Jets Have Plenty Of Questions To Answer On Offense
Through six weeks of the season the New York Jets (3-3 ) statistically have one of the worst offenses in the National Football League. Check out some of these numbers:
Yards per game: 297 #29th
Passing ypg: 216 #23
Rushing ypg: 80.8 #31
Time of Possession: 28:37 #26
QB Hits Allowed: 31 #21
Sacks Allowed: 15 #22
Add in the fact that the Jets started the last two games with 4 three and out series and it is no secret that Gang Green needs to find some answers on offense. Lets take a look at some of the biggest issues that the Jets are facing.
Sanchez regressing? Quarterback Mark Sanchez is off to a slow start which many attribute to a lack of a true offseason, some offensive line injuries, and the fact that he had to get used to new receivers (Burress, Mason, Kerley). While the previously listed issues definitely hindered Sanchez’ development and ability to make plays, there are also some new concerns for the young signal caller.
Mark Sanchez is clearly uncomfortable in the offense and is starting to stare down receivers, make bad reads, and become somewhat erratic with his throws. Often Sanchez is checking down to the safety valve instead of taking advantage of man-to-man match-ups where his receiver has broken free. The end result is a ineffective, predictable offense which leads to several questions. Should the Jets simplify the offense to make reads easier for Sanchez? Has the early offensive struggles shaken Mark Sanchez’ confidence? Is Sanchez regressing in year 3?
Where is the ground and pound? The New York Jets running game, once the foundation of the offense, has been non-existent for the majority of the season. Some of the struggles can be attributed to the injury to Nick Mangold and the caliber of defenses that the Jets have faced. Going forward Gang Green, with their starting offensive line intact, must find a way to get back to their physical running game which will wear down the opposing defense and open up the passing attack. Far too often running backs are fighting linebackers for hand-offs therefore the offensive line must do a better job at consistently winning the battles at the line of scrimmage.
Predictable play calling- It is no secret that the New York Jets offense is out of sync as the numbers and performances don’t lie. Gang Green is struggling to consistently move the ball and put points on the board. Has the play calling become so predictable that the opposing defenses know what to look for? Earlier in the season LaDainian Tomlinson hinted that defenses have deciphered the Jets run schemes and know what keys to look for. If that is the case the Jets need to do a better job of self scouting and find new ways to establish their ground game.
In terms of the passing game, Mark Sanchez seems most comfortable in the “two minute offense”, but yet the Jets rarely use it. Why not put the quarterback in a system where he feels most comfortable? Once Sanchez gets in rhythm then you can slow things down for him. In addition the play calling fails to take advantage of Plaxico Burress’ size, especially in the red zone. Why not use the fade pass to the corner of the endzone? Why not some post up plays?
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer needs to do a better job of utilizing all of the team’s weapons and becoming less predictable. When it gets to the point where fans can call the plays from their seat, things have to change.
Summary- The Jets must find a way to become more productive on offense if they want to have any type of chance to make the postseason. If the Jets go over 24 minutes in a game without a first down against the likes of the Chargers, Bills, and Patriots they will get blown out of the building. Now is not the time to get cute on offense (halfback passes), it is the time to find what works and continue to use it until the defense stops it. Hopefully for the sake of a successful season, this happens sooner rather than later.