The New York Jets offense surprised many with their performance in 2015. Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey deserves credit for getting the most out of career journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and a middling offensive line. How can Gailey continue to evolve the Jets offense this season so they do not take a step back in 2016?
The two smartest moves Gailey made last season were moving Eric Decker into the slot and Quincy Enunwa to H-Back. Decker regularly feasted on teams linebackers, safeties and slot corners or simply found the soft spot in the various zones thrown at the Jets. Decker is a highly precise route runner with underrated speed and athleticism, making him a perfect slot receiver in Gailey’s offense. The attention paid to Brandon Marshall on the outside also aided in Decker regularly getting favorable match-ups.
Enunwa is an athletic freak, who red-shirted his rookie year. Gailey found a creative way to make him a de facto starter on the Jets offense by letting him wreak havoc on the edge as a blocker and occasionally work down the seam in the passing game. Enunwa is a rare player with the speed to play on the outside as a NFL receiver but the blocking ability to play inside as a flexed tight end. He improved as the season went on and should be poised to take a big step forward in 2016.
So what wrinkles can old man Gailey integrate this season? Here are a few potential ones to look out for:
The Jets used a minimal amount of Brandon Marshall in the slot last season but don’t be surprised to see it more frequently in 2016. Teams are going to be scheming like crazy to take him away and it will be harder for the Jets to isolate him on the backside of the formation. They will need to be more creative to free him up and sliding him inside is something they may turn to more frequently.
With Marshall in the slot more frequently, we may see more looks that feature Eric Decker on the outside that look to take advantage of him as a vertical receiver. He has an underrated ability to be a downfield passing threat and the Jets need to expand beyond attacking horizontally when possible.
With the return of Jace Amaro, Gailey will have the opportunity to utilize a basketball line-up that features him alongside Enunwa, Marshall and Decker thanks to the ability of all four players to play inside and outside. Watch out for looks that have Enunwa on the outside as the X receiver, with Amaro sliding inside to H or for looks that two H backs lined up tight on each side of the formation.
Finally, the Jets have two dynamic, versatile backs in Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. The Jets are likely to integrate multiple formations that feature both players on the field at the same time, whether that is both of them in the backfield together or has one split out in the slot or at split end. The mirroring skill sets of the two players should leave Gailey with no shortage of options.
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