We already know there are so many horribly depressing reasons for an oncoming fantasy chemical spill in New York, and its point of origination will be the Jets’ locker room.
We know this because the guy they choose as a starting quarterback will be inadequate, because that’s an appropriate adjective to describe every available option. We know this because Santonio Holmes spreads a strong odor of disappointment. And we know this because Rex Ryan.
But if there’s even a sliver of sunshine amidst the acid rain for some sort of value in even a flex role, it lies in a running game that’s been revamped this offseason with the additions of Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory. The problem, though, is that unless a team employs a guy named Adrian Peterson, the passing game has to be remotely competent to achieve that value.
And for the Jets, that could continue to be a serious and crippling problem. Sigh.
Just two days ago I was brave enough to sift through the Jets’ looming and likely continued fantasy mess, with Goodson and Ivory the lone sources of optimism. Both bring slashing edge speed (Goodson averaged 6.3 yards per carry last year, while Ivory moved along at 5.4), and the combined abuse they’ve taken in recent years is minimal, as they’re both coming from platoon situations. That’s swell, and at the very least it provides late-round flier opportunities with either.
Or so I thought until I saw some numbers from Pro Football Focus which led to tears.
Remember that bit about the passing game supporting the running game? Yeah, that didn’t happen too much last year with the Jets, as with a deep passing threat seldom a thing that existed, defenses had little reason to worry about sailing lobs. That led to a whole lot of eight men in the box.
The esteemed number crunchers at PFF tell us exactly how often Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell ran against eight-man fronts in 2012, and it ain’t pretty.
Powell and Greene received a combined 386 carries this past season, and 144 of them came with eight or more men in the box. That’s 37.3 percent of their carries, putting the Jets’ two primary running backs last season in third behind only Frank Gore (who faced eight-man fronts on 42.25 percent of his carries) and Peterson (39.1).
Santonio Holmes missed almost the entire season in 2012, while Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill also missed significant time. So there are legitimate reasons to hope the combined eight-man fronts faced by Greene and Powell last year will decrease for Ivory and Goodson.
Cling to that if you wish. Or just stay the hell away from Ivory and Goodson, making them early waiver darlings at best.