It could be worse: Running game edition

The Jets' running game has been woeful at times this year, as the team adjusts to life without Nick Mangold.

Statistically, they're not that bad. They're currently tied for 14th in total rushing yards with this weekend's opponent, the Atlanta Falcons. They're also 12th in yards per carry.

However, those numbers are somewhat skewed by the Jaguars game, where Bilal Powell broke a 75-yard touchdown run and Elijah McGuire broke a 69-yarder. Without those two runs, the Jets would be 26th in rushing yards and 29th in yards per carry. So, while there's a boom/bust element to the running game, they're not doing a very good job of gaining consistent yardage on a play to play basis.

That was true this weekend where the Jets had four runs of over 10 yards but the other 18 carries netted just 30 yards. Even so, this performance represented a step in the right direction.

PFF had some interesting observations in this article:

No team has gained more yards on the ground before first contact using zone concepts than the Jets. They have gained 4.8 yards per carry on the ground, with 2.7 of those coming before first contact, actually more than they have gained after contact.

The almost exclusive use of inside zone plays has been an interesting development over the past few weeks. It seemed like they pared the running game playbook down in an effort to advance from some of the ongoing issues.

A zone blocking scheme might be more suitable for Kelvin Beachum, who is small for a left tackle and also might be more straightforward for the inexperienced Brandon Shell (and maybe Wesley Johnson) to execute. Maybe the Jets will feature more power running if Brent Qvale is in for Shell again on Sunday.

PFF makes note of the Jets' success in terms of the average yards before first contact, which is often used as a shorthand for how well the offensive line has blocked. However, the Jets numbers in this category are again skewed by those two long runs, on which both backs were untouched.

Powell and McGuire are actually among the league leaders in yards before first contact, but if you remove the outlier run from the equation, they're both back down near one yard before contact per carry; similar to Matt Forté - who, of course, doesn't have one of these outlier runs.

However, you slice it, the Jets aren't the worst in league in terms of running the ball, though.

So, let's highlight three teams who perhaps have it worse:

Miami. On the face of it, you'd expect Miami to have one of the best running games in the league. Jay Ajayi is one of the league's best young runners and is again on target for a thousand yard season.

However, the Jets had no problems shutting them down - twice. Over the course of their two meetings this year, Miami gained just 83 total rushing yards on 40 carries against a Jets team that had allowed a lot of yardage in some of their other games.

While there are a couple of teams with fewer rushing yards, Miami is the only team in the NFL without a rushing touchdown yet and also is the only team in the league that hasn't had a run of over 20 yards. They're averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and only the Cardinals have averaged less than that.

Los Angeles Chargers. Statistically, the Chargers find themselves down near the bottom for total yards and yards per carry and they have the second worst cumulative run blocking grade in the league according to PFF.

That effort has been "led" by journeyman right guard Kenny Wiggins, who currently has the worst run blocking grade in the league per PFF.

Things won't get any easier for the Chargers now that former Jet Matt Slauson has been ruled out for the rest of the year. Slauson had the second best run blocking grade on their line last year. The only player who graded out better? Kenny Wiggins.

According to Football Outsiders, the Chargers have been stuffed more often than any other NFL team, apart from the Detroit Lions.

Indianapolis. The Colts are ranked a little higher. They are 20th in the league in rushing yards, although they also have the 12th highest number of carries. These numbers have been bolstered by quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who has scrambled for 129 yards and three touchdowns in his six starts.

If you buy into the theory that yards before contact is a useful indicator of how well a team is blocking for its runners, then Robert Turbin's numbers stand out. He netted just three yards before contact on his 23 carries for a league-worst 0.1 per carry before landing on injured reserve.

The other Colts runners haven't fared much better, with Frank Gore being their leading rusher despite averaging just 0.8 yards before contact.

Adding to their concerns is the fact that this has happened despite Anthony Castonzo grading out as the second best tackle in the NFL for run blocking. It's not like they can ask for more from him - and if he ever got hurt, they'd be in even more strife.

Now, over to you guys for the fun part. See if you can find some examples of bad run blocking from around the league over the past week and share the gifs, tweets or video clips in the comments...