Five short term solutions for the New York Jets so they don’t embarrass themselves for the rest of the 2012-2013 season. Check back later in the week for five long term solutions, so the Jets can be a competitive team in the AFC in the coming years.
1 – Use A Sensible Tebow Plan – The type of plan everybody assumed the Jets were going to use this summer. This offense is short on playmakers, particularly in the running game so there is a viable role for Tebow this season. Use him in every short yardage situation out of an empty formation. Let him run option with players that have speed like Jeremy Kerley and Joe McKnight. Lull a defense to sleep with him running a few times and then let him take a shot down the field. Stop lining him up at receiver or H-Back. He has zero value there and you are playing 10 on 11 in those situations. Turn him into your primary second rushing option behind Shonn Greene.
2 – More Jeremy Kerley, More Joe McKnight – Jeremy Kerley needs 8-12 touches on a weekly basis, regardless of whether or not defenses are keying on him. Take a look at how Green Bay uses Randall Cobb. They line him up in the backfield. He is in the slot. He is out wide. He is catching screens, going down the field and taking handoffs or pitches. Kerley should be doing the same thing in this offense. Give him 4-5 carries a week. Give a few wide receiver screens. They will be easy completions for Mark Sanchez and let Kerley make plays in space. As for McKnight, hopefully he gets healthy over the bye week. If he does, McKnight needs to get more carries and become a factor in the screen game, along with taking reps lined up at wide receiver. The Jets must utilize what few players they do have who can make people miss and have speed.
3 – Young and Varied On Defense – We have seen signs of this already but Rex Ryan needs to scrap the 3-4 as his predominant defense. The Jets personnel fits better this year with a 4-3 or 46 look, particularly when Kenrick Ellis returns healthy. At linebacker, the Jets simply can’t afford to keep playing Bryan Thomas major reps and Calvin Pace needs to see his time cutback as well. Give Marcus Dowtin more playing time. Get Antonio Allen in the box for certain looks. Call up Ricky Sapp from the practice squad. In the secondary, give Aaron Berry an extended look on the outside and in the slot. Cut back Kyle Wilson’s reps and cut back any reps that Ellis Lankster is receiving.
4 – Don’t Be Gimmick Shy – The Jets aren’t going to match-up well with many teams over their last eight games so a “kitchen-sink” approach is going to frequently make sense. Don’t shy away from the fake punts. Don’t shy away from Antonio Cromartie on offense. Don’t walk into games thinking you are just going to push teams around and play smash-mouth football because you don’t have the personnel for it.
5. Offensive Line Shuffle – Now is the time to make this switch, so there is extra practice time for the new front five to work together – move Vladimir Ducasse and Jason Smith into the staring line-up and get Matt Slauson and Austin Howard out. No more 1/2 and 1/2 for Slauson and Ducasse. You know he isn’t the long term answer and his level of play is comparable to Ducasse, so give Vlad 8 games here to see if he has any chance of being a long term answer. Howard has been below average all season and also isn’t a long term answer. Smith has first round talent and has been pretty good as an extra tight end. Give him eight games here, see if he could be better than Howard and if could be part of the equation going forward.