Jets offense lacks explosive players
By BRIAN COSTELLO
Last Updated: 5:42 AM, December 28, 2011
Posted: 1:26 AM, December 28, 2011
As Victor Cruz ran 99 yards down the field to the end zone on Saturday, there had to be plenty of thoughts running through Jets fans’ minds. If we could place comic book thought bubbles over their heads, most would probably look like this: “@#$!”
But there had to be just a few watching No. 80 for the Giants who wondered, “Why don’t we have a player like that?”
Cruz showed just what an explosive player can do, turning a 10-yard hook route into a 99-yard, game-changing touchdown. If you look at the Jets’ roster, they don’t have a player like him.
The Jets are about as explosive as a church Bingo game.
While the focus this week has rightly been on quarterback Mark Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the criticism also must extend to the Jets’ front office. This was a flawed team from the start. It was just hard to see beyond coach Rex Ryan’s bluster at the beginning of the year (anyone remember his prediction for Derrick Mason to catch 90 passes?).
General manager Mike Tannenbaum put together a roster without much team speed and without a deep threat for Sanchez to throw to. The Jets have just two passes for more than 40 yards all season. Of the 33 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 14 passes per game, no one has fewer passes over 40 yards than Sanchez. Part of that falls on him, part of it on Schottenheimer, but it also points to a flawed receiving corps.
Teams have taken away Santonio Holmes this year with double teams. The Jets let Braylon Edwards walk (five catches of more than 40 yards in 2010) for Plaxico Burress, who has shown no ability to separate from defenders. He can out-leap them in the red zone, but he is not much of a weapon between the 20s. The Mason experiment bombed before Halloween, and Jeremy Kerley has a long way to go.
The lack of explosiveness was never more evident than Saturday against the Giants. Despite throwing 59 passes, Sanchez did not complete one longer than 15 yards. According to ESPN research, he went 0-for-8 with two interceptions on passes longer than 15 yards.
You can’t win like this.
Some of it falls on Schottenheimer for not dialing up more deep passes. He’s enamored with slant passes, which led to the Giants’ seven batted balls. But if he had confidence in someone stretching the field, he would likely call a deep pass at least once in a while.
One unknown aspect is Sanchez’s health. The Jets swear he is fine, but this is also the team that lied about Brett Favre’s injury in 2008. It would not be surprising to learn after the season that Sanchez’s neck and shoulder are much worse than we have been told. He has looked like he was in pain the last two weeks.
On Monday, Ryan admitted his chief concern offensively is improving their quick-strike capability.
“I think producing more big plays down the field ... I think that has to be an area of concern,” Ryan said. “In the past, we’ve been able to hit some big plays in the passing game and we haven’t been able to do that this year like we’ve done in the past. ”
In the off-season the Jets need to focus on finding some speed on both sides of the ball. Next year, running back Joe McKnight deserves a bigger role to show what he can do. He has shown flashes this season on special teams, offense and even defense.
But there are not many other answers already on the roster. The Jets need to scour the free-agent market and the draft class to find some impact players.
Two years ago, Cruz was there to be had. The Jets never even placed a call to his agent.
All we can say to that is: What the @#$! were they thinking?
IT'S TIME TO DRAW THE LINE
The first play of the season was an omen of what was to come for the Jets. Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware beat new right tackle Wayne Hunter and sacked Mark Sanchez.
And so it began.
The offensive line has been a major problem this season. Saturday’s game was another example as it gave up five more sacks. The Jets have allowed 37 sacks with one game to go, the most they’ve given up since 2007. After that season, the Jets remade their line by bringing in Alan Faneca and Damien Woody.
It looks like it is time to do that again because the line has been a huge factor in this up-and-down season. In the Jets’ eight wins they’ve given up 12 sacks. In the seven losses, that number is 25.
Every member of the line had at least one mistake this week. Hunter, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Matt Slauson all gave up sacks. Brandon Moore had three penalties. Even Nick Mangold bounced a snap off his leg.
The line was a strength of the Jets for the past three years. Now, they need to rebuild it.
A HEAD START
It’s never too early to start thinking about April’s draft. According to ESPN, right now the Jets would pick 19th based on tiebreakers.
Looking at the players Mel Kiper has slated on his “big board” in the area the Jets are picking, there are a few who stick out as potential targets.
Alshon Jeffery, wide receiver: I don’t expect the Jets to bring Plaxico Burress back. Jeffery might be gone by the time the Jets draft, but the 6-foot-4 receiver from South Carolina would be a fit.
Cordy Glenn, tackle/guard: Georgia’s 348-pounder is projected as more of a guard in the NFL, but he has played tackle.
A trio of outside linebackers: Bryan Thomas is likely done as a Jet. Aaron Maybin is a nice, situational player, but the Jets need to find a starting linebacker. Ronnell Lewis (Oklahoma), Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) and Zach Brown (North Carolina) are all ranked by Kiper in the Jets’ range.
Wow, I think that's the best article I've read about the Jets offensive issues. LT and Plax need to be replaced with younger, faster options (Jeff Demps, Kendall Wright, Jarius Wright, etc) and McKnight needs more touches. Obviously the team has a lot of other holes to address (RT, OLB and safety), but I view this as equally as critical. Our offense has turned into the Miami Dolphins, for God's sake
Funny how Costello fails to mention that Braylon had been injured for the most part during his forgettable 49ers tenure but hey....Let's not let FACTS get in the way of your story. Right, Brian? :rolleyes:
And all I'm getting from it is the word you used :
Doesn't mean they will, though. Especially not when Schittyheimer is pretty much out the door. Jets MUST find out what they have with Sanchez with 2 years on his rookie deal remaining(a FACT that escapes Myers along with any other intelligence he claims to have).
Unless we're planning on Trading Sanchez outright, there will be no Peyton Manning on the Jets.
Haven't we learned that lesson of getting Aging Superstar QB's already with the Favre fiasco?