It seems to be a pretty safe assumption that once the general manager signing becomes official, Tony Sparano will be among the first coaches on the staff to lose their job. Heck, we all expected him to be fired already, despite the fact that there isn’t a general manager in place, leaving the speculation that there is a chance he will be retained. That chance is small, though, as wide spread changes are expected to take place on the offensive side of the staff especially.
Did anyone else realize that in the two years prior to Sparano’s arrival, the Jets were 13th in the league in scoring? That is twice in a row, the 11-5 season, and when they went 8-8. We all wanted Brian Schottenheimer out the door, we wanted a new direction. I am not going to say we didn’t. But, the numbers prove that Schotty wasn’t as bad as everyone made him out to be. He was just the unfortunate scapegoat in an offseason that change needed to happen.
So, how did Tony break this offense? He inherited a group of players that were just outside the top 10 in scoring for two straight years, and turned them into a group that was 28th. Yes, there were injuries, and not a lot of depth behind those injuries. But it was more than that. Tony Sparano, with all of the Rex-like bravado he came on the scene with, didn’t do a lot to help this offense develop and grow either. I pinned it down to a couple of bullet point topics:
Now, I am not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence here, I know on it’s face, that’s obvious. The offensive coordinator/playcaller needs to be creative in order to have success. That goes for any coordinator. But, for a guy in a situation like Tony Sparano’s, it becomes even more important. Why? Because creativity is your weapon to hide a lack of talent. When your roster is not as talented as you would have hoped for, you have to create your own success with that you have.
He played a lot of this season with Jeremy Kerley, Jeff Cumberland, Konrad Reuland, Clyde Gates, Jason Hill…..I can’t even continue, you know. Not exactly Rice, Taylor…etc. It was a group that lacked a lot. You could see it just by watching them play, these guys were not going to beat you by playing straight up. As a playcaller, you have to get creative to set up disguises for these guys. They are having trouble getting off of press coverage, for example, set up some bunch formations to confuse the defense, get these guys in different directions, so someone can get a free release? I don’t remember seeing that ever, and if we did, it certainly wasn’t often. How much did we the same formations over, and over, and over again? One receiver to each side, two on one, one on the other. He never game them a chance to get off the line with a little trickery.
If you can’t beat ‘em, fool ‘em.