Jets Offense Must “Identify” Itself in 2012


June 14, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano speaks while quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) looks on during minicamp at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Previously we discussed how the Jets defense must improve by being able to set the edge.  Today, we turn our attention to the offensive side of the ball.

What do all great offenses have in common? Who was the Colts offense? Peyton Manning and his right arm, and everything else came off of that. Who is the Patriots offense? Tom Brady, and the rest branches off.

Look at the Giants. What are they? A downfield passing team. What were the Jets in 2009 and 2010? An offense that was based on the strong running attack, and play action passing that played off of that.

What do all of those, as well as any other great offense you can think of, have in common? You could easily identify what they are about. They had an identity, and worked hard at performing well based on that identity.

For us, it played out in the statistics. Turn the page and see.

2009, Rex and the “Ground and Pound” came to town. Mark was a rookie, so they didn’t want to give him too much to do, so they stuck with that “identity”, and it paid off, to the tune of the leading ground attack in the entire sport, and a trip to the AFC championship game.

They stuck with it in 2010, and although defenses had started to learn the Jets ground and pound philosophy, they did it pretty well for themselves. They were fourth in the league in rushing, won 11 games, and another trip to a title game.

Then, last year. Oy vey, last year. 8-8.

What happened?

They bring in wide receivers, and attempt to air it out. The problem was that the Jets didn’t have the players with the skill set to do that. They basically were putting the proverbial square peg into the round hole.

And it didn’t work.

The vaunted Jets running attack dropped all the way down to 22nd in 2011. No running game, change in record to 8-8, and no playoff appearance.

The Jets would make the argument in 2011 that they wanted to play week to week, and define what they are going to do based on their opponent.

That doesn’t work. If your plan fluctuates that much from week to week, you don’t really become good at anything. If one week you are grounding and pounding it, and the next week you are trying to be the “greatest show on turf”, all of a sudden you are mediocre at everything.

Henceforth, the 8-8 record.

The solution? As we have said time and time again this offseason, the Jets have to get back to what they do best. They must “identify” their strength, which is running the football.

That makes Mark better, it makes the defense better, it makes everyone better.

In life, when you know your strengths, and can identify them, it makes you a stronger person. Same in football, as a team.