The Draft has finished and the 2014 season is in it’s infancy. As with the draft it’s always fun to speculate on who will play, how often, and in what scenarios. I’m looking at the types of free agents brought in, the types of players drafted, and the types of offense run by the offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, and match it against what he tried to accomplish last year, and might try to accomplish this year.
Offense is the name of the game. If you think the Jets haven’t already started brainstorming about this years opponents, I think they have already assembled a roster specifically to win the early part of the 2014 season. In the first half of the season the Jets face extremely productive offensive teams like Green Bay, Detroit, and Denver. This doesn’t include Chicago, and San Diego which I think are a shade below the aforementioned. The Jets were 27th in total offense last year, and 31st in points scored. If you add up the anemic offense, and the points that are going to be scored in those five games, you are looking at best at a 3-5 record at the start of 2014. How does that play into players brought in, playing time, and formations? I’m glad you asked.
If you look at this offense, it is primarily a keep away offense. The whole design is based on keeping the offense on the field as long as possible, and keeping the defense rested, and the points down. The base formation looks like it could be 50% two tight end sets with Jace Amaro as the primary, and Jeff Cumberland as the 2nd tight end. This set would allow the Jets four receiving options, while still being a running based formation. It also allows Amaro to do what Idzik tried to get Cumberland to do last year, and that is move around in motion and split out wide for some easy mismatches. Nothing fancy just throw to the mismatch. Easy for Geno, and keep the chains moving.
The addition of Chris Johnson not only gives them a home run threat, but the ability to keep pounding the ball, and chew up more clock. When Johnson’s not doing it, Ivory could be. It’s all dependent on how the defenses are reacting to the run game. If the run games not working the passing game could be a boon, even with two tight end sets, as Johnson and Ivory can both be used on screen plays, and I mean a lot. Whatever it takes to get the ball out of Geno’s hands early, and into the hands of a playmaker for positive yardage.
Lastly, I’m going to go into the traditional 3 wide 1 back set. This is 1 tight end, 1 running back, and 3 receivers. The Jets can and will use this formation a lot, because it’s fairly standard. The thing now is that with Jace Amaro as the primary tight end, the Jets will be able to split him out wide and turn 3 wide sets into 4 wide sets. This creates flexibility in bubble screens, overload formations where Geno Smith only has to work his way through half the field. It also creates larger running gaps for the single back with the defense spread out. Guys like Ivory and Chris Johnson will benefit from less clogged and stretched out defenses.
How do the Jets combat the high scoring offenses the first half of the 2014 season? They don’t, that’s how. You don’t try to match great offenses point for point. You try to keep them off the field, dominate the time of possession, and maximize scoring opportunities. I think this team is already set up to do that. The scores might be lower, but prepare for Jets offenses to be on the field longer this year, than in any year in recent memory. Time of possession and no turnovers will equal victories. Instead of 3-5 the first eight games, you could see a 5-3 record with only 2 playoff teams the remaining 8 games.