As the New York Jets to prepare to make roster acquisitions, it’s time to prioritize. As important as edge rusher is, offensive line may be even more.
We are smack in the middle of the NFL Combine, ladies and gentlemen. Mike Maccagnan and Adam Gase are in Indianapolis representing the New York Jets, trying to find their newest and next greatest talent.
They are looking at college players and talking to teams about trades. Rumors fly when all of the teams get together. Now what are the Jets going to do? How are they going to attack the off-season? We know there is lots of work to do.
Edge pass rusher is an important position the Jets need to improve. We all know it. Rich Cimini from ESPN talked about it yesterday from the Combine:
The Jets have interest in very worthy players to fill the role. I agree with Rich, the Jets do need to come out of the off-season with a pass rusher.
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But there is a unit that may just be more important. That unit is the offensive line. They are priority number one.
Let’s talk about why.
First and foremost, it goes back to my almost daily mantra, “Protect the Investment”. Sam Darnold is of course, the aforementioned investment.
Part of making him comfortable is keeping him safe. Weapons are important, but making sure he doesn’t get killed is more important.
The offensive line was bad in 2018. According to Football Outsiders, they were ranked 32 in run blocking and 18 in pass blocking.
That is not good. Don’t forget when the line, specifically Spencer Long, got Darnold hurt by his wonderful snap to nowhere.
If the Jets can’t get the offensive line right, and fast, Darnold will not have a chance to excel here. He will go down in history with the pantheon of quarterbacks that have fallen flat.
The time is right now. It starts during this off-season.
But what is it the number one priority? Because evidence shows that a good offensive line relates to winning.
Let’s look at last season.
When looking at the pass rush stats, here are the top five teams in the sacks category:
Notice how only one of these five teams made a run in the playoffs. Now look at the top five offensive lines, per Football Outsiders:
Look at that list. Every team on it played in the playoffs, three appeared on Championship Sunday and two competed in some game called the Super Bowl.
A good offensive line translates into success. Mike Maccagnan, let’s get it done. Forget the past, that is over. Use the capital on offensive line, now.