The Jets and their terrible pass rush numbers have been the subject of much attention over the past few weeks. While they were on a winning streak, it didn't seem to matter as much, but now they've lost one, the piranhas have been let loose and Todd Bowles was left flustered as he tried to explain away some disappointing numbers.
ESPN highlighted one of the most eye-catching numbers when they wrote about how the Jets' defensive linemen have combined for 602 pass rush attempted but with zero sacks and just eight pass disruptions (basically batted passes). Kony Ealy has seven of those eight and he's arguably not even a defensive linemen because even when his hand is in the dirt he's often in a rush linebacker role.
You'd be forgiven for thinking the Jets are the worst pass rushing team of all time, but actually...
Per PFF, Jets are 24th in NFL in combined QB hits and hurries (74), 10th in hits (20), and 28th in hurries (54). https://t.co/EXrjSiuj9r— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) October 18, 2017
They're averaging 12.33 hits/pressures per game. That's a drop-off from last year, but not as big as you might think because they only averaged 13.75 in 2016. The bigger difference is in the percentage of that pressure that has come from the line which has dropped from 58% to 47%. However, that also means that pressure from elsewhere has actually gone up.
Of course the bigger concern is the lack of sacks. They had the same number of sacks in last year's season opener (even with Sheldon Richardson suspended) as they've managed in the whole season so far. Then again, the sacks dried up after that first game last year too, as they only had multiple sacks in two of the next seven games.
We've established there are eight teams with fewer pressures and hits than the Jets, who are actually in the top 10 in quarterback hits, even though they're not coming from the defensive line.
So, let's highlight three teams who perhaps have it worse:
Tampa Bay. The Bucs are currently the only team in the NFL with fewer sacks than the Jets. They have just six, albeit that they've played one fewer game due to the opener being rearranged.
The Bucs are an interesting team to compare to the Jets because they create the majority of their pressure on the defensive line (86%). Gerarld McCoy is their best lineman and he creates interior pressure in the way the Jets used to rely on their linemen to do.
Their best edge defender is probably Robert Ayers who is a decent pass rusher, but not elite. He had 9.5 sacks with the Giants in 2015, but otherwise has mostly been good for about five or six per season.
Maybe this approach has cost the Bucs in terms of overall pressure and that thinking might have played into the Jets operating a more varied approach to creating pressure.
New York Giants. In PFF's pass rushing ratings, the Jets were actually lower down in the rankings last year. They ended up 31st, just ahead of the Colts. However, they currently sit 29th.
Those rankings would take into account more than just how much pressure and sacks have been generated, as they would also take into account how many pass rush attempts each player has had, while also factoring in things like roughing the passer penalties.
One of the teams below them, surprisingly, is the Giants. What's interesting about them is that Mike Maccagnan reportedly tried to sign Olivier Vernon for about $18 million per year before opting to instead re-sign Muhammad Wilkerson in the 2016 offseason.
Vernon was a big part of the Giants' success last year but has been a disappointment so far this season. He does have two sacks, but just 13 tackles and is only averaging a couple of pressures a game for the 1-5 Giants, as he's been banged up.
Jason Pierre-Paul is having a decent season, but the Giants don't have many other players contributing much to the pass rush without Vernon producing and that's a big reason their defense struggled over the first month or so.
Of course, hindsight is leading many people to conclude that the Wilkerson deal was a mistake. However, would getting Vernon instead have proved a significantly better long-term investment or would we now be talking about potential restructures down the road with him too?
Chicago. The Bears have 16 sacks and the Jets just seven, but this is a good example of how sacks aren't everything. The Jets have 18 more pressures/hits than the Bears do so far this season.
They're pinning their hopes on Leonard Floyd to take things to the next level and he does have three sacks, but generally speaking he doesn't create a lot of pressure at this stage of his career. Instead, interior lineman Akiem Hicks has been generating the most pressure
Chicago is now 2-4 after a win over the struggling Ravens last week, but their pass rush needs to produce more for them to stay in touch in that very open NFC North division.
Of course, the Jets are now in last place too, although as Wilkerson has said, sacks tend to come in bunches, so maybe they're due to start racking some up themselves.
Now, over to you guys for the fun part. See if you can find some examples of bad pass rushing from around the league over the past week and share the gifs, tweets or video clips in the comments...