Freddie Kitchens should make the New York Giants offense more vertical

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants have struggled to push the ball downfield this season. After twenty-six games with the team, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has finally been fired. The Giants made that decision yesterday after a disappointing 30-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

Daniel Jones has been throwing the ball deep at the lowest rate in the NFL this season. This is similar to last season. It was clearly time for the Giants to make a change, and make a change they have. Freddie Kitchens will take over as the Giants’ interim play-caller/offensive coordinator for the remainder of the season. This change should make the Giants’ offense far more vertical in its passing attack.

The vertical offense of Freddie Kitchens

Daniel Jones has attempted 331 passes so far this season. Only 23 of those passes have traveled 20+ yards downfield. That is only 6.9% of Jones’s attempts, ranking 36th in the NFL. Yes, 35 quarterbacks in the NFL are throwing deep passes at a higher rate than New York Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones. Comparatively, 13% of Jones’s passes have been thrown targeted behind the line of scrimmage. The Giants are throwing the ball backwards more often than they are throwing the ball deep.

Quarterbacks in Freddie Kitchens’s offense tend to have a high average depth of target. Under Todd Haley in 2018, Baker Mayfield’s ADOT was just 6.8 but shot up to 9.1 once Freddie Kitchens took over. According to PFF, Mayfield’s ADOT under Kitchens in 2018 was 9.6 yards, a very deep average. Kitchens again had him over 9 yards in 2019, averaging 9.2 yards ADOT.

Compare this to Daniel Jones’s first two seasons in the NFL. Under Shurmur in 2018, Jones’s ADOT was 8.4 yards. Garrett’s notoriously non-vertical offense in 2018 brought Daniel Jones’s ADOT down to 8.0 yards. Daniel Jones’s ADOT so far this season is down to 7.5 yards. One must assume that Freddie Kitchens will implement more vertical passing concepts and try to raise Daniel Jones’s ADOT for the rest of the 2021 season.

Baker Mayfield threw 72 total 20+ yard passes in 2018 and 76 attempts in 2019. Kitchens had him airing the ball deep frequently. Daniel Jones threw 54 deep passes under Shurmur in 2018, playing in only 12 games. In 14 games under Garrett in 2020, Jones threw far fewer deep balls, only 43 total. This is obviously a problem, especially when considering Daniel Jones had a 132.5 passer rating on 20+ yard throws last season, the highest in the NFL. Hopefully the promotion of Freddie Kitchens will lead to more deep passes from Daniel Jones and the New York Giants offense.

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