JETSerious: Sparano’s Strategy and Team Chemistry


Although game planning and team chemistry involve the offense and the defense, we’re going to narrow it down to the offense. Besides, there’s not much to complain about with the defense.

Recently, the defense has stepped up. Even without Revis, they still look to be in sync and communicating well with one another.

The offense? Not so well.

With a ground and pound offensive mentality, it’s important to have one of two things… a strong offensive line to open up lanes for a backfield of committee, or a decent o-line that can benefit from a star running back.

The Jets fall into the category of “backfield of committee”. You know them… Greene, Powell, and McKnight.

Last week in Jacksonville, Brandon Moore took a stand at halftime and got the rest of the offensive line to move as one. Moore’s motivation was the main reason the run game was so effective during the second half… and ultimately led the Jets to a victory.

Shonn Greene doesn’t look so bad when the o-line dominates. Bilal Powell suddenly seems to be a great change-of-pace back when he’s healthy… but the credit goes to the o-line, and rightfully so.

So what’s the key to success?


Now that Brandon Moore has stood up, wh0’s going to be next?

My eyes are on Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.

All year I’ve been waiting to see these two quarterbacks come together and celebrate their team’s success.

We’ve seen a glimpse here or there (with a head-butt during pregame or a celebration after a touchdown) but what ever happened to “Tebowing”?

I’m laughing out loud, because I could’ve sworn Tebowing was the biggest thing in football less than a year ago.

I’ll be honest, if you asked me if Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow would both be a part of a touchdown once before week 15, I would’ve said no… more than once! But Tony Sparano has failed to come up with a creative play that had both Mark and Tim on the field.

Sparano can do better. His play-calls involving Tebow indicate that he’s just an idiot. Most of the time, It’s a direct snap to Tebow, who takes it up the middle for an insignificant gain.

What about a halfback toss to Tebow, with the option to run or pass?

What about having that direct snap to Tebow become a screen pass to Sanchez instead of a predictable run up the middle? If you throw a screen to Sanchez behind the line of scrimmage, the defense gets caught off guard, and Sanchez could throw it deep.

These are just two examples of how to utilize Sanchez and Tebow simultaneously.

After hiding Tebow’s role all pre-season, you’d think that Sparano would come up with something along these lines, if not better. He’s had all offseason… not to mention, all year, as teams have shown their cards when Tebow’s in the game.

It’s mid-December.

Since March, Sparano has had time to come up with ways to involve Tebow in the Jets offense.

Now, I just thought of those plays on the top of my head… and they’re more creative than Sparano’s? It’s absurd, and could eventually cost Sparano his job as the OC of the Jets.

Creativity will bring this offense success. You might ask, how so? Well the right game plan can take care of that.

Let me explain…

It’s crucial to game plan around the strengths of your quarterback (or in this case quarterbacks).

So what are their strengths?

When Sanchez is under center, majority of the plays need to be designed runs. Play-action passes mixed in with the run game will keep the defense off balance.

When Tebow gets the snap, he needs to be in the Spread Option. We’ve seen him run it well in the past. More recently, we’ve seen RG3 and Cam Newton break off long yard runs because they’re able to trick the defense. The defensive end is forced to choose to attack either the quarterback or running back. If he picks the right guy, it’s typically a small gain (assuming tackle is made). But when he picks the wrong guy…. Look out.

I know Tim Tebow is not Cam Newton or RG3, but I’m talking about the field of vision when the play is executed correctly.

Adapting an offensive system to the quarterback (and not vise-versa) makes it difficult for a defense to force turnovers. Right now, the Jets are turning the ball over more than the defenses are creating takeaways. If u don’t change, don’t expect change. That’s right… I’m talking to you, Sparano.

Your play-calls involving Tebow indicates that you lack creativity. Most of the time, it’s a direct snap to Tebow, who takes it up the middle for an insignificant gain.

  • Try a halfback toss to Tebow, with the option to run or pass.
  • Turn that direct snap to Tebow into a screen pass to Sanchez (instead of a predictable run up the middle). If Tebow throws a screen to Sanchez behind the line of scrimmage, the defense could get caught off guard, and Sanchez could throw it over the top.

These are just two examples of how to utilize Sanchez and Tebow simultaneously.

We can also capitalize on opponents, by drawing their defenders on our “predictable” run up the gut, and beat them with efficient route combinations that underneath coverages have difficulty defending.

Put a huge emphasis on in-game adjustments.

  • How did the defense react?
  • How can we counter that reaction?
  • Is there a linebacker on Kerley? If there is, have him run a “jerk” route. They call it a jerk route because the receiver runs an out route and when the defender runs with him, the receiver makes a cut in the opposite direction making the defender look like a jerk. The receiver is often open on a jerk route. Especially in this case, matched up with a linebacker.

And last but not least…

  • Always have a game plan ready to turn to in the run game.

The Jets have actually done some of these things that are listed above. But with the game on the line, it seems like we turn the ball over more than doing any of the things on this list.

It’s easy to say what “shoulda, coulda, woulda” been done before and after the game, but the in-game adjustments are what create big plays. Mismatches can really expose a defense. Blown coverages happen from time to time, but a defense caught off guard will often have trouble communicating…and miscommunication in the defensive backfield will usually lead to a a touchdown for the offense.

In-game adjustments will also create 1-on-1 match ups. For example, if a linebacker is on Kerley and Kerley beats him for a nice gain, then the defense will probably give a double-team look the next time around. This is where you counteract. If Kerley is double-teamed, that means Braylon Edwards or Dustin Keller are 1-on-1… and that’s the number you’d call the next time around.

You see, it’s really a game of adjustments. One of the reasons it’s so frustrating to watch the Patriots is because I’ll notice a mismatch, favoring the Patriots, and they take advantage of the mismatch. I’ll be screaming at the TV, and Tom Brady is picking his poison.

Anyway, my point is that if the Jets and Tony Sparano make changes on and off the field, it’ll give this offense a spark. On and off the field, meaning game plans off the field and adjusting that game plan during the game on the field.

Again, it’s easier said than done, but Sparano is fighting for his job.

Let’s see some excitement with this offense… something that’ll make Mark celebrate like he did here, in his rookie year.