New York Jets – How To Handle Offense In Final Five Games

How the New York Jets should handle their offense in the final five games of the 2012 season

In case you haven’t noticed the New York Jets offense is awful. Truly, almost indescribably awful. It is the lethal combination of mediocre talent, poor coaching and a lack of organization. The result is consistent failures in short yardage and the red-zone, turnovers, penalties and of course…ass-fumbles. Yet, there is still five games left to play. Five very winnable games against similarly poor football teams. How should the New York Jets approach these games to both remain competitive and be productive for their 2013 season? Let’s take a position by position look –

Quarterback – Whether you want to accept it or not, Mark Sanchez is going to be on the roster next year because of his contract. Hopefully a competent veteran is brought in to compete with him. Tim Tebow didn’t play when he was healthy. He isn’t going to play with broken ribs. He isn’t going to be team’s quarterback next year so get the idea of him starting out of your head. The wisest course of action is to have Sanchez play out the string and hopefully take steps towards improving and building some type of momentum towards next year. The only way we are going to see Greg McElroy under center is if the Jets lose their next three games. At that point, particularly if Sanchez continues to struggle it would be wise to give him a look. Although Jets fans need to taper any kind of expectations for him, he was a seventh round pick for a reason and hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in his pre-season opportunities.

Running Back – Unlike at quarterback, the incumbent starter isn’t going to be back next year. The Jets are going to let Shonn Greene walk in free agency because he isn’t a lead back, can’t contribute in the passing game and can’t make anybody miss. Why continue to give him 15+ carries per game? We’ve seen this movie before. Give Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and particularly Kahlil Bell extended work. Find out if any of the three can be your 1B option next season when you go find a new starter via free agency, trade or the draft. McKnight is averaging 6 yards per carry (with a small sample size) and Bell has a career average of 4.5 yards per carry…isn’t that worth a look?

Wide Receiver – No more Clyde Gates, who shouldn’t be on a NFL roster. Jeremy Kerley should remain the primary “Z” receiver with Stephen Hill taking as many reps as he can get at split end. Yes, this contradicts what we said last week about sending him to the bench but with the playoffs now out of the question and Chaz Schilens banged up, give Hill the reps and let him build some confidence heading into next year. Throw him smoke screens. Throw him hitches. Get him going again on easy catches and yards after the catch and then take some shots down the field with him. He is likely the opening day split end next year, so why not let him work through improvements now? The slot receiver should be fellow rookie Jordan White. Give him the reps now and see if he can be a contributor next year. If Hill and White show anything these next five games, next year’s group of receivers with them, Kerley and Santonio Holmes might actually be a productive group.

Tight End – Dustin Keller’s future remains up in the air but you have to keep playing him because the Jets only have so many players who can get open. It probably wouldn’t hurt to give Hayden Smith a longer look at some point but this team likely needs to revamp this entire position in the off-season.

Offensive Line – Bench Matt Slauson and Austin Howard for Vladimir Ducasse and Jason Smith. We suggested this during the bye week and it hasn’t happened yet, so why not now? Let’s see what Ducasse and Smith can do with 100% of the reps at their respective positions. We know Slauson (who is gone after this year when his contract expires) and Howard (same thing) aren’t the long term answers, so give their backups a chance. If you don’t have confidence in Ducasse, how about playing Caleb Schlauderaff or Hayworth Hicks? They are taking up roster space, so why not use them?

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • mike

    okay, let me get this straight. the offense is dogsh!t, and your prescription is to reach further down the depth chart in search of superior talent? diamonds in the rough?
    jordan white? jason smith? HAYDEN smith? kahlil bell? you talk about giving reps to the 8th and 9th offensive linemen on the depth chart as if that’s a plan to win.

    you want to know how the jets can win? don’t let sanchez throw the ball more than 20 times (he’s never lost a pro game with 20 or fewer passing attempts). you can do this with a running game that you actually commit to, and a defense that turns the ball over and gives you a short field.

    there are starters on this team that shouldn’t be on any nfl roster. the notion that putting in the backups (who lost out to the starters in direct competition) will somehow make things come together, in the short or the long term, is pretty asinine.

    the plan in this post is what you’d do if you were playing for a high draft pick, TRYING to go 4-12. the jets are 2 games out of the last wildcard spot with 5 left to play. i know the pats game was as ugly as possible, but get your head on straight man!

  • Joe Caporoso

    If you gave Kahlil Bell (Or Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight) 20 carries, I promise they’d average more YPC than Greene.

    Jordan White is going to have to play this week because Gates and Schilens are hurt. And trust me, I’ve seen the All-22 tape of every snap Gates has taken this year and White physically cannot be worse.

    Same goes for Howard and Slauson. Ducasse has been just as good if not better than Slauson when rotated in. He has bigger upside, go with him. Howard has been brutal…it just isn’t getting the press that Wayne Hunter did last year because of all the other nonsense

  • Willie

    In reading your post, there are some things I agree with and others I do not.

    qb- I totally agree. To be honest I would just put Tebow on IR and call it what it is. It was a huge mistake. After the season he should be cut or traded if he has any value. McElory should only play if Sanchez gets hurt or maybe the final game of the season. Sanchez is our QB next year and that is a reality our fan base must accept. I would draft a developmental QB and put our assets into improving the other areas of the offense.

    OL- I agree about Ducasse and disagree about Howard. We need to see if Ducasse can handle an entire game. We have watched Slauson for three years. WE know what he is as a player. I do not agree about Howard. I do not think we will be able to replace three lineman next year. Howard is in his first year as a starter and we need to evaluate if he can be suitable as a JAG starter for next year as we rebuild.

    RB- I would committ to getting Powell 20 touches per game. I agree we need to see if he can be a contributor to our running game next year. I would committ to getting Mcknight the remaining touches as long as he is healthy.

    WR- I totally agree we need to let Hill get experience and we need to see if White can be a #4 WR or not.

    TE- I think we continue to play Keller becasue he is our only true option. I would not resigne him next year, but I would let him play out the season. WE do need to rebuile the TE/FB/H-back position next year depending on the system we run in 2013.

  • Mark Phelan

    It is a sad, sad year.

    Sure, play Ducasse more but how can we expect much? McKnight is hurt and being saved for kick returns. I hope Hill can gain some confidence – that might be complicated if revamped OL has Sanchez loosey-goosey.

  • mike

    @ joe
    yeah, put in ducasse for slauson, i agree with that. not a huge move as they’re already splitting reps. as far as howard goes, yes he is horrible, but i’ve watched the all 22 film of every game as well and brother, jason smith is no improvement at all.

    and that’s my gripe with this post: just because starters are struggling (or even just plain awful), that doesn’t mean that the guy who they beat in training camp and in practice every week is any better. hayden smith probably doesn’t know the rules of football as well as you or i do. kahlil bell might not be in playing shape. giving jordan white 15 snaps a game because “he can’t be any worse” isn’t a real plan.

    sanchez turns the ball over multiple times and the jets are rapidly out of the game. that’s what’s been going wrong in the last year and a half. limit his dropbacks, play a field position game, and try to give the offense as short a field as possible. changing out seven or eight starters when the team can still make the playoffs, i just don’t understand what’s good about that plan.

    i’d also like to point out that shonn greene has had more than 20 carries only twice this year, and the jets won both of those games.