As rookie quarterback Geno Smith continues to claim responsibility for his team's lack of a passing game this season, the Jets have gotten essentially nothing out of their receivers.
Both individually and as a unit, the numbers are not pretty.
Jeremy Kerley might lead the Jets in receptions with 32, but there are 112 players in the NFL who have more catches than that this year.
Since Kerley has only played in nine of the team’s 13 games, receptions per game is probably a more accurate portrayal of his production thus far. Even then, 70 players average more than Kerley’s 3.6 catches per game.
Santonio Holmes often talks to the talk of an elite receiver but his numbers tell a different story.
There are 56 players throughout the league who average more than Holmes’ team-best 47.7 receiving yards per game.
Holmes has been more quality than quantity though, as his two receptions per game are fewer than 146 of his peers. He’s never caught fewer than 3.1 passes per game, and that last happened in his rookie year.
Having appeared in just 12 of the team’s last 29 games, injuries, combined with weak numbers and a large contract, make Holmes a likely candidate to be released before next season.
Despite starting 11 games this year and being targeted a team-leading 59 times, Stephen Hill has been notoriously absent from the passing attack. He recently went three straight games without a reception and has only six catches in his last six games.
Hill has displayed good speed but not much else. You hate to label any player a bust, but with his second season almost over, he appears to be heading in that direction.
David Nelson, a street free agent who didn’t join the team until Week Five, already has the same amount of catches as Hill.
After missing nearly all of last season with a torn ACL, Nelson has bounced back nicely for the Jets. He might lack the skills of a primary receiver, but he has good size and decent enough hands.
Like Nelson, tight end Kellen Winslow appeared in just one game last season. But the Jets took a chance on him after testing his injured knee in a minicamp tryout and it has paid off for the most part.
Winslow was one of Smith’s favorite targets before being suspended four games due to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and it has taken a bit of time for the duo to rekindle their chemistry.
In the team’s most recent win over the Oakland Raiders, Winslow’s fourth game back following the suspension, he caught three passes for 61 yards, so perhaps he’s finally found his place in the offense once again.
Fellow tight end Jeff Cumberland has stayed healthy the past two years but is yet to take the next step forward in his career. He’s been targeted just 31 times in 12 games this season and is averaging fewer targets and catches than he did a year ago.
For whatever reason, Cumberland just doesn’t make as much of an impact on the field as a man with his skillset should.
Collectively, no team in football has caught fewer touchdown passes than the Jets. They rank second-to-last in receptions and have compiled the third-fewest receiving yards.
Yes, Smith has looked downright terrible at times. He’s thrown far too many interceptions and he’s missed a few open receivers.
But how often are his receivers getting open? The Jets have shown an extreme lack of ability when it comes to creating space or making things happen.
Who to blame for the team’s issues is a bit of a “chicken or the egg” scenario.
While the receivers would probably be putting up better numbers with a more experienced quarterback, the argument could just as easily be made that Smith would be having a better season if he had more capable receivers to throw to.