New York Jets Staff Must Embrace Adaptability in Order to Compete


Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word adapt as follows:

to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose.

We can apply that directly to the game of football. Great teams can change as a game is going on, to adapt to what the other team is doing, in order to stay competitive in the game they are in.

Over the last few weeks, the Jets have started the games off as world beaters. However, as the games have gone along, the Jets have been unable to finish teams off. Their opponents have crawled back into the games, and eventually topped the Jets in each of the last three.

One of the biggest reasons falls on the Jets coaches. Specifically, the lack of the ability to adapt to the circumstances going on in the game. Let me tell you what I mean

Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back

Chris Ivory

(33) carries the ball as Detroit Lions defensive tackle

C.J. Mosley

(99) tackles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Ivory looked like a man possessed on the first drive this past Sunday. On the opening drive, the Jets bruiser ran the ball nine times for 51 yards, nearly six yards per carry. Chris was running like he was mad at the grass, and it looked like the 2009 Jets.

Did they pound the rock to Ivory. No! He didn’t carry it again until 10:59 left in the second quarter. The rest of the game, Ivory only carried the ball eight more times for 33 yards, barely four yards per carry. Chris was out of the flow of the New YOrk Jets offense.

Yes, it’s a committee at running back for the Jets. Yes, Chris Johnson ran for a touchdown late. But, when you have a dominating running back, and he is running well, you give him the rock until the other team stops him. 51 yards on one drive should have been well on the way to a 150 yard performance. Nope, not for Marty and the Jets. Stop mixing things up, run the ball when it’s going well, and play Jets football.

Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver

Golden Tate

(15) carries the ball as New York Jets inside linebacker

David Harris

(52) tackles in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Golden Tate had a huge game on Sunday against the Jets. Heck, let’s be honest, the Jets made Golden Tate look like Jerry Rice last week. Tate caught eight passes for 116 yards. Tate is a nice player, but is he great? I guess against the Jets secondary, everyone is.

As I watched the tape back, I noticed that the Jets were in man to man coverage a lot. Most of the game, actually. The Jets didn’t vary the coverage and the looks much, making it far easier for Matthew Stafford and company. Rex Ryan and his defense work best with lockdown corners. He doesn’t have them anymore. He has to throw in more zone looks, and more confusing looks up front to make up for the lack of corners.

Rex has to adapt more to the players on the Jets roster.

Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback

Geno Smith

(7) carries the ball against the Detroit Lions during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Lions won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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And then there is the curious case of Geno Smith. Sometimes, you can “adapt” too much.

Geno Smith had a fabulous game for the Jets against the Raiders. Following that, Geno has had his moments that have made people remember last season all too well. Some have been calling for Michael Vick, which we have talked about at length to this point.

The Jets had drives on Sunday, such as the first one, where Geno Smith just had to manage the drive, and nothing more. There were others, where the Jets success hinged on Geno Smith’s right arm. Marty Mornhinweg has to decide what he wants from Geno Smith. Does he want Geno to manage the game, make the throws when he has to, aka Alex Smith? Or does he want to open up the playbook? Trying to do it too many different ways will stunt Geno Smith’s development, and cause bad results for the New York Jets.

Being able to adapt is a big part of being a successful coach. The Jets staff needs to embrace that concept, and soon.