I have been reading a lot around the net and sports publications about how the Jets will depend on the “Ground and Pound” offense. Much of it has been of the negative nature, with critics attacking Rex Ryan’s love of an “antiquated” offensive philosophy. Many claim it will never work in the “New NFL” with its high-powered passing game. The most frequent argument is that the Jets’ offense will never score enough points to keep up with their opponents. I strongly disagree and I want to tell you why.
The Jets have a formidable backfield, consisting of Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory, and Bilal Powell. On the surface it appears the Jets are set up to pound their opponents to open up the pass. While that is absolutely one way they could go, let’s face it, the combination of Johnson and Ivory promises to be a powerful one two punch in the run game. To fall into the trap of just thinking the Jets are a ground and pound unit however, is a huge mistake.
Chris Johnson is a multiple threat and with his age creeping up on him, expect Marty Mornhinweg to get Chris out in space a lot! We’ve already seen him line up as a receiver during camp, as he has a great set of hands and is a danger to take it all the way when he gets into the open field. We’ve seen him turn the burners on and easily turn the corner before linebackers can seal the edge. One missed tackle could be all it takes for Johnson to rack up some impressive runs. Mornhinweg’s “West Coast” style offense is a perfect fit for Johnson at this point in his career. We’ve only seen a glimpse of the playbook to this point, and its certain to have plenty of wrinkles designed to get the most out of Johnson in the run and passing games. Johnson’s speed and elusiveness will be an exciting thing to watch, none of the doldrums of the ground and pound from this guy.
His counterpart, Chris Ivory has proven he is more than capable of running hard up the middle and carrying defensive players with him to gain yardage. He’s also elusive enough to break it open and chew up big chunks of yardage. Ivory also possesses a good set of hands, expect him to get more involved in the passing game as the Jets mix it up a bunch to keep teams from “stacking the box” against the run. Ivory is without a doubt built to ground and pound, but he’s not a one-dimensional back either.
Bilal Powell is also a versatile back. He will most likely be designated as the “third down” running back, but expect to see him mixed in the rotation as well. Powell can provide a great change of pace, and allow the other backs a breather to keep them fresh for later in the game. Mohrnhinweg loves the screen play, we saw more of it this preseason then we’ve seen from the Jets in a long time. Expect a heavy dose of it during the season as well. Our offense was limited last year with a rookie QB, with Geno Smith’s apparent development I expect the Jets to open things up.
Then of course you have Geno Smith. Last season he was thrust into a starting role, and he obviously wasn’t ready for the starting job. This season we have begun to see a different Geno Smith. He appears much more comfortable in the pocket and with the offensive scheme. During camp and through camp you could see the maturity developing, he was going through his progressions much quicker, and completed around 70 % of his passes. He decision-making appeared to get much better, and the turnovers disappeared. Credit Michael Vick if you will, but I believe Smith put in the work this past winter and came into camp wanting to prove his many critics wrong. With a new confidence and some new weapons, Geno is set up to succeed.
The Jets will use the ground and pound philosophy when its appropriate, but that isn’t what they are all about this season. Mornhinweg will open up more of his playbook this season, having a more diverse backfield, a more trustworthy QB, and a set of tools at his disposal. Will it all be good, probably not, but it sure promises to be different from last year’s conservative play calling.
Kickoff is just around the corner. How do you see the Jets offense? Is it to chug along with the ground and pound? Let me know what you think. That’s what this site is all about to me…your opinions…let;s hear them Jet Nation!