Overhaulin’ the Offense

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

This week, Rex Ryan and the jets coaching staff are looking for answers on how to improve this offense for the second half.  Here’s some  suggestions we have for changes.

Scheme Change — The Jets desperately need to make the Wildcat and/or option a bigger part of their offense.  The point of the Wildcat/option offense is to give the offense a one man blocking advantage in the running game and the Jets have sputtered in getting their running game going so far this year.  The Jets would have been wise to use it more against tough opponents like the two they just saw who are known for their run stopping abilities … but that’s neither here nor there.  From what we’ve seen of the first half, the question is whether or not Tony Sparano truly understands how to run the option — or at least if he does, why Rex won’t let him do it properly.  Right now, this is such a small part of the offense, they should consider devoting at least an eighth or up to one quarter of their offense to the package.

Plus/Minus — While there’s reasons why certain players are starters and others aren’t, it doesn’t mean that some of the backups don’t deserve more opportunity to get involved.  It’s fair to say that Shonn Greene is playing better, but still lagging badly at the running back spot and so the Jets should consider giving more carries to a soon to be healthy Bilal Powell.  While Dustin Keller is just coming back off injury, it’s obvious that his centrality to the offense is key.  But did you know that Jeff Cumberland has been one of the most inefficient catching tight ends in the league?  From a quick look over at the Football Outsiders (RB, TE, WR) website, here’s some of the backup skill players the Jets need to involve more in their offense: Bilal Powell, Chaz Schilens, Clyde Gates.  Meanwhile, here’s some players who the Jets should consider moving away from: Shonn Greene, Jeff Cumberland and Patrick Turner.

Running Through a Brick Wall — The Jets have had a tough time finding identity in running the ball, but they need to consider running behind D’Brickashaw Ferguson more.  Football Outsiders notes that while they run a vast majority (62%) of their plays behind Mangold and Moore, they are most effective in runs behind their left tackle (5.27 Average Line Yards) and which they only do 9% of the time.  It’s possible that the sample size is bad, but for all the runs does behind the center-right of their line, they’re not getting almost a full yard less (4.28 Average Line Yards) per rush there.  While it would seem that Mangold and Moore would be the best pl

Run That Gun — Everyone talks about Tim Tebow and his role in this offense.  We’re done holding our breath but the simple answer to the problem is not found in the sublime, but the ridiculous.  The coaches want more success in seeing him run the ball, but are afraid to let him throw it more, so to get better results in the running game from him, they should let him throw it more.  ‘Why?!?’ one might ask, but the answer is simple and we’ve been harping on it for months.  If Tebow gets to throw the ball downfield more, then he’ll be more much more effective in running the ball as the safeties won’t crowd the box as much.  The Jets should consider letting Tebow run the ball as many as 10 times a game with at least three plays where’s he’s encouraged to haul it deep.

Right Under Their Nose – Joe McKnight is the team’s only true change-of-pace back on a roster filled with guys like Greene, Powell, Hilliard and yes even Mr. Tebow.  To most effectively run the Wildcat, the team needs to use a player with more lateral agility.  McKnight typically has it, but as he battles his ankle injury, it might not make the most sense to use him in that role as he tries to recover.  If McKnight isn’t ready, then the Jets need to consider using what experience or ability their roster already provides.  Jeremy Kerley played in TCU’s “Wild Frog” and did see some time in the role out of the backfield last season and so the Jets should consider re-inserting him back into that role, even if it means taking away some other duties, like punt returns.  Kerley played the role passably in 2011, but needs to hone when to pitch and when to turn upfield in the option.  Kereley has a tendency to wait a second too late.  When Brad Smith was with the Jets, he was a master of knowing the precise moment to pitch or cut.  If the team is concerned about taking Kerley off the line, then they might consider a squadder like Jordan White, who is more quick (4.13 shuttle) than fast (4.60 at Pro Day) and is fully recovered from his spring injury.  White is said to have a good second gear, which is key for a pitch back in the option.  White is still learning the intricacies of playing receiver at the NFL level, where working against jams and in running precise routes can still cause some problems for him.  Still, his body type (6-0, 210 lbs) is more like that of a RB, which might make him an interesting addition to the active game day offense as a keep or (more likely) pitch back.