New York Jets Therapy Sessions: Lethargy and the Hurry Up Offense

Cole Patterson continues his New York Jets Therapy Session with a look at the team’s struggles against the hurry up offense

Cole Patterson continues his New York Jets Therapy Session series. Make sure to check for these every Thursday and to give him a follow on Twitter

Diagnosis: It seems that the New York Jets defense is having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. The defense is dragging its heels, losing races to snails, and pacing themselves to continental drift. Lethargy is a condition in which the patient experiences drowsiness, listlessness, sluggishness, and inactivity. These symptoms appear to describe the state of the Jets 2012 defense, a unit weighed down by the fossilized remains of Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott, Sione Pouha, and Calvin Pace. Though 3/4ths of the problem players have been replaced with speedier options – in Demario Davis, Antwan Barnes, Kenrick Ellis and (to some degree) Quinton Coples – the turbo charged 2013 defense looked a lot like the 2012 horse-drawn-carriage unit when faced with the ever-intimidating, Blaine Gabbert led hurry up offense.


– Prolonged drives

– Blaine Gabbert winning a starting job in the NFL

– Losing the time of possession battle

– Exhausted defense


Preparation: According to multiple sources in attendance at Florham Park, Geno Smith executed the hurry up offense to perfection and torched the Jets starting unit in team drills yesterday. This situation presents both bad and good news. Bad news first. The Jets defensive minds have yet to find a way to address the problem and handle the speed at which a hurry up offense executes. Now the good news! The Jets coaching staff have apparently realized their deficiency in defending the hurry up and are having the first team offense use the hurry up with the hope that the defense can conjure up a way to stop it.

In-Game Awareness and Substitutions: The hurry up offense is just as hard to execute as it is to defend and is only as effective as the on-field personnel. Players executing a hurry up must be in shape, aware, and versatile. The quarterback, offensive line, backs, and receivers must all be on the same page. Any miscues can lead to debilitating penalties and mistakes. If a player that is not physically conditioned or intended to play in the hurry up is on the field, they must be subbed out. According to the NFL substitution rules, the defense must be able to sub in a player if the offense has done the same. Last year, prior to their first bout with New England, the Jets contacted the league office to ensure that the officials properly enforced the substitution rules when the Patriots broke out their “borderline illegal” hurry up offense that burned Denver the week prior. So, it is clear that the Jets are aware of the substitution rule and were just unable to use it to their advantage against the Jags. Perhaps they were unprepared for Gabbert to break out the hurry up but the coaching staff must be able to substitute when the defense does the same.

Get Healthy and Get Fast: The Jets supposedly addressed the problem of speed on defense this off season (as a reaction to the Patriots breakneck hurry up offense). Demario Davis took over for Bart ‘The Slug’ Scott, Quinton Coples and Kenrick Ellis were supposed to add speed to the spots vacated by Pouha and Thomas, Davis Harris was supposed have a bounce back year, and Antwan Barnes was supposed to relieve Calvin Pace. However, both Ellis and Coples are now injured, Harris looks slower than ever, and Pace is getting an inexplicable number of reps over Barnes. The Jets had a plan this season. Use the versatility and speed of players like Wilkerson, Coples, Richardson, Ellis, Davis, and Barnes to create a front seven that could handle the tempo of a hurry up, while allowing the back end to do their thing. Coples and Ellis need to get healthy and Barnes needs to see more of the field if the Jets defense is going to be able to keep up with the Patriots, Eagles, and (apparently) Jaguars of the league.

Author: Cole Patterson

Cole has attended American University in Washington DC and is currently completing a double major in history and global communications at Ramapo College in Northern NJ. He has served as an NFL Analyst for a local DC radio show, Fanatic Radio. He lives and dies with the New York Jets. Cole will help lead Jets coverage and analysis.

  • John C

    I could have posted this in the Pre-Season concerns thread too – My biggest concern has been this one . The Jets were supposed to be younger and faster, yet they still looked a “day late and a dollar short” facing the hurry up. Harris and Pace are the only old guys left, and I’m sure the Jets hope their experience will br helpful, but it’s time to cut down on their reps. Barnes must get more time, and Sapp and Lansanah be given a chance to play as well. Since in most peoples eyes, this is a “waste” year, it’s time to see what else they have beside Pace and Harris. They are certainly not the future, and this year should be all about answering questions for the future. I could still see the Jets going 9-7, this year shakes out as being primarily, an audition for next year.

  • Simon Gribben

    I agree. Thanks for speaking my mind.

  • Frank Antonelli

    You can deduce all that from a meaningless pre-season game that highlighted an opponent that had never shown a hurry up offense before. This tactic caught us by surprise and we were using a base defense since we didn’t want to show much before the season starts. They limited the damage on the scoreboard. I think you are over reacting by a wide margin. Watch what happens to the Bucs during the first regular season game when Rex unveils the real defensive strategy.

  • KAsh

    A defensive strategy will not cure technical shortcomings. Pace and Wilkerson are competent against the run and Jacksonville had a hard time running the ball to the right, with Wilkerson sealing the holes and Pace setting the edge. But Coples, Barnes, and, to an extent, Richardson are all weak against the run and Jacksonville had a field day running to the left. They can improve as time goes on, but if they are caught in a no huddle, they cannot readjust against the run, yet.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Kash. We must have been watching a different game. Their top rusher gained a grand total of 29 yards. The yards given up were through the air. And a base defense in the pre-season is VERY different from the regular defense the Jets will use in the regular season.

  • John C

    Frank A. – I’m not saying they can’t improve, but it is a concern Your point, that they were surprised, is valid, but, when a team that doesn’t normally run the hurry up, and has a quarterback that many feel is as questionable as Sanchez, that is a real concern. Base defense or not, it cannot be denied that they were late, in all phases of defending the hurry up.

    As far as the idea that we were trying not to show our hand in preseason – I flashback to last year, when supposedly, we were trying not to show our hand on Offense. Well, we saw where that got us when the regular season started – and it’s nowhere I want to go this year on defense.

  • KAsh

    I was originally going to talk about the two problems the team had defensively in that game – outside runs and screen passes – but it was late and I did not want to again go over the piss poor tackling. Remember, Jacksonville did not plan for us either; the runs that went right either went nowhere, ended in a TFL, or were driven inside. The total yardage Jacksonville gained going right was probably close to zero or maybe even negative, which also means that the majority of the yards Jacksonville did gain all came on half of the plays. Secondly, you do not need an Adrian Peterson for your run game to have an impact. Jacksonville burned us with runs early, so the defense did successfully adjust against them. Our safeties started to play in the box, which led to unmarked receivers being able to lead block the screens. Half of the screens had poor tackling. The other half had the corner prevented from even trying to make the tackle because the safety responsible was trying to guard against the run.

    The screen problem can probably be solved through a little practice and better communication in the secondary. But the run problem that exposed the screen problem even more cannot be solved that easily. It involves players getting better at skills that they are currently deficient at.

    So, we were both probably watching the same game. I just was able to see more than you.