Dustin Keller Says Offense Getting Back to It’s Ground and Pound Roots
By Alan Schechter
May 24, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) looks to pass to tight end Dustin Keller (81) during organized team activities at their training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
One of our biggest complaints with the 2011 Jets, was the lack of an identity on offense. If you ask Dustin Keller, apparently that is not going to be a problem in 2012.
“Last year, we were more than anything a really game-plan specific team, so things may have switched from game to game,” Keller said. “You may see a heavy running game one game and throwing the ball 70 times the next. But I think we know who we are now: we’re a power football team that can throw the ball and we’re just trying to sharpen that up now.”
We remember 2011, where the Jets tried to open it up and become more of a passing team, then retreated back to their running roots, and didn’t do it so well. They even had 67 dropbacks against the Giants last season, out of 89 plays, unheard of for a Rex Ryan led team.
The result? The 25th ranked offense in the NFL. They will throw it, but a plan like that doesn’t sound like it is in the cards under new leader Tony Sparano. Keller talked about how Tony Sparano has preached that they are going to be physical from day one, and that having an identity will help the players with their comfort in the new system.
“Week in, week out, you know exactly what you are going to have, and the guys know what they have to do week in and week out,” Keller said. “Obviously every week you’re going to have to restudy the plays that are in and learn it all. But you know for the most part what you’re going to be doing. You’re probably going to be a little bit more comfortable with it.”
Coach Ryan was very careful in his press conference not to be critical of former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, stating that he did do a “tremendous” job. He did however, acknowledge how things changed last year.
“Last year, it wasn’t as good,” Ryan said. “I never thought we found a rhythm, especially earlier in the season, running the football. I think for us to be successful as a team, we have to be able to run the football. Sometimes is it going to be tough sledding? Absolutely. But that has to be who we are. It’s just kind of like us blitzing on defense, that’s who we are. Part of our identity is going to be to run the football and that’s going to open up our playaction game, going to open up our guys on the outside and that’s what we want to do.”
From all accounts, it sounds like they are “all in” with Sparano. Hopefully, it will turn into production on the field.