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Advanced Stats: Jets lacking, but have talent on defense

Let's examine the New York Jets ahead of their trip to New Era Field to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Gang Green isn't a Super Bowl contender, but that doesn't mean they have no impact players on their roster.

Each week, we will take a look at the Bills opponent from an advanced stats angle to provide a deeper understanding of the Bills' foe.

Jets defense

Leonard Williams is one of the league's best young defensive linemen. He's only 23 years old.

The former No. 6 overall draft pick received Pro Football Focus' eighth-highest grade among all 125 defensive interior players in 2016. On 447 pass-rush snaps in 2016, Williams registered 48 quarterback pressures (a sack, hit, or hurry), good for a "Pass Rush Productivity" score of 8.4, the ninth-best among 53 defensive ends playing in a 3-4 alignment.

The site uses Pass Rush Productivity to display how productive a defender was as a pass-rusher relative to the amount of pass-rush snaps he had. Sacks count slightly more than a hit or a hurry in PFF's equation.

Perennial stalwart Muhammad Wilkerson, who was coming off a knee-ligament tear, had an overall grade of just 49.1. PFF listed him as an edge-rusher, because he primarily played end. That score placed him in the 89th position among 110 qualifying defenders at his position.

Linebacker Darron Lee was credited with 21 tackles in the run game and missed just two tackles in his rookie season, per PFF. He's an athletic specimen roaming at the second level.

Losing Sheldon Richardson obviously hurts the Jets' underrated defense. But how much?

Well, in 2016, he was second on the team with 40 quarterback pressures and also second on the team with 40 stops.

What equates to a "stop," exactly?

  • 1st down:  less than 40% of required yardage
  • 2nd down: less than 60% of required yardage
  • 3rd down: less than 100% of required yardage
  • 4th down: less than 100% of required yardage

Richardson and Williams emerged as the most effective players on Gang Green's defense in 2016. It will be next to impossible for the Jets to replace Richardson's production as a disruptive force against both the run and the pass.

Jets offense 

Last year in Cleveland, Josh McCown had PFF's second-lowest "Adjusted Completion Percentage," among 37 qualifying quarterbacks. He had a rate of 65.8 percent.

Per PFF, Adjusted Completion Percentage accounts for dropped passes, throwaways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the quarterback was hit while he threw the ball -- factors that hurt the quarterback's traditional completion percentage, but don't help show how accurate they are.

New wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, one of the few veteran skill-position players on the Jets' roster, wasn't exactly an effective target for Russell Wilson last year. On passes targeted for Kearse, Wilson had a 57.1 passer rating, the fourth-worst among 96 qualifying wide receivers. While in San Francisco, Niners quarterbacks had a 71.0 passer rating while targeting Jeremy Kerley in 2016.

Matt Forte received 248 touches last season and managed to force 21 missed tackles -- 18 rushing, three receiving. That equated to an "Elusive Rating" of 23.4, which was the eight-worst among 53 qualifying running backs.

From PFF: "Elusive rating is a PFF Signature Stat created to help determine a running back’s success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers. It takes into account not only missed tackles forced by the player, but also how much extra yardage is gained after contact on run plays."

Meanwhile, Jets ball-carrier Bilal Powell posted an Elusive Rating of 57.0 on his 189 touches, the ninth-best score among 53 qualifying running backs.

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