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By: John B
There were many elements of Breece Hall’s game that were going to be difficult for the Jets to replace when the star rookie running back suffered a season ending knee injury against the Denver Broncos.
Foremost among them was the ability to produce big plays.
Before the start of the season, I created a concept called the 300 Club. It was based on a decade’s worth of data from NFL running backs. I found unsurprisingly that the best running backs were regularly producing big plays on rushes and/or receptions. Namely in almost every elite running back season of the last ten years, the player produced more than 300 yards from scrimmage that came after the first 10 yards of a given play. In other words, I was looking up how many yards were between the 11th and 99th yard gained on a rush or reception.
The first ten yards of any play come from numerous factors from defensive quality to blocking. Ten yards down the field, things open up. A back has to either run away from defenders, make somebody miss, or run a quality route to gain yardage.
Hall indeed was well on his way to making the 300 Club. In just 7 games, he produced 226 such yards.
In fact, Hall was on pace to make the 500 Club. His production prorated to a full 17 game season had him on a 548 yard pace.
Michael Carter and James Robinson both bring quality attributes to the table, but neither is a great big play back.
In 11 games so far in 2022, Carter only has 104 of these big play yards. Meanwhile, Robinson only has 6 since his trade from Jacksonville.
Enter Bam Knight. The rookie running back impressed during the preseason, but there just wasn’t enough room in a crowded backfield for him to find a roster spot out of training camp. Knight waited patiently for a chance and has taken advantage now that it has come.
Through just two games, Knight has 57 big play yards. That’s more than half of Carter’s season total in less than one-fifth of the time.
We run into sample size issues trying to prorate the results of two games, but this has been an impressive showing for Bam. If you extrapolate what he has done over a full season, he easily makes the 300 Club. In fact, he comes close to joining Hall in the 500 Club. Knight’s average first two games over the course of the season would result in 484 big play yards.
Bam Knight is clearly bringing a lot to the table, but I think the most important element might be one of the key things the Jets have lacked since Breece Hall’s injury. Suddenly the Jets can produce big plays from the running back position again. This could be a very important development down the stretch.
Originally posted on Gang Green Nation – All Posts