Why is the Jets Offense Careless with the Football?


Nov. 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) on the field against the New England Patriots during the first half on Thanksgiving at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

As we wrote yesterday, Mark Sanchez said that this is “the million dollar question”. This offense has had this problem for a couple of years. More specifically, since the 2010 AFC Championship game, the Jets offense has had problems with turnovers. They have not been able to take care of the football. From the quarterback right on down, they have been a careless offense. Dropped passes, poor receiver routes, fumbles, and interceptions. They have run the gamete of these problems, the question is why?

Last year, Brian Schottenheimer was the scapegoat. Despite the fact that the Jets had gone to back to back AFC Championship games in the previous two years, and had multiple playoff appearances with Schotty at the helm of the offense, he was scapegoated. The offense needed a new direction. They needed a return to their identity, so Schotty was out the door. Barely hours later, Tony Sparano was being introduced, and was bringing back “Jets football”. The offense was going to be physical, running the football down opponent’s throats, and take care of the football. How did that work out? We still have dropped passes, fumbles, bad decisions, and interceptions. A change at the top was made, but the result has not changed. Why?

So what is it? The Jets changed wide receiver coaches, bringing in Sanjay Lal. But yet, the wide receivers still run bad routes at times, and have had dropped passes all year long. They never come back to the quarterback when he is in trouble, and sometimes it results in an interception. That isn’t getting better. Anthony Lynn still has a running back group that still has problems with fumbles. What’s the problem?

You could make an argument that it is the quarterback coach. Matt Cavanaugh has not done a lot in his position, to say the least. He has been Mark Sanchez’s position coach since he entered the league. Has Mark has times where he has played well? Absolutely, and you know me, I have been up there as one of the first to be sure and enumerate each and every one of those occasions. However, for four years, Mark Sanchez has continued to be careless with the football, either when running with it, or throwing it, especially in the redzone. The quarterback coach is MOST DEFINITELY part of the problem, and should be the first to go from this coaching staff.

But is there a bigger issue? I submit that there is, and if you turn the page, you will be surprised to read my answer.

Nov. 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) throws the ball against the New England Patriots during the second half on Thanksgiving at Metlife Stadium. Patriots won 49-19. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Sanchez is a big part of the problem.

Yes, regular readers of the JET Press, pick your jaw up off of the floor, I said it. No, I am not saying that he CAN’T get the job done, far from it. He still is far better than the backup quarterback, you all know my feeling there. But what I AM saying is that Mark needs to shape up a lot, because much of what he does is part of the problem.

First of all, he has to use his instincts, instead over over-thinking what he does. We have seen him at his best, whether in the heart of games, or leading come from behind drives in the past, when he plays on his instincts, he does an excellent job. He can make all the throws, and even sometimes the unexpected ones (ie back corner to Holmes in 2010 playoff game). Mark has a strong arm, and can be as accurate as anyone else. But at other times, you can tell that he is over-thinking. When Mark is under pressure, his feet start to get all over the place. They don’t set, and he doesn’t even appear to be sure of what he is doing. On one hand, it is understandable, because he has taken quite a few hits in the last couple of years. But, when this is happening, he starts to lock down on a receiver. He will force it to that receiver, no matter what the defense gives him, and that is when he runs into trouble. To be successful here, or any other spot he lands in, he must let his football instincts take over, because he has them.

Secondly, he needs to lead this offense on the practice field. That is more than just running his reps with the first team, it means getting on his teammates and pushing them. You can see evidence of his lacking leadership in his post-game press conferences. He is very nonchalant about the turnovers when they come up. “We’ve got to get better”. These are very bland statements, and they don’t say much about getting better. It doesn’t give the impression that he gets on his teammates, either on the sidelines or in practice. The great ones are always in the faces of their teammates, pushing them to do better. We have seen Tom Brady do it. Peyton Manning has not even been in Denver for a whole season, but you see him coaching up his teammates on a weekly basis. They lead. Quarterbacks have to lead, sometimes not just by example, but they have to be vocal. Mark is too quiet at times, he needs to lead them.

Why does this offense turn the ball over? Mark Sanchez is a big part of the reason. Can he correct it? Yes, but he had better start soon. His days in New York may very well be numbered.