Jets Focused On Improving Passing Game

Florham Park, N.J.- Everyone expected the Jets to win however many games they would win because of their defense. The defense hasn’t been as dominate as expected though, so the offense has had to step up to everyone’s surprise and win a couple of games themselves.

Before the bye week the players were asked if they thought the offense could ever reach a level of dominance that this Jets defense is usually known for, to a man they all felt very confident they could reach that plateau.

However as good as the offense has looked at times, it has looked equally inept at other times. The biggest thing holding this team back is consistency and sloppy mistakes. Sanchez needs to be more accurate on an every pass basis, his receivers need to catch balls that hit their hands (It doesn’t matter if there’s a monsoon going on) and most importantly they need to cut out the self-inflicted penalties.

This is hardly news to Rex Ryan or his players.

The Jets are hoping for a consistent improvement, from the entire offense, every time Mark Sanchez drops back to pass. (Jetsinsider.com Photo).

Ryan said, “I think offensively, (we need to) be more consistent (and) make the plays that are there. I think we’re doing a good job in pass protection. I think we’re running the ball, but I still think we can run it better. I also think that our passing game can really improve. That’s where I think you’re going to see us make some strides in the passing game, whatever that is.”

Sanchez pointed out the improvements the offense needs to make saying, “The sky is the limit for the group that we have. If we hit one of those days where I’m hitting it 70 percent or something like that, it’s going to be deadly. I think it’s just going to take a little more focus, even more attention to detail and just getting back to the fundamentals that got away from me. If I don’t throw those two picks, then who knows? Those could be scoring drives and that’s more points on the board, more catches for our wideouts and just more opportunities. Just taking care of the ball is primary, and then we’ll get this thing going again.”

Continuing the emphasis on his completion percentage Sanchez said, “I’m never making excuses. The rain, obviously, doesn’t help, but it just has to get better. I have to be more accurate. I have to be more in-tune with our guys, what routes they’re running, how they are adjusting and that’s coming with the more experience that I get with them. It’s only going to get better and that’s good. I’ll take the blame and it’s my job to improve, so I’ll do that.”

On thing Sanchez loves about his weapons is the chemistry they have and are building a foundation on. “I think the longer we’re together, the better we’ll mesh. Things are coming together well. I like the way Santonio’s (Holmes) been able to add to things.” Sanchez said, “I think it puts defenses in a tough spot where they have to figure out if they’re going to match a corner and if they’re going to match Santonio or Braylon (Edwards), and then let J-Co (Jerricho Cotchery) run free on the inside. Our tight ends (are) not too bad either, so it’s good for us. Then, when things break down, you get LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) and Shonn (Greene) sneaking out of the backfield. That’s perfect for us.”

“I think its the balance of the team. That’s what we’re focused on right now and I don’t think anyone individual guy is going to stand out on this team, but number six, because he’s the guy that we want to put in front of the team and he’s going to lead us.” Edwards said, “But as far as, you know, coming down to stats and being where you need to be, nobody’s concerned about that. We just want to make plays and hopefully win this ball game and every game week in and week out.”

Sanchez confirmed that he did indeed spend plenty of his off week looking at game tapes, specifically of what he did wrong in that Denver game and he knows it’s vital that he continues to clean-up his mistakes.

Sanchez said, “That’s what the off-week (bye week) was for, to evaluate some of the mistakes you made in the first part of the season. I’ve definitely done that and will look to improve some of those things, but it’s already almost two weeks ago. We won the game, and that’s the most important thing. I’m always going to improve, whether it’s from five touchdowns or five picks, just try to get better each week and keep improving.”

One of the easiest ways for the passing game to improve and become more consistent is to make sure they get Santonio Holmes involved into an early rhythm. After practicing with him all this time Sanchez knows how explosively dangerous Holmes can be.

Of Holmes Sanchez said, “Big play ability. He’s a guy that can stretch the field and run underneath routes. He’s like the hybrid between J-Co and Braylon, with some pretty good wheels. It’s exactly what you would want in your receiving corps, three guys that really compliment each other, work well together and bail me out all the time. I’m in a good position up front with the linemen, and an even better position with the wideouts, so it’s good.”

Sanchez has liked what he has seen from Holmes so far as he starts to implement himself into this offense and likes the progress he continues to make. “I thought he did a great job these first two games he’s been back. He’s understanding the system even more now that he’s playing. The sky is the limit for him.” Sanchez said, “We didn’t want to overload him those first two games, but now he’s really starting to get a good feel for things, so we’ll use him as much as possible. It’s just a great rotation with those three guys, then to have Dustin (Keller) inside too is perfect.”

Ryan expects for Holmes targets to increase, but he says it’s like everything else with this versatile team, it will depend on what’s the best match-up for them to exploit. Ryan said, “I expect him to get a few more opportunities this week. But again, we have such a mix that some weeks it could be that he gets more than Braylon (Edwards) or he gets more than Jerricho (Cotchery). That’s what’s great about having the kind of players we have. Is it Brad Smith? What are you going to get? That’s what you like. Just like on defense. Last week, because of who we were playing, you saw Trevor got a lot more snaps than maybe Bryan Thomas did. Each week, that’s going to change.”

Holmes admitted it’s been a big adjustment for him, not just because he is on a new team in a new scheme, but because he is used to being one of the more targeted players, he isn’t frustrated by this or complaining, but he does acknowledge it’s taking sometime to get used to.

“(It was) definitely a big adjustment. After going for four years as being the starter, you kind of have to sit back and have to realize.” Holmes said, “My job right now, I think a lot of the receivers know, is to be those guys’ second pair of eyes on the sideline. They come to the sideline. I talk to them, tell them what they did wrong on that particular play, if the quarterback was off (and) the things that we don’t see as receivers on the field that happen in the backfield. I’m being those second eyes for those guys and I think I’m playing the role pretty good right now.”

If the Jets can fulfill these goals they are talking about they will only become a much more dangerous offense, the key though is consistency. It’s not good enough to show flashes of greatness or turn it on and off for different games. The Jets need to get into the habit of playing consistent mistake-free football and inflict all the damage they are fully capable of on their opponents.

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