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NFL Coaching Matters: 2022 New York Jets Offense and Coaching Staff Preview

Michael Carter - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

After every NFL season, NFL teams take the time to evaluate not only the players but also the coaching staff and front office as well. While many teams choose to retain the same head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator, a few other teams opt to go in a new direction with their coaching staff.

One team that decided to keep its entire core coaching staff this offseason was the New York Jets. Robert Saleh will be back as the head coach, Mike LaFleur will be back as the offensive coordinator, and Jeff Ulbrich will be back as the defensive coordinator for the 2022-23 season.

This article will look at the potential impact this new coaching staff will have on the players and try to pinpoint the Jets players' fantasy values in this new era.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

The Baseline

To get a better understanding of the value the Jets coaches bring to this team, we can look at the NFL league averages in each of the past two years in a variety of statistical categories and then compare them to the averages achieved by the Jets' coaches. Here are 'The Baseline' NFL league averages over the past couple of years:

QB Impact

Year Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2020 League Average
35.19 254.88 1.70 4.19 18.43 0.25
2021 League Average 34.40 244.13 1.54 3.99 17.36 0.18

RB Impact

Year RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds. RB Rec. TDs
2020 League Average
21.68 95.13 0.75 4.71 6.14 34.94 0.18
2021 League Average
21.66 92.20 0.69 4.82 6.22 36.36 0.19

WR Impact

Year WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2020 League Average
13.24 20.21 166.67 1.04
2021 League Average
12.45 19.75 155.55 0.96

TE Impact

Year TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2020 League Average
4.76 7.03 51.29 0.45
2021 League Average
4.77 6.93 50.44 0.37

Defense Impact

Year Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play
Turnovers Forced
2020 League Average 24.8 240.2 118.9 64.3 5.6 1.3
2021 League Average 23.0 228.3 115.2 63.3 5.4 1.3

 

2022 Offense

2022 Offensive Coordinator: Mike LaFleur

Mike LaFleur has been around the NFL for a few years, but his first opportunity to serve as an offensive coordinator at the NFL level was in 2021 with the New York Jets. Below are some statistics from his career thus far as an offensive coordinator. In addition, we talked a little about his time as an offensive coordinator at the college level in last year's 'Coaching Matters' on the New York Jets, so visit that article if you'd like to see some of his statistics during his time there.

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2021 Jets 17 35.47 232.88 1.18 2.35 12.06 0.24
LaFleur's Career Averages (OC/HC) 17 35.47 232.88 1.18 2.35 12.06 0.24

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds. RB Rec. TDs
2021 Jets 17 19.18 80.29 0.41 4.88 7.59 44.41 0.12
LaFleur's Career Averages (OC/HC) 17 19.18 80.29 0.41 4.88 7.59 44.41 0.12

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2021 Jets 17 13.06 21.88 155.82 0.82
LaFleur's Career Averages (OC/HC) 17 13.06 21.88 155.82 0.82

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2021 Jets 17 2.94 4.53 31.41 0.18
LaFleur's Career Averages (OC/HC) 17 2.94 4.53 31.41 0.18

 

Mike LaFleur Takeaways & Expectations

Mike LaFleur's team has averaged 35.47 passing attempts, 232.88 passing yards, and 1.18 passing touchdowns per game over the course of his 17-game career as an offensive coordinator. The usage is fairly average when compared to the 2021 NFL league averages, and suggests that as long as Zach Wilson's abilities can take another step forward in year two he should begin to move into the QB2 conversation.

Besides passing, it is also important to look at the rushing usage of LaFleur's quarterbacks over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator or head coach. Over the course of his career, LaFleur's quarterbacks have averaged 2.35 carries per game.

Overall, it's only been one year but LaFleur's offense has given an average number of passing opportunities for his team and his quarterbacks have taken off on the ground a below-average number of times. This volume suggests that Zach Wilson will need to be fairly efficient to be fantasy relevant in 2022. Going into the season he should be looked at as a low-end QB2/high-end QB3 with upside in your fantasy leagues.

Jumping to the running back position, Mike LaFleur has seen his running back room average 19.18 carries, 80.29 rushing yards, and 0.41 rushing touchdowns per game on the ground over the course of his 17-game NFL career.

This usage was a little below the league averages in 2021. While it is only one year at the NFL level, this is slightly concerning because he also didn't feature his running backs very much when he was an offensive coordinator at Davidson. There's some hope that this group can be better in 2022 considering Mike LaFleur came from the Gary Kubiak/Mike Shanahan coaching tree that has helped support a lot of great fantasy backs as well as the team drafting Breece Hall in the 2022 NFL Draft. As of right now, it's probably best to operate based on the data we do have and assume that this group will get an average or slightly below average workload on the ground.

Besides the amount of volume (carries) on the ground that LaFleur has historically provided, we also need to consider how that volume has been distributed over the course of his career – is LaFleur rolling with a bell-cow or a running back by committee approach?

In his one season as the New York Jets offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur rolled with more of a running back by committee approach rather than a bell-cow approach on the ground. This may change in 2022 with the addition of their second-round pick Breece Hall – likely moving more to something like a 60-40 between Breece Hall and the rest of the New York Jets backfield.

The final aspect we should look at regarding Mike LaFleur's running backs is how much he has traditionally utilized them as pass-catchers. Over the course of his NFL career, LaFleur's running back room has averaged 7.59 targets per game – which is slightly above average.

Considering Breece Hall and Michael Carter are both solid pass-catching options out of the backfield, this usage shouldn't change much in 2022. Overall, the New York Jets running back room should be better this year, but even with that, it's more than likely that the lead back finishes more in the RB2/high-end FLEX range.

Moving onto the wide receiver position, over the course of his one season as the New York Jets offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur's wide receiver room has averaged 13.06 receptions on 21.88 targets for 155.82 receiving yards and 0.82 receiving touchdowns per game.

This usage was pretty good relative to other NFL play-callers and should help the Jets wide receivers have more opportunities to be fantasy relevant in 2022. Based on this information, sophomore wideout Elijah Moore and rookie wideout Garrett Wilson should both be intriguing mid/late-round upside picks in your fantasy draft(s), with Corey Davis as a solid late-round dart throw as well in case either Moore or Wilson misses time on the field.

Finally, LaFleur's historical usage of tight ends is a little subpar. Over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator or head coach, Mike LaFleur's tight end room has averaged 4.53 targets per game.

It's only one season, but this average is well-below average and incredibly disappointing if you already roster a Jets tight end. Overall, in this offense, it's highly unlikely that C.J. Uzomah or Tyler Conklin is fantasy relevant and it's best to view them as just a streaming option in 2022.

Fantasy Relevant Players: Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike White, Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios, Denzel Mims, Jeff Smith, C.J. Uzomah, and Tyler Conklin

 

2022 Defense

2022 Head Coach: Robert Saleh

Year Games Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play Turnovers Forced
2020 49ers 16 24.38 207.94 106.44 62.31 5.05 1.25
2021 Jets 17 29.65 259.35 138.29 67.35 5.90 0.82
Saleh's Career Averages (DC/HC) 81 24.96 221.47 117.67 64.17 5.29 1.09

Robert Saleh was hired as the New York Jets head coach in 2021 after four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers as their defensive coordinator (2017-2020). During his career, Saleh has done a pretty good job working with the defensive side of the ball, so let's take a look at how Saleh's defenses have performed over the course of his career.

 

2022 Defensive Coordinator: Jeff Ulbrich

Year Games Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play Turnovers Forced
2020 Falcons 11 23 274.36 102.36 63.09 5.97 1.45
2021 Jets 17 29.65 259.35 138.29 67.35 5.90 0.82
Ulbrich's Career Averages (DC/HC) 28 27.04 265.25 124.18 65.68 5.93 1.07

In 2020, Jeff Ulbrich was the Atlanta Falcons' interim defensive coordinator after head coach Dan Quinn was fired and Raheem Morris was promoted to interim head coach. After his time as the Falcons interim defensive coordinator, the New York Jets reached out to Ulbrich and hired him as their new defensive coordinator in 2021. Let's take a look at how Ulbrich's defense performed over his career as a defensive coordinator.

 

Other Notable Assistants

Special Teams Coordinator: Brant Boyer - Brant Boyer has been the New York Jets special teams coordinator since 2016. Prior to taking the Jets job, he worked as an assistant special teams coach for the Indianapolis Colts (2012-2015). In addition, he played linebacker at the NFL level for the Miami Dolphins (1994), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2000), and the Cleveland Browns (2001-2003).

QB Coach: Rob Calabrese - This is Rob Calabrese's second year as a New York Jet and as an NFL quarterbacks coach. He was previously the Denver Broncos' offensive quality control coach (2019-2020) and played quarterback at UCF from 2008 to 2012.

RB Coach: Taylor Embree - In 2021 Taylor Embree was a first-time running backs coach with the New York Jets. Prior to joining the Jets, he was a former NFL wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers (2012) and most recently coached as a tight ends coach at Colorado (2020).

WR Coach: Miles Austin - Miles Austin is best-known for his playing career as a wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys (2006-2013), Cleveland Browns (2014), and Philadelphia Eagles (2015). He's been the New York Jets wide receivers coach since 2021 and previously spent a season with the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive quality control coach (2019).

TE Coach: Ron Middleton - Ron Middleton played tight end in the NFL for ten seasons with Atlanta (1986-1987), Cleveland (1989), Washington (1988 & 1990-1993), Los Angeles (1994), and San Deigo (1995). He was the Jacksonville Jaguars tight ends coach from 2016 to 2020 before joining the New York Jets in 2021.

OL Coach: John Benton - John Benton has been an offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2004-2005), Houston Texans (2006-2013), Miami Dolphins (2014-2015), and San Francisco 49ers (2017-2020) in his coaching career. He's been the New York Jets offensive line coach since 2021.

DL Coach: Aaron Whitecotton - Aaron Whitecotton is entering his second year as a defensive line coach with the New York Jets. Previously he had been an assistant defensive line coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-2016), Buffalo Bills (2018-2019), and San Francisco 49ers (2020).

LB Coach: Mike Rutenberg - Mike Rutenberg joined the New York Jets coaching staff in 2021. He is entering his 12th season in the NFL after working in various roles with Washington, Jacksonville, and San Francisco.

Cornerbacks Coach: Tony Oden - Tony Oden has been the New York Jets cornerbacks coach since 2021. He's been coaching at the NFL level since 2004, working as a defensive assistant for the Houston Texans (2004-2005), as an assistant secondary coach for the New Orleans Saints (2006-2010), a secondary coach for the New Orleans Saints (2011), a defensive backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2012), a defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013), a cornerbacks coach for the Detroit Lions (2014-2017), a defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins (2018), a safeties coach for the Miami Dolphins (2019), and as a cornerbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers (2020).

DB/Safeties Coach: Marquand Manuel - Marquand Manuel is a former NFL safety who played for the Cincinnati Bengals (2002-2003), Seattle Seahawks (2004-2005), Green Bay Packers (2006), Carolina Panthers (2007), Denver Broncos (2008), and Detroit Lions (2009). His previous coaching history includes being the Atlanta Falcons' defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2018 and the Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach in 2020. He's been the New York Jets safeties coach since 2021.

 

Enjoy this series? Be sure to check out all of the other 'Coaching Matters' team previews!

AFC North: Cleveland BrownsPittsburgh SteelersBaltimore RavensCincinnati Bengals

AFC South: Houston TexansJacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee TitansIndianapolis Colts

AFC West: Kansas City ChiefsDenver BroncosLos Angeles ChargersLas Vegas Raiders

AFC EastMiami DolphinsBuffalo Bills, New England Patriots

 

Follow Eli Grabanski on Twitter: @3li_handles



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