It's time for the NY Jets to end the Dalvin Cook experiment

Dalvin is Cooked

NY Jets, Dalvin Cook
NY Jets, Dalvin Cook / Elsa/GettyImages
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The NY Jets didn't sign Dalvin Cook with the expectation that they would be getting the prime version of the four-time Pro Bowl running back. Cook was signed to help ease Breece Hall's workload early in the season and provide additional running back depth in the form of an experienced and accomplished veteran.

Unfortunately, through two weeks, Cook has looked like a shell of his former self. More specifically, he's looked like the 2022 version of himself that finished as the least efficient running back in the NFL.

Cook's decline has been as noticeable as it has been predictable. The 28-year-old ranked dead last in the NFL in RYOE (rushing yards over expected) last season. A player who was once one of the most dynamic running backs in football is now little more than a low-end RB2 at best.

The numbers this year tell a very similar story. Cook is averaging an ugly -1.71 RYOE per attempt this season — the fourth-worst total among all running backs with at least 10 carries.

RYOE isn't a perfect stat, but it does take into account offensive line and defensive play. Those can't be used as excuses — especially when compared to his teammate Breece Hall.

Dalvin Cook has been really bad for the NY Jets so far in 2023

Hall leads all NFL running backs in RYOE with a stunning 5.8 RYOE per attempt. No other player in the NFL has more than 3.42 RYOE per attempt. Only one other is even above 3.0. Hall is far and away the most efficient running back in football through two weeks.

The Jets legitimately have the best and arguably the worst qualified running backs in football on their roster right now — and guess which one of them is receiving the majority of snaps?

It's not just RYOE that shows Cook's decline, either. The former Minnesota Vikings running back ranks near the bottom in pretty much every statistic/analytic.

Out of 45 qualifiers, Cook ranks 40th in yards per attempt, 41st in Pro Football Focus rushing grade, 36th in yards created after contact, and 25th in elusiveness rating. Every metric shows that he's one of the worst running backs in football right now.

Cook's subpar rushing ability could be overlooked if he was competent in other areas of the game, but that's never been his specialty. Cook has routinely struggled with drops, fumbles, and pass protection over the course of his career.

No running back has fumbled more times than Cook over the last four years. He's dropped an ugly 21 passes over the last four years as well — again, one of the highest marks in the NFL. His 16.7 pressure rate allowed also ranks dead last among running backs with at least 30 pass-block reps.

Those have always been problems for Cook — none of that is new. In the past, however, he was able to make up for it by being one of the most dynamic and explosive running backs in the NFL. That dynamic ability is gone now.

Cook is bad in short yardage and doesn't have the explosiveness that he once did to be a home-run threat every time he touches the ball. Combine that with his fumble, drop, and pass-protection issues, and there isn't much he provides to the team at this stage.

Dalvin Cook is a net negative for the Jets. It would be easier to overlook the small sample size of this season if it wasn't for his very noticeable decline in efficiency.

Just watch Cook's tape from pre-2022 and compare it with his 2022 or even 2023 film. It's night and day. If numbers aren't your thing, watch him play.

Cook is a shell of his former self and does not provide significant value to the Jets. The team would be much better off giving his snaps to Breece Hall, Michael Carter, or even rookie Israel Abanikanda.

Unfortunately, this decline was predictable. The Jets fell for fool's gold, and they've paid for it so far this season. It's time to make a change.

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