yards of separation on average, that’s under the 2.93 league average by a considerable margin. That speaks volumes, and while he did get Reed on that one play, sometimes you just need to hold your hands up and say good job.
On one hand it was great that Braden Mann only had to punt twice all game (4.88 hang time which is excellent). On the other hand, Greg Zuerlein had to kick 5 field goals which highlight the issues in the red zone. The good part is that “Greg the Leg” made all five, including one from 60 yards which is a new franchise record for the Jets.
Five different players had 20+ snaps on special teams and that usually highlights that they are your marquee guys on that squad (Hardee, Sherwood, Yeboah, Parks, Huff), but with only two punts they didn’t have to do a huge amount.
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