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Why the Awful Offensive Line?


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Please pardon if this has been covered:

Do you think the Jets' awful offensive line is strictly a personnel issue, or is it coaching? Or is it more like 60/40 personnel v coaching ... or what ratio?

My impression entering week 1: o-line was a concern & would demonstrate as much occasionally ... BUT: as a veteran unit would hold up enough for the Jets to score around 20 points per game. My general tendency is to blame coaching first. Which I know isn't a hard & fast rule. My thing is: we've all seen decimated o-lines do just enough for an offense to function. If not at a consistently high-scoring level. That's down to good surrounding talent and good coaching.

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The most troubling part of Jets’ offensive line issues

September 24, 2019 | 5:10pm

 
 

Jets offensive line coach Frank Pollack looks like he has not been sleeping much lately. Besides head coach Adam Gase, there may not be a coach with more pressure on him than Pollack after the Jets’ 0-3 start.

Pollack’s offensive line has struggled mightily in the first three games and, unlike some other areas on the Jets, is not going to be bolstered by players returning from injury.

Pollack just has to figure this out and get his players to play better. He believes he can do it.

“Absolutely,” Pollack said. “That’s my job to get it fixed.”

While the Jets players have the rest of the bye week off, the coaches will be doing self-scouting and studying the film to try to fix what ails this team. Pollack has seen his group allow 13 sacks and fail to open holes for a rushing game that is averaging 3.0 yards per carry.

“I would have liked to have it fixed three weeks ago,” Pollack said. “I don’t have a crystal ball but we’re grinding our asses off to have it fixed yesterday.”

The Jets could look at making lineup changes, but the backups may not be any better than the current starters. Changing players would also affect the chemistry the group is trying to develop. Communication has been a major issue for the line. Changing players may make that worse.

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“We’re considering anything and everything,” Pollack said. “We owe it to ourselves and this team and our group to look at everything that we can do differently to get the better results that we want.”

The line was hurt by getting very little work together in training camp. The starting five did not play one snap together in the preseason.

Center Ryan Kalil signed a week into training camp after he decided to end a brief retirement. He has been working to get back into form and has had his share of issues in the first three weeks. Pollack was not pointing the finger at him, though.

“Kalil’s a pro,” Pollack said. “He’s preparing the right way and doing great things. All of us as a unit have to get better. We’re the ultimate group in all of sports that’s judged as one unit and not individuals. We need to play like that, communicate like that and get better in those areas.”

The line could be helped by the expected return of starting quarterback Sam Darnold. The line has played with three different quarterbacks in three weeks. Luke Falk appeared to struggle with some protection calls in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. Pollack dismissed the idea that the revolving door at quarterback has affected his group, but it sounded like he was just trying not to sound like he was criticizing the backup quarterbacks.

“That doesn’t affect us at all,” Pollack said. “The same five guys have got to keep working together and get better. It doesn’t matter who is behind us at quarterback. It doesn’t matter who is running the ball. None of that matters. It’s on us as a group. It’s on me as the coach, No. 1, to get us on the same page and play better.”

This is a huge week for Pollack to try to figure out how to get the offensive line moving in the right direction. The Jets are 32nd in total offense in the NFL and the line struggles have played a huge role. Le’Veon Bell keeps getting hit in the backfield and the quarterback has no time to throw downfield.

 

“Whatever the reason is, we’ve got to get it fixed and resolved. I’m looking forward,” Pollack said. “We’ve got to get it fixed. We’ve got to get better, use the bye to analyze where we can do things maybe a little differently, how we prepare, how I coach them moving forward and get it fixed.”

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Just now, JiF said:

This team has multiple players that have starting experience in the NFL that play on the OL.  None of them, have been this bad in their entire career.

Kalil and Osemele are former All Pros.

Beachum, Winters, Shell, Compton, Davis, Harrison - have roughly 250 starts in the NFL between the group.

Suddenly, all of these guys are the worst offensive lineman in all of Football.

I wonder what's different? 

I have concerns over the scheme and coaching compounding with the line being pretty old and regressing. Most of the offensive coaching has seemed like it’s not flexible and they are going full in on forcing the system on players regardless of outcome.

If you are going to be inflexible and do that, then you need to build the team from the ground up. This is also why Gase was probably against signing Bell. Gase seems like a rigid system guy which makes the situation very boom or bust. Right now we are seeing the bust end since he doesn’t have “his guys”.

I’m not making excuses for him and I don’t agree with being inflexible and not trying to work with your players’ skill sets. It’s just interesting and seems to be what’s happening. 

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4 minutes ago, JiF said:

This team has multiple players that have starting experience in the NFL that play on the OL.  None of them, have been this bad in their entire career.

Kalil and Osemele are former All Pros.

Beachum, Winters, Shell, Compton, Lewis, Harrison - have roughly 250 starts in the NFL between the group.

Suddenly, all of these guys are the worst offensive lineman in all of Football.

I wonder what's different? 

Not the worse. They are ranked like 27. Pretty sure not much lower than last year. 

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4 minutes ago, Creepy Lurker said:

I have concerns over the scheme and coaching compounding with the line being pretty old and regressing. Most of the offensive coaching has seemed like it’s not flexible and they are going full in on forcing the system on players regardless of outcome.

If you are going to be inflexible and do that, then you need to build the team from the ground up. This is also why Gase was probably against signing Bell. Gase seems like a rigid system guy which makes the situation very boom or bust. Right now we are seeing the bust end since he doesn’t have “his guys”.

I’m not making excuses for him and I don’t agree with being inflexible and not trying to work with your players’ skill sets. It’s just interesting and seems to be what’s happening. 

Adam Gase, knowing that he didnt have a WR to play outside, didnt change his scheme at all.  How many max protects did you see last week?  

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Definitely both sides are contributors. The OL roster is terrible but the staff is at least no worse than it was last year. The line as a whole is confused and plays are set up to make it easy for defenses to get right to the QB. That all comes down to the way the coaches are training the players in the system and the way the plays are designed. The only thing we can really do with the roster now is swap existing staff but the coaching work can be improved right now. 

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10 minutes ago, JiF said:

This team has multiple players that have starting experience in the NFL that play on the OL.  None of them, have been this bad in their entire career.

Kalil and Osemele are former All Pros.

Beachum, Winters, Shell, Compton, Lewis, Harrison - have roughly 250 starts in the NFL between the group.

Suddenly, all of these guys are the worst offensive lineman in all of Football.

I wonder what's different? 

I think it has more to do with not playing any pre season games together and missing much of camp then the coaching at this point

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1 minute ago, NYJ37/12 said:

I think it has more to do with not playing any pre season games together and missing much of camp then the coaching at this point

I agree.  I think continuity in the OL is crucial.  That said, wasnt the only guy not playing Kalil?  And didnt the line look completely competent in the preseason when Harrison was in the game?  If Kalil wasnt ready to call adjustments/and or doesnt know the playbook/and or was not in playing shape, than that's on coaching for trotting him out there as the starter when there was a perfectly viable option playing well that had continuity, knew the playbook and the adjustments. 

 

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Players and coaching.

beachum, Osemele, Khalil are done. They will likely not be back next yr and it is possible all 3 will retire at end of yr. winters is below average and is in last yr of contract and likely will not be back. Shell is average to below average and also last yr of contract. He might be back next yr only because it will be difficult to bring in 5 new starters next yr, although Edoga maybe be starter next yr.

the zone blocking scheme is more difficult and complicated to learn. Couple that with line not playing a single snap together in preseason, new coach, new players, this is a recipe for disaster as we have seen. 

Hopefully they consider switching to man blocking “hat on a hat” scheme during the bye week if possible. Perhaps shuffling lineup too. 

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35 minutes ago, JetsLife said:

Please pardon if this has been covered:

Do you think the Jets' awful offensive line is strictly a personnel issue, or is it coaching? Or is it more like 60/40 personnel v coaching ... or what ratio?

My impression entering week 1: o-line was a concern & would demonstrate as much occasionally ... BUT: as a veteran unit would hold up enough for the Jets to score around 20 points per game. My general tendency is to blame coaching first. Which I know isn't a hard & fast rule. My thing is: we've all seen decimated o-lines do just enough for an offense to function. If not at a consistently high-scoring level. That's down to good surrounding talent and good coaching.

Personal Opinion:

I think it's both an issue of talent and a material issue of scheme/coaching/system.

On paper, our O-line should have improved.  Khalil may be worn out, true enough, but Harrison wasn't anything but a JAG himself.  Osemele should have been a material upgrade.  Winters wasn't this bad last year.  Neither was Shell or Beachum.  In no way are the three returning O-linemen great players, but this year they are materially, noticeably worse in every aspect of the game than they were last year.  

As with much of the Offense, I am unhappy that we appear to be running "the Gase system" with no thought to what assets we have or don't yet have.  The O-line looks either grossly unprepared (in part due to not working together nearly enough in preseason) or completely lost and poor fits in the Gase system.  And so far I don't feel like we've seen ANY form of adjustment by Gase to address his actual players and their limitations on the filed so far.

The O-line has been undervalued by this organization for ages, that is a given.  Few incoming assets, few investments, too little, too late.  Many of us here have been loudly pointing that out for years now.  But it is what it is, I'd like to see more effort by our coaching staff to adjust the gameplan and playcalling to suit who we have, not the system.  It's been said elsewhere, but where are the rollouts?  The play action?  The draws (on other than third and 25)?  The plays from shotgun more often?  There are ways to in part mitigate our weaknesses, it feels like we're just not using them to the fullest.

 

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15 minutes ago, JiF said:

I agree.  I think continuity in the OL is crucial.  That said, wasnt the only guy not playing Kalil?  And didnt the line look completely competent in the preseason when Harrison was in the game?  If Kalil wasnt ready to call adjustments/and or doesnt know the playbook/and or was not in playing shape, than that's on coaching for trotting him out there as the starter when there was a perfectly viable option playing well that had continuity, knew the playbook and the adjustments. 

 

I think both guards and Beachum were out. And yes, Kalil has no business playing

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1 hour ago, joewilly12 said:

 Ryan Kalil signed a week into training camp after he decided to end a brief retirement. He has been working to get back into form and has had his share of issues in the first three weeks. Pollack was not pointing the finger at him, though.

“Kalil’s a pro,” Pollack said. “He’s preparing the right way and doing great things. All of us as a unit have to get better. We’re the ultimate group in all of sports that’s judged as one unit and not individuals. We need to play like that, communicate like that and get better in those areas.”

Not good. Refusing to see the deficiencies in a vet's performance reminds me too much of the last regime. Harrison plays better than this guy. Sam has looked good with Harrison in the past. Time to bench the single worst player on the line. (And no, I'm not letting Winters off the hook, he's a real close 2nd)

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3 minutes ago, Saul Goodman said:

100% players. We knew that these guys, every single one of them, were extremely poor before the season started. Both by the eye test and PFF grading. 

Defenders are literally running around them or pushing them out of the way. There’s plays where every defender is right on the QB or RB.

Maccagnan...

Myself and quite a few others on this board called out the OL talent months before the draft - I just can't believe that everyone in the FO was like

'no, this is fine' 

someone made a concerted effort NOT to upgrade this line.

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1 hour ago, jetstream23 said:

47% Frank Pollack

34% Players

19% Gase

its really not frank pollack, he's a very well respected line coach, I would say its scheme, but thats because mac really didnt take all of this into account when building this team, its an awful job by him..

 

The jets offensive line personnel favors a man or even gap blocking scheme.  Mac went out of his way to trade for KO who you would think would have signaled a move to this scheme from the outside zone centric system that Bates was running.  The problem became when they signed bell who to maximize his skill set is better in an outside/inside zone blocking system where he can delay with patience then pop through holes and cutback lanes. 

 

So really what happened is we have a man blocking line performing a zone blocking scheme which is wouldnt be a huge issue normally (perhaps more on outside zone plays which favor linemen that are more athletic), however when you have marginal players at most of your offensive line positions, then you are limiting how successful they can be to an even greater extent. 

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Osemele kalil and winters weren’t ready because they didn’t get much time together due to injuries and gase hasn’t adjusted he’s calling the games like he can just lean on people 

it might get a little better with the bye but basically kalil and winters should be benched 

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There were a few people on this board who knew this was a bad offensive line and who wanted to address it via the draft in a meaningful way. Many others thought they were set at line. It was a huge topic of discussion. The Jets line was bad in 2018 and returned 3 starters and 2 new veterans coming off bad years for them. The Jets had an opportunity to follow the Colts model and they passed. It was a huge mistake. And the people who thought it was smart to take a DT 3rd overall were wrong.

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