The Importance of the Offensive Line for the Jets in 2012


July 29, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) calls an offensive play at the line of scrimmage during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

Before we hit the game tonight, we are going to talk a little bit about the upcoming season, picking up on a discussion from the Flight 5 Live show last night. The discussion was about Mark Sanchez, and how good he really is.

Bart Scott said this week, that he thinks Sanchez can take the next step here in 2012 and become a top ten quarterback. Mark Sanchez agreed, as he should. He should not down play his own abilities.

The crew on the show, took the view that Mark Sanchez isn’t at that level, and made a good case on that. They talked about his inconsistencies, his happy feet in the pocket, which are all true. They went on to talk about that he might actually make the offensive line play worse at times with the lack of stepping up in the pocket.

All of these are valid points, not diminshing them at all. I want to take a different look this afternoon. We are going to talk about how important the offensive line really is, both to Mark Sanchez, and to the Jets as a whole if they are going to have any success in 2012.

On the next page, we will talk about the line and how it relates to Mark and the passing game.


A lot of talk is about how Mark Sanchez doesn’t take a lot of shots down field. Mark Sanchez’s game is about a lot of “dinking and dunking”, completing 5-10 yard passes. This is true, but the question is why.

Pass routes take time to develop. Say Santonio Holmes is going to run a 15 yard in route. Between getting off the line of scrimmage, fighting off the bump and run coverage if there is any, getting to his spot and cutting, you are talking about three seconds, approximately. Mark Sanchez has to have the time to drop back and make the throw. He has to have the time to allow the route to develop. If the pass rush is in the backfield within 2 seconds, the only way he can avoid a sack is a dump off pass to an outlet.

Everyone wants the Jets to have more vertical passing. Stephen Hill was brought in to do just that. But again, that has to have time to develop down the field. If you want Stephen Hill to get 40 yards down the field on a go route, for example, Mark can’t get it to him if guys are in the backfield in two seconds. It just won’t happen.

It all breaks down when the offensive line isn’t playing well.

And Sanchez is not the only guy to have happy feet due to pressure. They all do it. Yes, the elite step up in the pocket better than the rest, but they don’t like pressure either. If you think back to the games that the Rex Ryan Jets have beaten the Patriots, how did they do it? Pressure on Brady up the middle. Brady had happy feet on those nights as well.

It all breaks down when the offensive line goes. That’s why it’s the key to 2012.

Let’s look at the running game next.


2009, the Jets lead the NFL in rushing. Ground and Pound is the way for the New York Jets. What was the known strength of the New York Jets? The offensive line.

You had Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, and the line was a force. Some of the names have changed, but the importance of the line has not.

People talk about Shonn Greene not being an every down back. If you read my posts, you have seen me defend him as an every down back. He performed well in 2011 when the Jets won, and even as an 8-8 team, he did rush for over 4 yards per carry.

In order for him to take the next step, the line has to play well. Emmitt Smith in his prime would not look good behind the Jets offensive line of 2011, or from the first week of preseason 2012. If this continues, the Jets will be Grounded and Pounded.

As we said before, everything breaks down when the offensive line does.

That is why the offensive line is the key to Jets success in 2012.