Fast Pace Will Lead Jets to Success in 2012
By Alan Schechter
The Jets became a slow team in 2011. We all saw it. The offense had no rhythm, no pace, and the defense uncharacteristically got beaten on the edge.
The Jets were slow, and they did everything slow.
There is a saying that goes for any type of performance medium, be it sports or performing arts. It goes, “You perform the way you practice”. Or something like that, but that is the idea. The point is, if practice is anything like how the Jets will perform, then the slow, sluggish pace is a thing of the past.
Watch them at practice this summer, if you haven’t seen them in minicamp yet. Or even if you have. Everything about the practice is about keeping the tempo up. That is actually something you hear repeated many times, “Rhythm and pace, rhythm and pace”. Over and over again. Now, they are preaching the opposite.
Even things that are as seemingly simple as getting out of the huddle, they are preaching up tempo. No aimless wandering, no screwing around, get the play called, and get to the line.
This will make the Jets more successful, especially on offense.
First with the issue of rhythm.
The Jets offense had none in 2011. We saw it so often, and too often. Offensive play is at its best when it gets into a really good rhythm. Similarly to baseball pitching. Have you ever noticed that when a pitcher is going really well, he doesn’t have the baseball in his hand for a very long time? He doesn’t screw around behind the pitching mound, play with his hand, he doesn’t do any of that. He gets the ball, and throws it.
Same thing with an offense. The whistle blows, the offense gets the play, and they get to the line. This is what the Jets are preaching. The offense can only benefit from doing more to establish a rhythm.
Secondly, it keeps the defense on its heels.
If the offense is getting to the line of scrimmage quickly, it limits the possibilites for defensive substitutions. That can lead to advantageous matchups for the offense, such as linebackers on wide receivers, passing defenses in on running downs….etc. Always a positive to have the wrong guys in.
A lack of opportunities to substituate on defense leads to a tired defense. Simply put, when the guys are in more plays, they will tire faster. This will lead to missed tackles, blown assignments, and things of that nature.
Finally, it can lead to penalties, such as too many men on the field. If the offense is up on the line, and the defense is rushing in substitutes, that will often take too long and the offense can get the ball snapped with 12 defenders in the game. Who can argue with a free five yards?
Now you are probably thinking, “Why is he spending time on these items? They are obvious for one, and secondly, they aren’t major.” I agree on both accounts. If you follow football, these benefits to keeping up the tempo are obvious. They certainly are small, compared to major issues like blocking and completing passings.
So why make the fuss? Sometimes the obvious and the small make all the difference. This is especially true when talking about football. There isn’t a lot of difference between great teams and not so great teams, with a few exceptions of course. But generally speaking, winning and losing these games comes down to a play or two.
The small items such as keeping the tempo moving on offense might make that difference.
If it can, I am all in.