A Modest Proposal
FLORHAM PARK, NJ – It is a melancholy topic to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabin doors crowded with depressed Jet fans.
The offense hasn’t scored a touchdown in nine quarters. In their four losses this season, they have scored a combined 18 points. Excluding the 45 points in New England, the defense gave up 29 points in those losses. In his last eight games, Mark Sanchez has 8 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
As the season dwindles down to the final three games, a time that is usually reserved for fine-tuning has turned into nearly a complete overhaul. To be frank, the Jets look flat-out awful on offense. And the time has come for a change.
Fire Brian Schottenheimer.
Certainly firing the team’s offensive coordinator is not that bizarre or sarcastic as Jonathan Swift’s request, but there is more madness to my method.
Hire former Denver head coach Josh McDaniels.
Now we’re talking bizarre. Or is it? The Jets offense has looked as lost as a poor Irish boy wandering the streets for food. Sanchez and his receivers have been on and off more than Bradgelina. His on-the-field relationship with safety-net Dustin Keller appears to be in shambles as they can’t even connect on a simple crossing route.
The Devil’s advocate may say to change quarterbacks, however a lot of time, money, and public love affairs between the front office and Sanchez has made that an impossibility — at least for now.
So the most obvious, and the most logical decision would be to let go of Schottenheimer.
A former college quarterback and son of Marty, Brian has developed a system made up of bells and whistles that is designed to maximize mismatches and generate favorable match-ups.
In theory, that sounds amazing. However, it requires a lot of motion for the playmakers and pre-snap analysis for the quarterback to make sure those mismatches can be utilized. For a second-year quarterback, this is just far too much to ask for.
Sanchez aside, Schottenheimer has gotten too cute with the offense. The Wildcat offense has been a sexy package that most teams have incorporated, but few teams run it (and with little success) as much as the Jets have recently. I realize he is trying to put Brad Smith’s skill set to full use, but just because one has 100 tools in his toolbox does not mean one must use them all to build a house.
Too often I have watched this team line up in five-wide sets, clearly showing pass. And too often I have watched Shonn Greene and Ben Hartstock run in to the huddle only to see what? A run to the loaded side of the offensive line. Whatever happened to the element of surprise? Apparently that has been lost in the cocky attitude instilled with this team. Ryan has said on multiple occasions that he prides himself in running the ball in running situations and passing in passing situations, as if to say “come and stop us”.
The running game has faltered. What was once a dominant area for the Jets, has showed a little less each week as the season has progressed. I don’t believe it’s because the lack of talent, but Schottenheimer not properly utilizing his weapons in the backfield. LaDanian Tomlinson, 31, doesn’t not have the legs to run between the tackles anymore, especially this late in the season. At this point in his career he has to be a change-of-pace back, much like how Danny Woodhead has been used in New England. Shonn Greene, like it or not, should be the feature back. He is the type of downhill, punishing runner that a Jets team is used to.
While I’m not impressed with the job Schottenheimer has done this season, I believe he should be given the season to pull himself out of the hole he dug his team in. But in meantime, general manager Mike Tannenbaum should be having preliminary talks with McDaniels.
As a head coach, McDaniels is considered damaged goods. But as an offensive coordinator he is considered a mastermind. He was the architect of the 2007 record-setting Patriots offense. And in 2008 he turned Matt Cassel, a man who hadn’t started a game since his senior year in high school, in to a Pro Bowler.
As a head coach in Denver, he perfected his mad scientist act. He took a dink-and-dunk passer, Kyle Orton, and transformed him into a 4,000 yard gunslinger. The guy is an offensive-minded Dr. Frankenstein.
He is young, brash, and confident. Those all happen to be similar character traits as Ryan, and I think he could appreciate his enthusiasm and work ethic. Plus, wouldn’t it be a nice dig to New Englanders to land their former offensive coordinator? McDaniels could offer insight into the Patriots organization and philosophies as well.
Think about it, New York. Time is running out on a season that promised dominance, both offensively and defensively.