5. The Non-Existent Run Game
Chris Ivory collected two rushing touchdowns against the Jags last Sunday. Quite honestly though, that’s about all he did.
As a matter of fact, Ivory’s numbers the past two games are staggering. He’s run for just 43 yards on a whopping 38 carries.
Did you read that correctly? 43 yards, 38 carries. It’s just an absurd total to think about, especially coming from Ivory, a man who lead the NFL in average yards per game after five weeks of play.
The issues started with Nick Mangold missing time. The captain, the true leader of the offense, Mangold missed the Raiders game due to a neck issue. His replacement, Wesley Johnson, is just not up to snuff as a starting center in the league. Mix in Willie Colon’s injuries and a recipe for disaster strikes the Jets offense where it hurts most.
At the same time, the man who replaced Colon, Brian Winters, excels in the run blocking game. It can easily be argued he’s a much better run blocker than Colon. Also, Mangold started last Sunday. He didn’t leave the game until just before halftime.
Far too often Chan Gailey is calling first down runs. The defense – which usually loads the box on the Jets as it is – goes hog wild in the box on first down. Gailey, for better or worse, stays far too committed to the run early in games. This hurts the Jets to the tune of ranking 27th in the league in average yards per first down (5.57), via Sporting Charts.
Gailey and the Jets have made most of their offensive strides after halftime. The offense usually adjusts to the loaded box and allows Fitzpatrick to open up the run game through the air.
Chan Gailey must start taking what the defense gives him early on. If this means passing against eight man boxes at a 2-1 ratio in the first half, then so be it. The run-pass balance will even itself out in the long haul.