Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan (left), owner Woody Johnson (center), and new head coach Todd Bowles (right) pose for a photo during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets cleaned house to kick off the off-season by dumping six-year head coach Rex Ryan and their 2nd year overly frugal General Manager John Idzik. Their replacements came quickly in the hiring of Mike Maccagnan as GM and Todd Bowles as head coach.
Todd Bowles is a former defensive coordinator, like Rex Ryan, and although he says he will be intimately involved in all sides of the football, it is safe to assume the defense will bear his fingerprints. On offense, the Jets have brought in spread offense guru Chan Gailey as offensive coordinator to replace Marty Mornhinweg and his take on the West Coast Offense. So what will these new Jets look like and what will the new game plan be?
Next: The New Offense
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) in the first quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
The New Offense
Going from a West Coast style offense to the spread offense is not an innately huge fundamental shift, especially when considering the deep play Mornhinweg peppered into his scheme. However, in Rex Ryan’s time with the Jets he forced a heavy reliance on the run game on every offensive coordinator that coached under him. As a result, the Jets have been a run first and often team for the past six seasons.
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A spread offense still utilizes running backs but not in the traditional power format that the Jets have been utilizing. In the new look offense of the Jets, running backs will take the ball in spread out sets likely with a tight end and slot receiver and will have to show patience as lanes open up. There of course will be power sets, most likely for goal line situations, but more often than not the Jets will utilize four legitimate pass catchers on the field at once.
The main offensive goal of the spread offense traditionally is to open up the seams giving ball-carriers room to make defenders miss. While the West Coast offense focuses on chipping away at the field with short plays the spread offense focuses more on the intermediate plays with deep play options readily available.
Statistically, Jets pass catchers should see an increase in yards per catch while Jeremy Kerley (or Percy Harvin if he is retained) and Jace Amaro should see more field time and more attention in their positions.
Fundamentally, the differences between the outgoing offensive system and the incoming one are fairly minor, but there is a factor that will change things up. Both Todd Bowles and Chan Gailey are coaches know for scheming around the talent they have. Bowles especially is adept at finding ways to play to players strengths while hiding a rosters weaknesses.
Chan Gailey is man known to get the most out of his quarterbacks, and considering that Gailey will most likely have a young signal caller (either Geno Smith or a rookie QB) his spread offense (which is considered more of a college system) will allow for easy adjustment and give whoever is taking snaps under center the best chance to succeed.
Next: The New Defense
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets free safety Calvin Pryor (25) reacts against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The defense is a little harder to predict since Todd Bowles is a man known for adjusting a scheme to his players. It will all come down to what kind of players the Jets snag in free agency and in the draft. Currently, the strength of the Jets roster on the defensive side of the ball lies on the defensive line.
The linebacker corps is serviceable at the moment but age is starting to become an issue with this unit. The secondary was the Achilles Heel of the Jets defense last season and without a doubt, their biggest concern moving forward.
Depending on what the roster looks like next season, and who the opponent is on a week by week basis, we could see almost anything under the sun. Bowles is known for playing players outside their positions, meaning we could see Calvin Pryor in as a linebacker for some snaps if Bowles sees some attributes that will help in that position against a certain opponent.
One can imagine that if the secondary remains as weak as it is we will likely remain a predominantly 3-4 base defense and blitz a lot less. If we get some solid reliable cornerbacks in free agency the Jets could start using some 4-3 looks (putting Damon Harrison in a favorable position to get some big stats).
Next: The Main Point
Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new head coach Todd Bowles speaks during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
The Main Point
The big takeaway for next season is that management has hired a coaching staff that will find ways to play to players’ strengths while hiding weaknesses. Considering that bad scouting and continued misguided efforts in free agency for many years have left the Jets a talent starved team, this is the best thing for them.
There are simply too many holes to fill with only one free agency period and one draft. However, if enough is done by the front office in free agency and the draft, Todd Bowles and the coaching staff assembled can find away to put a quality product on the field through scheming away deficiencies and play to player’s strengths. Essentially, the new scheme is scheming.