Numbers don’t lie: Jets RG Greg Van Roten is a liability

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Duke Manyweather, a noted offensive line trainer, said it best when he called Jets RG Greg Van Roten “a liability.”

Manyweather, who coaches Mekhi Becton, among others, added that the Jets should pursue an upgrade over Van Roten, who has arguably been the team’s worst offensive lineman and one of the NFL’s worst guards through three games this season. Van Roten has allowed 15 pressures this season – second-most at his position – and ranks 50th among all guards.

It’s no wonder Zach Wilson leads the NFL in sacks with 15, hurries with 24, and has been pressured on 38.5 percent of his dropbacks.

All the blame can’t be pinned on Van Roten. There are a lot of issues with this Jets offense. Wilson isn’t getting the ball out fast enough, which Van Roten was quick to point out. The running game has been inconsistent. Mike LaFleur’s game plans aren’t sound. Other linemen aren’t playing well.

But Van Roten’s performances have been especially poor.

Broken down by game, Van Roten has clearly been a major contributor to the Jets’ offensive woes. The guard accounted for 43.8 percent of the Jets’ pressures in Week 2 and 37.5 percent of them in Week 3. That means Van Roten has allowed almost half of the team’s pressures in the past two games, even though he’s just one of five starting linemen.

If you’re looking for excuses for these numbers, there aren’t many. But let’s try to absolve Van Roten anyway.

The most obvious one is what Van Roten noted after the Jets’ Week 3 loss regarding Wilson. The rookie does tend to hold onto the ball too long, which gives defenders more opportunities to beat Van Roten and the rest of the line. Wilson completed just 45 percent of his passes when he didn’t throw the ball in less than 2.5 seconds and he leads the league with eight sacks that took at least 4.5 seconds, per Next Gen Stats.

But if that excuse was truly the reason for Van Roten’s failures as a blocker, shouldn’t the pressures have been more equally dispersed among the other four linemen?

Maybe his matchups were harder. The Patriots and Broncos do boast some solid interior defensive linemen. That would partly explain why fellow guard Alijah Vera-Tucker has underperformed so far as a rookie. LaFleur’s scheme could play into Van Roten’s inability to block as well. Not everyone is adept at zone blocking, especially if the running backs and tight ends are not doing their jobs well, either.

Those explanations don’t vindicate Van Roten, though. They just push the blame onto someone else. But the numbers don’t lie: Van Roten has not been a good guard through the first three weeks of the season, and the Jets have suffered as a result.

Maybe that will change as the season progresses. But for now, Van Roten is exactly what he looks like: a liability for the Jets’ pass-protection.

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