OC Watch: Ranking Up the Candidates

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

The Jets are facing a major crossroads this offseason.  Do they try to rehabilitate their shaken quarterback, or forge ahead with a new identity?  More often than not, if there’s a question as to whether or not a team’s quarterback is “the guy” … then he’s decidedly NOT “the guy.”  Generally the answer is plain, either he is or isn’t … there’s no middle ground.  Even so, the Jets have made inquiries into a guy known for working with less rather than more since joining the NFL, David Lee.

In four years, the Jets have had some great moments, but they’ve come for Sanchez with a lot of help and he’s seemingly unable to do it with less than the very best around him.  So for the Jets, they know are going to be faced with some hard decisions about the black hole that has become their starting quarterback spot.  To this monster decision facing the Jets this offseason, the New York Times had a fantastic post about whether Mark Sanchez should be considered a “sunk cost” by the Jets.  In large part that argument will be framed up by whomever the Jets tab as their new offensive coordinator.

Since the Jets are busy yesterday and today interviewing three candidates for their coordinatorship, we’ve tried to rank them up for you … add your thoughts in the comments section!

1. Marty Morhinweg — I can’t believe I’m ranking him up at the one spot … but here he sits nevertheless.  With Morhinweg, it’s a function of his steady and long production in Philadelphia under Andy Reid.  While he was in Philly, he never had much of an offensive line to work with, but continually churned out solid passing offenses and in recent years a surging running game.  MM has run the Philly offense since 2006 and has done a solid job with multiple quarterbacks.  Morhinweg is a West Coast disciple so would put an emphasis on timing routes, footwork and rhythm in conjunction with an emphasis on short and medium passing routes.  While they’ve deployed wrinkles with guys like Vick and McNabb, overall it’s a system that is heavily reliant on the quarterback and his ability to create first downs through excellent communication and feel with his receivers.
Implications: On first thought, the West Coast seems like a style that Mark Sanchez should be able to thrive in.  Coming out of school he was lauded for his footwork, his accuracy and his poise in the pocket.  Unfortunately what we’ve seen more from Sanchez is the opposite.  He’s inaccurate,  has struggled in the pocket and worst of all, been utterly indecisive with his throws — that is unless he’s telegraphing a pass.  Morhinweg would have his work cut out for him and unless Sanchez is crisp this spring, might be altogether out of the running for a starting job by camp.

2. Pep Hamilton — Of the bunch, he’s the young hotshot with ties to the Jets.  He’ll be the most intriguing and sexy prospect of the group, and rightly so.  Hamilton also is known to run a West Coast system with similar tenets to what Morhinweg runs, but he’s been the beneficiary of working with a resurgent Stanford team.  Hamilton was Luck’s OC/QB coach during his senior year at Stanford, so while Hamilton will get some credit, Luck was already what everyone expected by the time that Hamilton got a hold of him.  Even so, Hamilton didn’t do anything to mar Luck’s prospects as he went through his senior season.
Implications: I think there’s many similar things to what we wrote above for Morhinweg, but I also get the sense that Hamilton would be much firmer with the team’s quarterbacks than maybe either of his two predecessors.  Sanchez might be a veteran on this team who’s been to two AFC Championship games, but he needs someone to break him out of his bad cycles and Hamilton might be the guy to do it.

3. Cam Cameron — Cameron was once considered one of the most brilliant offensive minds when he took over as head coach of the Dolphins, but it’s been a long slide since those days and he’s never had the same talent to repeat his shining moments in San Diego.  Even so, he’s had a good offensive line and some talented players in Baltimore, but never been able to duplicate his efforts.  The evidence seems to be stacked against him.  He was fired off a team en route to their AFC Championship run this season.  He’s had only one top ten offense in his four years in Baltimore.  He’s over-reliant on the Air Coryell deep ball, and I don’t ever think I’ll ever be able to get past this.  Cam Cameron was one of the biggest influences on Brian Schottenheimer, who took his scheme and added more elements of stacking receivers and dividing the field into layers to attack.  I don’t know if Cameron is the right answer to the Jets problems.
Implications: If there’s one bright spot, it would be that Mark Sanchez would be wholly unsuited to running this type of an offense.  A full-on Coryell attack would have a heavy emphasis on power running and would command the quarterback to throw deep balls to force defenders to – in fact – defend the whole field.  Unless Cameron modified his offense, Mark Sanchez does not have the arm strength to properly run this sort of system and it would be quickly apparent that he’s unsuited to the task.