It might be late in the game for an entire overhaul of the offense. From airing it out, to grounding and pounding, to a recent attempt at balance, the Jets have tried almost everything in 2011. Except for a three headed attack out of the backfield. Which won’t require an arduous rewriting of the playbook on the fly, in order to do so.
BIG PLAYS FROM SPEEDY MCKNIGHT WILL EASE THE HEAT ON SANCHEZ
QB Mark Sanchez is in desperate need of confidence and rhythm. He has to be better. Perhaps using Joe McKnight as a Dexter McCluster type can help. The second year McKnight can give the Jets a chance for big plays both with some extra pitches outside, and bubble screens from the slot position. Going in motion towards a WR position after initially lining up in the backfield. All of which require little from Sanchez, as far as reading defenses and making tough choices go.
LET GREENE HAMMER, BUT USE HIM LESS
Shonn Greene can continue to hammer away inside. However, despite what the Jets brass will tell you when they say that Greene gets going once his numbers INCREASE, a few less carries will limit the potential of the nagging injuries that seem to plague Greene the MORE he touches the ball.
LT IS A VINTAGE CAR, USE HIM WISELY
LaDainian Tomlinson changes the pace in the screen game and in tough yardage scenarios, where both experience and vision become top priority. His recent MCL sprain though, may require the curtailing of any foreseeable heavy work loads. LT will be key in keeping drives alive, but like a classic and effective vintage car, must be used wisely.
NOTHING WILL HELP THE OFFENSE IF THE JETS DON’T OPEN IT UP
The switch to three instead of two won’t solve everything on. The notion of injecting more of McKnight only helps if the Jets ALSO remember to open up their passing game downfield. Stretching the defense has been the very reason why the eternally emerging TE Dustin Keller, has found little room to work in.
The unwillingness to try many deep throws stifles the Jets many quick slants and five yard outs. Predictable routes that have allowed defenses to pack it in, leaving no room for receivers Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley to run after the catch.
SHORT RANGE CAN WORK IF THE BALL IS SPREAD AROUND
After keeping teams honest by going deep, the Jets can take solace in knowing that teams CAN be effective when employing a predominantly short range ideology. Take Denver and Tim Tebow as even the most extreme example. Most plays nowadays in the Mile High city, start with footballs being tossed as options BEHIND the line of scrimmage. Yet it is anyone’s guess as to which Broncos ball carrier or receiver ends up with it.
GO DOWNFIELD, USE THREE RBs, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
So then, what should come first? Throwing downfield to guys like Holmes in order to back the opposing defenses up? Or should the Jets try to spring a few quick pitches and screens for yardage in order to utilize a Sanchez favorite, the play action, to go deep with purpose? Our answer is, it doesn’t matter which of the two is higher up on the scripted play chart. As long as both are tended to, and a potential threat, throughout the game.
THREE RBs WIDENS THE ATTACK WHILE PRESERVING GREENE, LT
Opening it up downfield is a must. Going with a committed three pronged attack out of the backfield is an idea for an offense that certainly needs a spark. What do the Jets have to lose by widening the line of scrimmage with McKnight? Adding his speed and carries to keep the oft injured Greene, and currently banged up Tomlinson, rested.
In order to survive long enough to even attempt a 5-1 finish, the Jets must get more out of Mark Sanchez AND go downfield already. Yet they should consider how a three headed rushing attack could aid in the process.