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Thread: Vrentas: Jets looking to return to ground-and-pound roots under Tony Sparano

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    Vrentas: Jets looking to return to ground-and-pound roots under Tony Sparano

    Published: Sunday, August 05, 2012, 5:00 AM

    CORTLAND, N.Y. — On the opening night of training camp, Tony Sparano delivered a clear edict to his offense: Let’s get physical. Certain elements of the new offensive coordinator’s system might be shrouded in secrecy — see Tim Tebow’s role — but the Jets have been entirely transparent about reclaiming their ground-and-pound roots.

    “We can lead this league in rushing again,” running backs coach Anthony Lynn said. “I have no question.”

    Last year’s failed early-season experiment to enhance their air game left the Jets as the 22nd-best run offense in the NFL, far off coach Rex Ryan’s preferred formula. The Jets led the league in rushing in 2009, and ranked fourth in 2010, marks they’d like to match again — albeit in a different way.

    After being a primarily zone-running team with Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan, Sparano is putting a greater emphasis on gap-scheme plays. He wants the Jets to thrive as a power running team, with the offensive linemen knocking defenders off the ball and the running backs plowing straight ahead at a designated gap.

    The Jets had great success as a zone-running team in the past, so Sparano has been careful not to discard that. All good running teams use elements of both zone and gap schemes. But the tell is — when it’s a crunch situation, what will the Jets dial up?

    The answer, Sparano says, is the gap-scheme runs that put their physicality front and center.


    “That’s what it is made for,” Shonn Greene, the designated “bell cow,” said.

    “To be physical, downhill, hit your head on the goalpost.”

    Zone runs ask the offensive linemen to move laterally, as the back reacts to the defense and chooses a crease among a few different reads.

    Gap-scheme plays, on the other hand, rely on the linemen driving back defenders and creating vertical push up the field, while the back takes off toward a single spot.


    There are benefits to both. But Sparano believes the gap-scheme plays best accompany his decree to be physical, by giving his linemen double teams at the point of attack and creating better angles and leverage against the defensive front. Zone plays, he explained, can sometimes isolate players in difficult one-on-one blocking situations.

    Sparano, a former offensive line coach, said his plan has been to create a system that fits the personnel, both on the line and in the backfield.

    Greene has fared well in zone schemes in college and his first three NFL seasons, but the 226-pound power back is no doubt well-suited for downhill, between-the tackles gap-scheme runs. Look for a lot of powers, counters and traps, Lynn said.

    “Shonn can run through the smoke,” Sparano said, using a favorite expression of his. “He is a guy who can get square, and he can make a hole. And when it looks muddy in there, he can run through it and all of a sudden create 3, 4 yards going forward. He is built right for that style of football.”

    Sparano has presented his plan for the run game to his players as a triangle, representing a hierarchy of the schemes they will use. True to form, he did not disclose how the triangle is organized. But he said gap-scheme plays account for the most significant slice.

    Thursday night, after a week of training camp, Sparano showed the offense tape from that morning’s practice of a handful of perfectly executed plays.

    He asked them to freeze a mental image of exactly how this system is supposed to look.

    “They’re starting to figure out what it is that we’re becoming,” Sparano said.

    Asked why the ground game will be more successful this year than last year, with largely the same personnel, Ryan pointed to both the run-first mentality and the different schematic emphasis.

    Last Sunday, Ryan was elated after the offense repped 22 straight run plays in the morning practice, calling it “absolutely terrific.” But Sparano has been careful to develop a balanced unit, and by his count has served up a near-equal split of run and pass reps, with a slight advantage to run.

    If the Jets returned to the 59-41 run-pass split of the 2009 season, when quarterback Mark Sanchez was a rookie, Ryan said any defensive-minded head coach would “love that.” But those numbers will play out week to week during the season.

    As the Jets learned the hard way last year, training camp is the time to forge an identity, and Sparano’s vision is unambiguous.

    “A lot more straight-hitting runs, coming off the ball and hitting them in the mouth pretty much,” fullback John Conner said. “We’re built for that.”


    http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/201...n_to_grou.html
    Last edited by C Mart; 08-05-2012 at 09:55 AM.

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    Thanks CMart

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    Thanks for posting.... Another great article from Vrentas.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mohegangreen View Post
    Thanks CMart
    Welcome. Jenny with another great article!

    Not to derail and get into a Vlad debate again on here, but this new scheme could suit Vlad better...Straight forward power...We'll see. It definitely seems to fit the 6th round pick RGriffin's strengths (as he develops)

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    Anything is an improvement over Schotty

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    Quote Originally Posted by C Mart View Post
    Welcome. Jenny with another great article!

    Not to derail and get into a Vlad debate again on here, but this new scheme could suit Vlad better...Straight forward power...We'll see. It definitely seems to fit the 6th round pick RGriffin's strengths (as he develops)
    May help the younger guys on the line and Shonn, I agree...I love a smashmouth running game

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    Blasting straight out, probably plays into the strength of the right side of the line. Dbrick and Slauson probably more zone type guys. However Slauson is a FA after this year, and if Vlad is being groomed at LG, it suits him too.

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    Our defense has to be as stout as in the past if not more so if we want to maintain the 'ground and pound' philosophy and we had better be able to successfully go downfield with the ball. If he Jets have the same success on passes over 20 yards as they did last year teams will stack the box every play and we will get beat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mohegangreen View Post
    May help the younger guys on the line and Shonn, I agree...I love a smashmouth running game
    Brick, Slauson, and even Hunter.. None exactly fit the definition of smashmouth...

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    It makes sense IMO. Beyond Wayne Hunter, IMO, every OL is capable of punching players in the mouth. Versatility is also a very good thing. So gap scheme, zone, and any other spin off under the sun should be used in this offense. It's what they do well.

    That approach also makes things much easier for the QB. Takes a lot of pressure off him. Schotty thought in year 4 that Sanchez was ready to be cut loose and it blew up in his face. Sanchez needs more time. He needs more time being able to hide behind the other weapons on the team. If he needs to use them as a crutch? Go ahead. That is what it is there for. To establish LOS superiority and then, eventually, start those play action and roll outs which expose the defenses overpursuit and worries about stopping the run. If you sell it right, it works like a charm.

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    Here's a question for the experts:

    Is the gap system more physically taxing on the OL players?

    The reason I ask is that with the notable exception of Mangold for a couple
    of weeks last year and Woody at season's end two years ago, our O-Line
    has been quite healthy.

    The worry, of course, is whether we have the depth for a sustained campaign
    of gap-style running game or whether we'll be witnessing an O-Line as
    thin as last night's scrimmage in mid-season.

    Don't mean to be so negative, but depth is what drives our physical defense
    and I just don't see the depth on offense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenGeek View Post
    Here's a question for the experts:

    Is the gap system more physically taxing on the OL players?

    The reason I ask is that with the notable exception of Mangold for a couple
    of weeks last year and Woody at season's end two years ago, our O-Line
    has been quite healthy.

    The worry, of course, is whether we have the depth for a sustained campaign
    of gap-style running game or whether we'll be witnessing an O-Line as
    thin as last night's scrimmage in mid-season.

    Don't mean to be so negative, but depth is what drives our physical defense
    and I just don't see the depth on offense.
    We've been thin on OL depth for years now. Now, we got rid of Robert Turner because he was coming off an injury Vlad Ducasse CAUSED. Point is, although we've been thin, we've remained healthy. Keeps your fingers crossed for the same thing to happen again this season.

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    i don't see why there is such a fuss over ground and pound or its apparent reliance upon the run game. what i see ground and pound being is a system where they will get the tough yards to move the chains whether it be by a run or a pass or whatever. many teams use the short pass game to achieve the same goal. the jets will need to go deep on occasion and here's to hoping that sanchez will throw into single coverage and let the receiver make a play. here's also hoping we will see more screens or passes to the f back or tight end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainejet View Post
    We've been thin on OL depth for years now. Now, we got rid of Robert Turner because he was coming off an injury Vlad Ducasse CAUSED. Point is, although we've been thin, we've remained healthy. Keeps your fingers crossed for the same thing to happen again this season.
    My gawd it's called football. Injuries happen. Bart Scott rolled into Jenkins a couple of yrs ago too, right?

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    Look for the return of the screen. It seemed like Schitty never called a Screen last year. Ball control eat the clock offense with the occasional long throw down field. I'm all for it. Keeps the Defense fresh.

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    Vrentas really is in a class of her own. Almost TOO good of an Xs and Os article. There's an intern in Foxborough who printed this out for the morning meeting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by C Mart View Post
    My gawd it's called football. Injuries happen. Bart Scott rolled into Jenkins a couple of yrs ago too, right?
    You are right! Thank you for posting the article. It was a great one. As usual some fans seem to think they know more then Sparano and Rex regarding NFL personnel. I will accept the coaches opinions until they are proven wrong! Seems to me Slauson and Hunter can play smashmouth football. I strongly believe that REX and Sparano think so too. I hope VLAD comes on strong this year! Ditto Austin Howard.

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    These guys will have to step it up. But Sparano is a huge improvement over Shoddy and will tailor the schemes to fit the Jets talents and attack/exploit the opponent's weaknesses. Smashmouth means controllng the line of scrimmage and bludgeoning the DL, he will prolly throw in a few wrinkles to keep the D off balance and churn out the yards efficiently. Good on you. Thanks Jenny baby.

    Roach $hit-meni and Manish GFYs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mohegangreen View Post
    Anything is an improvement over Schotty
    +1000000000000

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