One of my absolute favorite WRs this year is DJ Chark. A no-show his rookie year, DJ played on average 40% of the snaps and had a dismal stat line of 14 REC on 32 TGTs for 174 yards. He also missed the last 6 games of the year with a thigh injury.
Per usual, many people wrote him off after his poor rookie year. DJC came back last year and posted a stat line of 73 REC on 118 TGTs for 1008 yards and 8 TDs. He was the WR8 overall through week 14. He also sustained 2 QB changes during this time and was still able to keep consistency.
In week 14 he sustained an ankle injury & was not able to get his groove back. He missed week 15 and finished the year as the WR16. Before the ankle injury, Chark saw a team-high 24% of the targets & 35% air yards. Both would have been top 12 amongst WRs. (Credit: @GrahamBarfield)
When Minshew was QB, Chark led the Jags in first down, third down, red zone, and deep targets.
Not sure why some are still fading DJ Chark.
For all practical purposes, Gardner Minshew was just as good as Kyler Murray last year playing 2 fewer games.
(Photo Credit: ProFootballRefrence)
According to PFF, Minshew received a passing grade of 70 while Murray received a grade of 61.1. I am not trying to say that Minshew is better than Murray, but people are acting like this guy is a scrub and he is not. He can play with the best.
Minshew also led the NFL in deep-ball passer rating with a 129. He also received the 9th best grade when under pressure. Gardner Minshew can play.
What does all this mean for DJ Chark moving forward though...?
Jay Gruden is probably the best thing to happen to the offense (from a coaching aspect) and the fact that the Jags keep trading away their starting defense. In Gruden's play-calling career, he has always singled out his WR1 and fed him targets like crazy.
Jay Gruden first got to call plays in Cincinnati where he had AJ Green. His 3 years there, AJG received TS% of 23.5%, 30.4%, and 30.3%. Typically anything over 25% is phenomenal usage and yields very high WR1 numbers. From 2014-2016, McVay called the plays in WSH, not Gruden.
In 2017, Gruden started calling plays again except this time he did not have an alpha WR1. In 2017 the TS% leader was Crowder (20.2%), in 2018 it was Jordan Reed (19.4%), and last year in 2019 is was McLaurin (22.5%). Yes, McLaurin is a WR1 but there was subpar QB play.
On average, the leading receiver on a Gruden-led offense has received a TS% of 25.4%. This is excellent usage to produce WR1 numbers. Now this year he has a true alpha again in Chark and a much better QB in Minshew than Keenum or Haskins.
Gruden was also quoted saying he would like to move Chark into the slot a lot more and that he is "only scratching the surface of his potential." Gruden said that he hasn't been able to find a weakness in Chark's game. He is the total package. (Credit: Jags Wire, picture.)
With the recent release of Fournette and the trades of Ngakoue and Harrison, the Jags are shifting to a more pass-heavy offense. The defense is also not nearly as good as it was a few years ago and I fully expect the Jags to be in a negative game script most of the time.
Many are treating Chark as a WR2 and some even a WR3.
Don't make this hard on yourself, this guy is the Jags offense.
DJ Chark is a WR1.
Respect the name, or be bitten by the Chark.