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The New York Jets had a commendable defensive line performance in 2022, but they are setting the bar even higher for 2023. So, the question is, will the Jets surpass their 2022 record of 45 sacks in the upcoming season? Here is our 2023 NY Jets Sack outlook.
The 2022 NY Jets Performance in Retrospect
The Jets’ defense line, despite its commendable performance in 2022, lacked a consistently dominant edge rusher. The standout player from the line was undoubtedly Quinnen Williams, who led the team with a total of 12 sacks. However, interior pressure rates are generally lower than those from the outside, this resulted in a less than satisfactory consistency in the Jets’ pass rush. While their tally of 45 sacks tied for seventh-best in the league, it’s noteworthy that a sizable proportion of these sacks were more coverage-induced rather than due to swift pressure.
The Importance of Sacks in Modern Football
In the contemporary football landscape, consistent pressure is highly valued over mere sack totals. However, quarterback takedowns can’t be brushed aside as insignificant. Particularly in an era of increasingly mobile quarterbacks who can effectively avoid pressure, the ability to transform a hurry into a successful sack carries significant weight.
The Jets’ Roster Changes and Their Implications
The Jets made some interesting swaps in their line-up, with Vinny Curry exchanged for Will McDonald, Sheldon Rankins for Quinton Jefferson, and Nathan Shepherd for Al Woods. These changes, among other factors, could significantly alter the team’s pass rush fortunes.
Keeping an Eye on Carl Lawson’s Health
Although he agreed to a pay cut, Carl Lawson remains a key player in the Jets’ defense line. Despite being limited due to a re-injury in 2022, Lawson managed to play in every game. Now claiming to be fully fit, Lawson could potentially reclaim his earlier status as an influential pass rusher.
The Role of Game Situations
The number of obvious passing situations faced by the Jets’ defense, as indicated by Bryce Huff‘s 13.6 defensive snaps per game in 2022, was relatively low. Should the Jets play with more leads in the coming season, they may find themselves in more clear-cut pass-rushing situations, allowing their strong lineup of pass rushers to truly shine.
True Pass Set Statistics
- Franklin-Myers: 21.8% pressure rate (97th percentile), 22.5% pass rush win rate (90th percentile)
- Lawson: 8.1% sack-plus-hit rate (90th percentile), 21.5% pass rush win rate (87th percentile)
- Huff: 26.5% pressure rate (99th percentile), 8.5% sack-plus-hit rate (94th percentile), 28.4% pass rush win rate (98th percentile)
- McDonald: 39.6% pass rush win rate (99th percentile), 20.8% pass rush productivity (99th percentile)
- Johnson: 22.9% pass rush win rate (93rd percentile)
- Clemons: 7.0% sack-plus-hit rate (87th percentile)
- Quinnen Williams: 21.1% pass rush win rate (95th percentile), 19.9% pressure rate (99th percentile), 11.0% sack-plus-hit rate (100th percentile)
- Quinton Jefferson: 15.0% pressure rate (77th percentile)
Efficiency plays a crucial role in the Jets’ defensive line rotation, considering the difficulty for any individual player to amass substantial numbers. However, if the Jets’ pass rushers can be efficient, they could achieve a high cumulative sack total, irrespective of each player’s individual statistics.
The Jets’ utilization of their pass rushers will also impact their overall sack totals. For example, Franklin-Myers and Clemons are both likely to move inside on passing downs, while Jefferson is a pass rush specialist. How the Jets manage these movements and rotations will be key to their performance in the coming season.
Past game reviews have shown that the Jets’ coverage and pass rush have often worked in tandem to bail each other out. The question is, will the Jets’ coverage be able to support their pass rushers this season?
Using Michael Nania’s projected snap count rates as a guide, we can predict the number of sacks each player might achieve. For this exercise, we will assume that the Jets will have approximately 1,050 defensive snaps in 2023, aligning with the 10th-most defensive snaps among teams in 2022.
Assuming Williams remains healthy, he is likely to continue his dominance as an interior defensive lineman. If Williams plays 73% of the defensive snaps in 2023, which would be 767 snaps, and maintains a sack rate of 2.50%, this would result in 11.5 sacks.
A 58% snap share would give Franklin-Myers 609 total defensive snaps. With a sack rate of 1.32%, similar to 2022, he would achieve another 5.0 sacks.
A 45% snap share would provide Johnson with 473 total defensive snaps. With a slight increase in sack rate to 1.75%, he could achieve 4.5 sacks.
If Lawson plays 43% of the snaps, equating to 452 snaps, and achieves a sack rate of 1.87%, he would obtain 5.0 sacks.
Playing 35% of the snaps would give Jefferson 368 total snaps. Assuming a sack rate of 1%, this would result in 2.5 sacks.
Clemons, with 35% of the snaps, equating to 368 total snaps, and a sack rate of 1.72%, would get 3.5 sacks.
If Huff plays 33% of the snaps, totalling 347 snaps, and maintains a sack rate of 1.69%, he would achieve 4.5 sacks.
Playing 30% of the snaps, Woods would get 315 snaps. With a sack rate of 0.52%, he would get 0.5 sacks.
McDonald, playing 30% of the snaps, totalling 315 snaps, and with a sack rate of 1.75%, would get 4.0 sacks.
Thomas, playing 15% of the snaps, equating to 158 snaps, and with a sack rate of 0.44%, would get 0.5 sacks.
The rest of the pack
2023 NY Jets Sack totals
- Quinnen Williams: 11.5
- John Franklin-Myers: 5.0
- Carl Lawson: 5.0
- Bryce Huff: 4.5
- Jermaine Johnson: 4.5
- Will McDonald: 4.0
- Quinton Jefferson: 3.5
- Micheal Clemons: 3.5
- Quincy Williams: 1.5
- C.J. Mosley: 1.0
- Al Woods: 0.5
- Solomon Thomas: 0.5
- Jamien Sherwood: 0.5
In conclusion, the Jets are projected to achieve a total of 45.5 sacks, nearly mirroring their 2022 performance. However, with several players showing potential for breakout performances, the Jets could well exceed their sack goal in the 2023 season.