At this point, it’s difficult for the Jets to gauge what the Bills might incorporate on offense Sunday besides the obvious: They know there will be change.
Something needed adjusting after Ken Dorsey was fired and quarterbacks coach Joe Brady was promoted to interim offensive coordinator, but the exact logistics — and the exact tendencies — of Buffalo’s new-look unit remain unknown.
They could go back to the simplest formula offense that worked, such as peppering wideout Stefon Diggs with targets or letting Josh Allen log designed quarterback runs.
Quinton Jefferson told The Post he thinks they’ll try to establish the run with James Cook and Latavius Murray, eliminating pressure for the rest of the unit. It’d be similar to the Raiders under interim head coach Antonio Pierce last week, when they favored running back Josh Jacobs.
The pivot to Brady added an element of mystique to the Jets’ defensive game plan for the Bills, and it also forced them to analyze information from Brady’s last stint calling plays as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 and 2021.
Cornerback D.J. Reed said the Jets watched Carolina film from those years Thursday.
Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said the Jets’ analytics staff, led by director of football analytics Brian Shields, dove into Brady’s play-calling habits with the Panthers, compiling as much information as possible.
“Not necessarily the plays,” Ulbrich said Thursday, “but how the game was called.”
That approach helps, but Jefferson said he doesn’t want to focus too much on the analytics.
Reed said there’s only so much the Jets can do until the “first 15,” once they get past the scripted portion and can dive into their iPads between possessions.
The Jets, for the second consecutive week, will face a fresh offense — with the Raiders making their changes a week before their meeting — and this time, it’ll come against a dangerous unit that still ranks near the top of statistical categories.
“We really don’t know exactly how he wants to call the game because this will be his first game on the Bills and calling it,” Reed said, “so we just gotta wait and find out and play.”
The last time Brady served as offensive coordinator, he worked under then-head coach Matt Rhule with the Panthers following Rhule’s jump from Baylor and Brady’s leap from LSU, where he won the 2019 national title alongside quarterback Joe Burrow as well as wideouts Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson.
The Panthers ranked 21st in yards per game, 21st in rushing yards per game and 18th in passing yards per game in 2020. Those numbers dipped the following season, and he was fired after 12 games.
While the information from Brady’s Panthers days could assist, the Jets have tried to account for Brady’s evolution as a coordinator since that tenure, coach Robert Saleh said.
Working with Allen is a lot different than working with Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater.
The Bills don’t have running back Christian McCaffrey or anyone resembling the dynamic now-49ers star at the position.
Brady, as a young coordinator, could easily mold his philosophy and shape it with different perspectives — “nuance and some change,” according to Saleh.
“I would imagine that he’s going to create an entirely new identity as opposed to what his Carolina stuff was,” Saleh said.
That’s where the guessing begins. Jefferson observed how the Bills turned to the run in a loss to the Broncos on Monday, with Cook — the young brother of Jets running back Dalvin Cook — averaging 9.1 yards per carry and Murray filling in with 68 yards when Cook was benched following a fumble.
In Week 9, the Raiders featured Jacobs with a season-high 27 carries against the Jets, one more than their previous game to start Pierce’s tenure as interim coach with a new play-caller.
The most effective way to simplify a game plan — on a short week with a coordinator change — would be to turn and hand the ball off, Jefferson said, but Brady didn’t reveal many details when addressing reporters Thursday. He said that every game would be different.
That has turned Sunday into the ultimate game-planning wild card for the Jets.
Even with their analytical and film preparation, the Brady-led offense remains a difficult projection for a defense that has stabilized Gang Green through the first nine games.
“Honestly, I don’t care how they call the play or what they call,” Jefferson said. “If you’re asking me, all I do is I’m locked in on my keys.
“If I get too much into analytics and trying to play plays and stuff, that when I, me personally, get thrown off. So I keep the same approach.”