New York Jets – Mornhinweg Given Opportunity To Shine

With low expectations and a hands off head coach, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will have a chance to shine for the New York Jets

The New York Jets made a savvy coaching decision this off-season by replacing Tony Sparano with Marty Mornhinweg as the team’s offensive coordinator. Savvy could be an overstatement considering what an obvious choice it was to fire Sparano. Savvy could also be an understatement considering how AWFUL Sparano was last season and since Mornhinweg has proven to be a competent NFL offensive coordinator. Regardless of the level of savvy, it was a positive move and this season will provide Mornhinweg a chance to shine.

Early reports around the team and Rex Ryan’s quotes indicate that Morhinweg will basically have autonomous control over the offensive decision making. With Rex in a make or break year, he is going back to a hands-on defensive coordinator mindset. At least in the beginning of the year, Mornhinweg is going to dictate this team’s offensive identity.

Expectations couldn’t be lower for this offense. From a passing perspective, that makes sense. The Jets currently have the worst group of tight ends in the NFL, a shaky wide receiver situation that lacks depth and a question mark at the quarterback position. From a running perspective, they have potential both because of their talent at running back and the make-up of the offensive line. Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Austin Howard were all very good run blockers last season. If healthy, Willie Colon will fit right in and rookie Brian Winters has potential to as well.

We have previously discussed Mornhinweg’s tendencies from his time in Philadelphia as a play-caller. He has shown flexibility in changing his approach depending on his quarterback and personnel situation. It will be his challenge this year to put together a competent offense, which protects the football and allows the Jets to stay competitive on a weekly basis thanks primarily to their defense. Nobody expects a top ten unit. Nobody probably even expects a top fifteen unit. Mornhinweg needs to manufacture points with the limited talent available to him and avoid turnovers. If he can do that, this season will be success for him and the Jets offense.

Look for the Jets to lean heavily on Chris Ivory, even more so if Mike Goodson has limited availability this season or isn’t around at all. If Goodson is out of the mix, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight can platoon to pick up the slack behind Ivory. Regardless, the Jets running backs should be the focal point of their offense both as runners and receivers.

Mornhinweg is going to rely more heavily on the screen game than his predecessors and they won’t be limited to the running backs. Both Santonio Holmes and particularly Jeremy Kerley can be movable chess pieces with the ability to create plays after the catch. Both will be used in multiple spots to get easy completions to them in space.

Mark Sanchez’s struggles with the screen game is a major hindrance for him to overcome if he wants to win the quarterback job. The turnovers are the primary issue of course but if he can’t consistently hit screens (something Geno Smith excelled at in college) Mornhinweg will go with the rookie. There isn’t going to be a ton put on the plate of the Jets quarterback this year – Work the screen game and short passing attack. Protect the ball. Take occasional deep shots off play action to a hopefully productive Stephen Hill. Mark Sanchez of 2012 couldn’t manage that. Mark Sanchez of 2010? That is a different story.

No matter who is playing quarterback, the low expectations and autonomy should be an offensive coordinator’s dream. How much of an impression can Mornhinweg make with this opportunity?

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

  • matr dontelli iii

    i’ve said before, the addition of mornhinweg could turn out to be the most important move the team made during the off season – idzik notwithstanding. i’ve also said i hope mark’s been practicing his screens. if the defense comes close to its potential and the offense does not turn the ball over this team should contend for a playoff spot. that said, if mark continues to perform as he did yesterday the team will likely look at other options, even if that is greg or matt to start the season. i think their tolerance is gonna be low and if he even thinks about starting the season with a pick as stupid as the one he threw on the first possession of the first game last year i doubt he’ll be on the field to see the conclusion of the game, much less the season. if he’s still got it in him now is the time to start showing it.

  • BIGgreenBALLz

    Yo Joe:
    RBs position seems crouded, Recievers are injured nd no depth at the position. How bout giving Mcknight a try at the 4th or 5th spot or at least put him in every now nd then a few times a game for screens or slants. He has speed, good vision and better hands then Hill anyways.
    Besides he might b more durable at reciever then at RB

  • KAsh

    If memory serves me correctly, that pick cannot really be blamed on Sanchez. He threw a strong, accurate pass in between his receiver’s hands, who then fumbled the ball into the air for an easy fly out. That Bulls game was one of the Sanchez’s best games as a QB, and I mean visually, not statistically. I did not pay much attention to the dropped passes. And then Sanchez broke down.

    I am excited to see Marty’s plan in action. I expect the promised unpredictable offense. I want to be surprised like a kid at a magic show.

  • jetluva

    I’m ecstatic about Marty being here. It’s been so long since we had a REAL OC and a real exciting style of offensive ball that isn’t predictable. I actually think we’ll see one of the UDFA WR’s catch on and be a success this year. They brought in some good prospects IMO.

  • Circles26

    Sanchez used to throw a nice screen pass. He played in a WC offense in college, and he was great on the move, and under pressure. He was especially good in the 4th quarter, and on third downs, being blitzed his first 2 years in the NFL. A combination of him being poorly over coached to be careful(trying to make a game manager, out of a gunslinger.), and his loss of confidence has led to his inaccuracy, and lack of touch. He needs to stop aiming, and double clutching, and just start throwing the ball. Highly unlikely that he can turn it around at this point, but it’s not for lack of talent. It’s all mental.

  • matr dontelli iii

    hey kash, i thought it was a ball that he never shoulda thrown. it was basically a five yard backhanded shovel pass with a defender in between him and cumberland on second down. it looked like it did deflect off the receiver, but to me it was a really awkward pass. i thought he shoulda ate it and run out of bounds with it. i found the play just now on a 3.20 minute clip of jets vs bills 2012 highlights on YouTube. i can’t imagine it being a designed play like that. i agree that was one of his better games. i just thought it was a terrible way to start a game and a season. i agree with circle, it’s all mental and i, too, have doubts about him turning it around, especially knowing he has no fans at psl stadium. the wolves are out for blood.