Each team has its own blueprint for success. The formula that they need to follow on a week-to-week basis to win games. You may tweak the gameplan for individual opponents to take advantage of match ups and minimizes weaknesses but your formula stays the same. On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills the Jets showed their blueprint and it’s a pretty good one. On both sides of the ball the Jets are built to win the line of scrimmage battles and everything else feeds off of that.
Offensively the Jets are going to run in order for them to be successful, but they way they accomplish it is different from what we are used to seeing. With offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, a teacher of the West Coast Offense (a predominantly passing offense), the Jets are going to pass to set up the run. Most teams are going to stack the box with 8 defenders, daring them to throw the football in an attempt to take away the running game. That is pretty standard especially when game planning against a rookie quarterback. The Jets will come out throwing most weeks and take deep shots down the field when they see one on one match ups on the outside. Once they have established that they can strike with a big play at any time teams will adjust and play their safeties deeper which will open up the running game. The Jets only had 58 of their 182 rushing yards in the 1st half but then were able to dominate the line of scrimmage in the second half, controlling the clock and extending drives. In all three of their games so far the Jets have won the time of possession battle having the ball for 32 minutes or more each game. Run the ball, protect the quarterback and allow the creativity of the offensive coordinator to shine through all by winning the line of scrimmage on offense.
Defensively the Jets are built to stop the run first and foremost. This year they have completely shut down three excellent running backs in Doug Martin, Stevan Ridley and CJ Spiller. Martin and Spiller are both the kind of backs that would have given the Jets problems last year because of their ability to make people miss in space and to be a dual threat catching the ball in the flat. This year’s team has no problem setting the edge and attacking the line of scrimmage. Damon Harrison’s emergence as not just a serviceable backup but a top-rated defense tackle in the league has helped stopped the run. Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, Ellis, Wilkerson, and Douzable’s work in the middle has opened up huge lanes for linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis to make plays. Stopping the run makes the opposition one-dimensional. Once teams realize this they will have to throw and the biggest difference between this year’s team and years past is that the Jets have a very good pass rush. Instead of having to get their pressure from exotic blitzes drawn up by Rex Ryan (they still do) they can get conventional pressure from their defensive line. Against Buffalo the team recorded 8 sacks but more importantly the sacks came from 7 different players. The blueprint is to stop the run, get teams to 3rd and long then attack the quarterback looking to force mistakes.
As the year goes on the youth on the roster will develop and the team will improve on both sides of the ball. There will be bumps along the way but don’t lose hope because they are built to win where it matters most, in the trenches. If they stay committed to their blueprint they will give themselves a chance to win each week and that is all you can ask for in this league.