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Braxton Berrios Is the Perfect Situational Weapon


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NY Jets WR Braxton Berrios is the perfect situational weapon | Film

By
 Michael Nania
 -
 06/30/2021
 

Braxton Berrios Jets NY (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

 

NY Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios has his limitations, but he has proven he can thrive as a situational weapon.

 

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As part of a deep wide receiver depth chart that features five other names that are more enticing than his own, Braxton Berrios will most likely not be seeing much time on the field when the unit is at full health. He will obviously be thrust into action in the event of an injury or two, but when each of the team’s top six wideouts is in uniform, Berrios will probably only see a handful of snaps if he even gets on the field at all.

And that’s the perfect way for the Jets to utilize him. In 2020, Berrios struggled in a featured role but showcased proficiency in a very limited role.

Due to injuries at the wide receiver position, Berrios played 30.3 snaps per game over his first seven appearances, and he performed inefficiently. After that stretch, Berrios played only 6.0 snaps per game over his next eight appearances, and in that role, he produced at a ridiculously high level of efficiency.

 

Braxton Berrios NY Jets Sats

With only 34 routes run – around the equivalent of one games’ worth for the typical starting wide receiver in the NFL – Berrios snatched 14 of 17 targets for 184 yards, one touchdown, and seven first downs.

Imagine that your favorite wide receiver dropped a line of 14 catches, 184 yards, and eight conversions in one game. That’s how good Berrios was in his situational role over the second half of 2020. He spread out the value of one elite performance over eight games.

The Jets fed the ball to Berrios at an incredibly high frequency when he entered the game in the second half of the season. Berrios was targeted on 50.0% of his routes run, which is absurd. For reference, the NFL’s 2020 leader in targets, Stefon Diggs, was targeted on 166 of his 611 routes run, a rate of just 27.3%.

Let’s take a look at some examples of what Berrios was doing to achieve that insane level of production.

 

 

Jets X-Factor

 


Running back duty

The Jets experimented with Berrios in the backfield. He lined up at running back on 15 snaps in 2020, and it became a fairly large part of his role in the second half of the year.

Berrios played running back on six of his 242 snaps (2.5%) in the first half and nine of his 48 snaps in the second half (18.8%).

There’s nothing special about this one; it’s just an example of Berrios being utilized creatively. Berrios lines up aside Joe Flacco in the gun and sprints into the flat for an easy 13-yard gain on third-and-2.

Placing players in unusual positions can cause confusion for the defense, which is what happens here.

Berrios lines up to the left of Sam Darnold in a shotgun look and runs out of the backfield. He stems vertically before breaking out. Darnold takes immediate pressure from the left side, making Berrios the hot read.

Darnold does a great job of slinging the ball around the rusher and launching it into Berrios’ vicinity before Berrios even makes his break. Berrios contorts his body all the way around for a tough catch, making the third-down conversion.

Lining up behind Darnold, who is under center, Berrios is the target on a trick play. Berrios effectively executes two fakes to help make the play work. First, he motions as if he is catching a pitch, which the slot cornerback bites on. Then, he jogs into the flat while staring back at the play, prompting the strong safety to ignore him, which is what opens him up.

This isn’t a world-class play, but it is a great example of the Jets dialing up a play specifically for Berrios, which is something they did quite often once he was relegated to a minor role.

Screen game

The screen game was another big part of Berrios’ late-season production. From Weeks 9-17, he caught five screen passes for 57 yards and two first downs. Over the same span, the rest of the wide receivers on the team combined for six catches, 35 yards, and two first downs on screen passes.

Berrios lines up tight to the formation, off the line of scrimmage as the innermost of two slot receivers on the right side (Jamison Crowder being the other).

The Jets toss him a bubble screen with Crowder and Breshad Perriman out in front against two defenders. They perform their blocks solidly, Berrios finds the hole they create, and he makes a defender miss on his way to 25 yards.

Following some creative pre-snap motion from Crowder, the Jets toss a screen to Berrios in the left slot. Berrios slices back inside, following behind the blocks of Chris Herndon and Mekhi Becton (the latter of which does a fantastic job on this play, blocking two defenders in the open field). It’s a gain of 17 yards on first down.

Jet motion

Berrios motions from right to left and then jets back across just before the snap. Darnold pops the ball to him as he passes by. Berrios sees the outside leverage and George Fant and Ty Johnson, so he cuts upfield behind them and gets a healthy six-yard gain on first down.

One trait that stands out on all three of the plays above is Berrios’ vision. He is excellent at identifying the best hole available and hitting it quickly. This is a skill that he maximizes both on offense and as a punt returner.

Outside duty

All of the plays above feature Berrios either in the backfield or in the slot, but he did damage when lined up on the outside as well.

At the point of a stack formation with Denzel Mims behind him, Berrios runs a deep crossing route and makes an easy 34-yard catch. Crowder attracts the attention of three defenders underneath, including the middle linebacker, which is what frees Berrios up.

As the outermost receiver in a trips formation to the right side (field side), Berrios runs a 10-yard out against a cornerback giving an extremely soft cushion. Darnold launches a great throw and Berrios lays out to snag it, just barely tapping both feet in-bounds to record the catch.


Berrios has yet to prove he can be a starter in the NFL, but his short-area quickness and vision make him a valuable situational weapon who is capable of producing tremendous results when used intermittently on plays that are designed to get him the football.

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29 minutes ago, Rhg1084 said:

I just don’t see this guy getting on the field unless Crowder AND Moore go down 

Correct.  Hes WR6.  But if injuries happen, I have no doubt he can step in and be very productive.

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When there is a tough catch to be made Berrios is there but doesn't catch the ball. I guess he is good in small doses. He does seem to get involved in some elaborate plays and when the ball is right to him he makes the play but when that elaborate play results in running, reaching and jumping on the run  Berrios can't make that catch - not that its a super easy catch but a good solid receiver would make some catches that Berrios doesn't.

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let's see, over the first 8 games he was also the best receiver of the group the jets fielded so maybe the defenses were keying on him?  just a thought.  no knock on berrios.  he is what he is and he has an outside shot of staying on the team at this point.

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I like him more than anything as a Jack of all trades, master of none. He's a scrappy player with a real lunch pale attitude. A blue collar success and I love that kind of player......

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Cut the guy some slack.

He was drafted by Pats, spent 2018 on injured reserve, and was cut before 2019 season.  Came to he Jets and so has had 2 seasons in the NFL.  He may or may not earn a spot with the Jets this season.

Year 3 is critical for guys attempting a career in the NFL.  Either he builds himself a niche providing value to his team, or his slot will go to younger guys who might still develop.

It's in all of our interests to root for him in trying to build that role.  Guys do blossom in their 3rd year of play.  If so, it adds to the strength of our roster.  JD and the coaches will figure that out.  But if he makes it with the competition available now in the WR group, it means the Jets are a better team.

That's a good thing.

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16 hours ago, NYJ1 said:

He's a scrappy player with a real lunch pale attitude. A blue collar success and I love that kind of player.

So he's basically this guy, eh?

013014_wayne_chrebet.jpg

What a shocking thing to hear here at JN...

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21 hours ago, JiFapono said:

Crazy that BB got rid of him.  He's basically Wes Welker all over again.

Welker had natural stick-um on his hands especially in critical times.  Berrios is not sure handed like Welker.  Not even close.  Berrios runs precise, crisp routs, but his hands are questionable. 

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6 minutes ago, THE BARON said:

Welker had natural stick-um on his hands especially in critical times.  Berrios is not sure handed like Welker.  Not even close.  Berrios runs precise, crisp routs, but his hands are questionable. 

Welker was established before BB signed him.  BB loved Berrios and thought he would be able to hide him on the practice squard.

He miscalculated.

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2 minutes ago, Joe W. Namath said:

Welker was established before BB signed him.  BB loved Berrios and thought he would be able to hide him on the practice squard.

He miscalculated.

Indeed...  Chalk one up for the Jets GM

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BUT I WAS TOLD BRAXTON BERRIOS IS THE REASON SAM DARNOLD IS INACCURATE, HAS BAD FOOTWORK, CANT READ A DEFENSE, AND MAKES TERRIBLE DECISIONS WITH THE FOOTBALL.

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17 hours ago, undertow said:

you can find 5 good plays from any player in the league......they are in the NFL because they are good at football. lol

Show me 2 good plays of Vernon Gholston without using preseason.

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6 minutes ago, MR.GANGGREEN28 said:

I like him he’s scrappy but I’d rather see Moore get looks on those designed plays. I also have heard Michael Carter is pretty good catching out of the backfield.

Moore and Carter will have plenty of plays designed just for them. This article is talking specifically about how well Berrios performed when he was averaging just six offensive snaps a game (read: the defense was focused elsewhere). Start what looks like an end around by Moore but then all of a sudden it’s a reverse to Berrios? Touchdown, baby. 

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19 minutes ago, slats said:

Moore and Carter will have plenty of plays designed just for them. This article is talking specifically about how well Berrios performed when he was averaging just six offensive snaps a game (read: the defense was focused elsewhere). Start what looks like an end around by Moore but then all of a sudden it’s a reverse to Berrios? Touchdown, baby. 

If we’re moving the ball and scoring I’ll be happy regardless. It’s just that we’ve added so many new pieces to the offense it’s hard to imagine Berrios getting many snaps without injury or other guys underperforming. We now have 2-3 running backs and 6 wide receivers all worthy of getting looks.. a good problem to have imo.

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Watched him for many years at the
“U” and he is a solid WR. Not your superstar kind of player, just a blue collar kind of guy.
He improved each year from freshman to senior and was a strong part of the offensive system
Just my opinion and I may be looking at this thru Orange and Green glasses.
Yet I think both Berrios and Herndon will help this offense and surprise many Jets fans. It will really show just how poorly Gase used his players. It will also show what a difference a competent coaching staff can make with many of the same players on a team.


Sent from my iPhone using JetNation.com mobile app

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I like Braxton Berrios and I think we are in a good spot if he remains as the 5th/6th WR. Don’t see him getting a ton of reps/game time unless we have a couple of injuries. 

Perhaps we see more out of him in 2022 when Crowder is gone. 

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On 7/1/2021 at 12:25 PM, Warfish said:

So he's basically this guy, eh?

013014_wayne_chrebet.jpg

What a shocking thing to hear here at JN...

Ugh, a slightly similar comparison without the home town, home grown feel. Berrios is not nearly as dynamic a player as Chrebet was, although Berrios is more versatile. They were both fringe roster players when they started but Chrebet very quickly distinguished himself as a very capable WR with great hands. It was evident rather quickly that Chrebet belonged on an NFL roster. Berrios is not guaranteed a roster spot. He'll have to fight to make the roster and even then there are no guarantees. As a WR, Berrios faces steep competition from quite a few others. If Berrios only played WR, I have no problem saying he would never make the roster. Berrios' chemistry, evolving relationship as one of Zachs favorite targets, and his other talents on ST is overall why I favor him to get the last WR spot. As I said, he's a Jack of all trades, master of none. So as a player and his impact on the roster he's not very similar to Chrebet. But as a fan, he does give me that feeling of an underdog and everyone loves an underdog..... 

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IMO Berrios has proven he is an NFL receiver and should have a job somewhere in the league. But not sure he will make this team if Crowder really returns and with Moore etc. 

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I am sorry OP...if you want to make a case for him making the team you should be analyzing his ability to play special teams imo.

Otherwise, it sounds like he is only good on Tuesdays after a full moon where two wolves were caught howling by a stream in winter.

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He’s painfully average. Gets no separation whatsoever and nearly all of his production was down to play design. Almost never beats his man straight up.

A good #6 yeah but people are getting carried away and acting like he’s better than he is.

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On 7/4/2021 at 4:38 PM, Irish Jet said:

He’s painfully average. Gets no separation whatsoever and nearly all of his production was down to play design. Almost never beats his man straight up.

A good #6 yeah but people are getting carried away and acting like he’s better than he is.

Average is pretty good! He's a JAG. Teams need JAGs, though. His play on specials will be key to his future.

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