Don’t look now, but New York Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has actually caught on, implementing the NFL’s hot jet sweep principle.
New York Jets fans who witnessed their team’s latest disappointing loss did so with mouths wide open and jaws dragging across the floor. Even more shocking is the reason behind such natural drooling due to facial expressions.
No, there was very little pain in watching the Jets lose. Sure, a win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the final home game would have been a nice way to finish the home season. No, it wasn’t due to the idea Sam Darnold is flourishing before our very eyes (although that’s absolutely a ready to find yourself giddy all by yourself in your underwear on a chilly Sunday afternoon in the Northeast.
The mind-boggling reason jaws dragged across the floor in Week 16 was due to Jeremy Bates’s unforeseen yet promising playcalling.
For 15 weeks, the Jets offense showcased as stale as a month-long opened-package of Ritz Crackers. He carried around the old-school, out-of-date Bill Walsh-west coast mindset that plagued the offensive personnel at every turn.
From empty sets to carrying the 1980s Todd Bowles philosophy of force-feeding the rush on early downs, young Darnold not only had to battle the opponent and natural growth, but his own system as well.
On Sunday, against Green Bay, Bates actually sprinkled in the concept that’s earning five stars across the NFL: the jet sweep.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is the man who really pushed it to professional football in 2018. Striking in Week 1, the deadly triangle of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt used the principle to stun the opponent. They continued on with the concept to this very day with great success.
Bates joining the party has meant more success for Darnold.
It was obvious that Bates was committed. On the second offensive play of the game, he cooked up his first pure jet-sweep concept of the season.
Robby Anderson showcases two rushing attempts this season. Both, however, have come from the classic over-the-top end-around situation. When comparing the Jets offense to that of the Chiefs two weeks ago, the results are overwhelming:
Jets Jet-Sweep Examples Against Packers
As previously mentioned, Bates called a jet-sweep play on the second play of the game. In a pro-personnel, dual halfback set, Trenton Cannon played the role of the jet-sweep man. Starting from the short-side wing, his RIP motion led to second-level chaos by way of Green Bay’s defense.
This served up plenty of cutback space for Elijah McGuire in between the tackles:
The two important defenders to take note of are edge man Clay Matthews and strong safety Josh Jones.
Matthews, whose responsibility is the wide-side edge, simply cannot take the chance of bypassing the Cannon action. His job is to make sure nobody gets outside. At the very least, he must string out Cannon should he get the ball.
The same can be said for Jones. As the defensive back edge run-support man, he’s the second edge after Matthews. It’s not clear whether Jones was tasked with a blitz on the play or not. In any event, both he and Matthews can’t halfway it.
This results in incredible cutback space for McGuire after taking on the A-gap.
In the next example, McGuire waltzes in for the Jets first touchdown of the game:
Again, it’s the jet-sweep concept with Cannon as the motion man. This time, however, it’s more of a true jet-sweep as he comes from the wideout spot.
Both Blake Martinez and Jones are completely abused on the design. In Jones’s case, it’s understandable. In Martinez’s case, it’s a brutal misstep. He’s the middle backer and must be on point from sideline-to-sideline.
It's A Familiar NFL Story
The jet-sweep concept is nothing new to football. Spread offenses in college have been using the play for decades.
It is rather new to the NFL. At the same time, this story isn’t.
Remember the Wildcat? When the Miami Dolphins shocked the New England Patriots with an offense that took away the quarterback—somebody who’s a useless player in the run game who never blocks—they stunned a Bill Belichick squad.
A year or two later after NFL defenses figured out a way to defend it, the rise of the read-option came to fruition. Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III made an early-career living with NFL offenses designed around the very idea.
Of course, defenses caught up.
Now, it’s the jet sweep, and, undoubtedly, defenses will, eventually, catch up.
But they haven’t come close yet and due to that idea, every NFL offense should sprinkle in some form of the concept. It’s not like the read-option—a scheme that requires a mobile quarterback. The jet sweep can be run by any offense due to the fact there’s a weapon on every team that fits the mold.
In the Jets case, it’s Trenton Cannon.
It’s probably too little, too late for both Jeremy Bates and Todd Bowles. Sam Darnold’s improved play mixed with relinquishing the stubbornness of force-feeding the run and not adapting to modern principles won’t save the two coaches. At least it shouldn’t.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if Jeremy Bates continues with the concept in Week 17 when Sam Darnold and the New York Jets take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.