TOJ Roundtable – New York Jets Offensive Coordinator Edition

The TOJ Roundtable on their expectations for New York Jets new Offensive Coordinator John Morton

The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below!

What type of offense are you expecting from New York Jets Offensive Coordinator John Morton? 

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Joe CaporosoI am hesitant to proclaim the Jets are going to closely mirror New Orleans offense in style, since that was Sean Payton and Drew Brees’ offense, not John Morton’s. Considering the quarterback situation and personnel, I expect a run heavy approach that regularly emphasizes the short passing game and screens. Both Bilal Powell and Matt Forte should be active receivers out of the backfield and ArDarius Stewart is the type of player who should regularly be set up for YAC. When the Jets do throw, the ball is likely to be spread around with a high variety of personnel packages and receiver combinations. The Jets have a trio of vertical receivers in Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Chad Hansen so there should be a fair share of play action shots down the field.

Dalbin OsorioJunior Mafia (Joseph Malfa, for you newbies) expects a lot of four wide sets, but I honestly don’t think that’s what we’ll see formation wise. I think we’re going to get a lot of 3-1-1 formations or your more blase’ 2-2-1 offensive personnel groupings where the Jets try to utilize the running backs to hide Christian Hackenberg and limit his opportunities to make mistakes. Trips formations will allow for the use of bubble and smoke screens, which are typically easier completions to make. I do agree with Joseph in that if Hackenberg shows a solid grasp, then maybe Morton opens it up to have the team take more shots down the field to take advantage of the arm strength the former Penn State Nittany Lion. Expect Ardarius Stewart to fill the Brandin Cooks role, with Quincy Enunwa being Jimmy Graham, Chad Hansen being Marques Colston, and Robbie Anderson filling the Willie Snead role when they go into four wide receiver sets, but I expect Enunwa, Hansen, and Stewart to be the primary three wide receivers due to Anderson’s probable suspension.

I think the biggest difference will be the utilization of the Tight End. Austin Sefarian Jenkins and Jordan Leggett should rotate in to play the Benjamin Watson role, if you are using the Saints offense as a blueprint. Expect the Jets to use them both interchangeably, as they again try to make things easier for their QB. However, a better barometer might be the Bears offense when Jeremy Bates was there. Bates (and Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer) funneled targets to Brandon Marshall (164 targets), Alshon Jeffrey (148 targets), Martellius Bennett (94 targets), and Matt Forte (95 targets). Even Earl Bennett, the de factor third WR, had 43 targets. They will throw the ball, but it will be short and intermediate routes until Hackenburg actually shows he can run the offense.

Yes, I believe Hackenberg starts the entire season barring injury.

David AitkenIt is hard to say at this point with the possibility that he could draw heavily from two brilliant but stylistically different offensive minds he has worked under in Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh. The Jets have loaded up heavy on young receiving talents the past two offseasons and so it’s easy to see the Jets taking a Saints lite type of approach, but the quality at quarterback compared to the talent in the backfield and upfront could make a run-first offense more the priority.

I expect the Jets to run the ball a lot, especially once Hackenberg inevitably sees action. Expectations should be low overall because the tools at his disposal are for the most part either unproven or underwhelming. There are going to be games where the gameplan is out the window quickly due to game circumstance. Because of the likely limitations, it’s key that Morton prioritizes creative ways to feature Powell and Enunwa and put the young talent at receiver in advantageous situations. Overall I’m intrigued to see what he can do with what he’s been given, this isn’t by any means a great offensive situation but he was an under-the-radar hire with a strong pedigree.

Scott MasonI could write a long blurb here, but I mostly agree with Joe Malfa, so I’ll just add that I expect both Powell and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins to see a lot of targets. Most of us already believe strongly in Powell but I think ASJ could really emerge as the strong mismatch TE that they haven’t had since Johnny Mitchell or maybe even – fingers crossed – Mickey Shuler. The former Washington Husky seems to finally have his head on straight and if he can reach the potential he showed that made him a 2nd round pick a few years ago, he could prove to be a pretty nice weapon in Morton’s offensive. If the QB play is even replacement level this season, that could mean the best production from a Jets tight end in 20 years (not exactly a high bar to climb, but still)

Daniel EssenI believe John Morton will try to hide the Jets issues at QB by establishing the run and creating easy throws for whoever is under center. Morton said the concept will be the West Coast offense, however I don’t think it will be very conventional. I think the Jets hinted at that by selecting very specific player types in the draft for their offense.

Morton will likely bring back some of the traditional power running game and take advantage of the Jets above average interior line play from guards James Carpenter and Brian Winters. I also think we’ll see tons of trips/bunch formations. Out of those, I expect Morton to call a good amount of screens, particularly with the presence of a good blocker like Quincy Enunwa at WR. The Jets also drafted two players with a good amount of experience in the screen game in ArDarius Stewart and Chris Hansen. I also think Morton will have a few special wrinkles for Elijah McGuire, whether that’s split out wide or out of the backfield running option routes and screens. I think Morton will use McGuire similarly to how the Saints used Travaris Cadet last season.

I expect Morton use the tight ends a good amount but not in a classic way. Neither Jordan Leggett or Austin Seferian-Jenkins are great blockers so I expect them to be used out wide more often than not and rarely in traditional double tight end sets. I believe there will be some similarities between how the Chiefs use their TE’s in Andy Reid’s offense. I think Morton will try to create problems for defenses with Leggett, Seferian-Jenkins, and Enunwa, by forcing their hand to either substitute in an extra DB in to protect against their receiving threat or keeping their base defense in to defend against the run. The former leads to much easier blocking assignments for the TEs and Enunwa, while the latter leads to more opportunities for mismatches in the passing game. Also, expect to potentially see more of Charone Peake in the red zone, if he makes a good impression. Peake or Hansen could be used on the outside to free up Enunwa to be a movable chess piece near the end zone.

As a first time offensive coordinator with an interesting history, I think what we’ll see from John Morton will be far from boring. Hopefully, he can build on the good things Chan Gailey left behind.

Joe MalfaHave you watched the Saints play the last few years? Basically, expect a watered down version of that same offense since it’ll be Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty running the offense instead of Drew Brees. If Hackenberg can emerge as the clear-cut starter and displays a solid grasp of the offense, Morton can open the playbook a bit more.

Expect a healthy dose of four-wide sets, which means we will learn a lot about the young WR corps this year. Enunwa and Robbie Anderson are the clear cut top two WRs on the roster, but they’ve only done it for one year — we’ll find out if they’re for real. There will be plenty of opportunities for ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Charone Peake and the rest of the young WRs to assert themselves as well. We will also see the return of the tight end and a fair amount of passes going to the running backs.

As long as Morton gets the ball to Powell and Enunwa (plug the shirts here), he’ll have success in his first season with the Jets.

“The Jets are a complete mystery this season, and really, no one knows how to handicap a team that has no expectations. Offensively speaking, the team needs a serious boost and we all know that’s not going to happen this season. The defensive line is certainly their strongest unit, but even when they have not suffered any major losses, you can’t expect to win games with just your defense. The Jets sports betting odds put them as the ultimate underdog to win the AFC East, the Conference Title and Super Bowl LII, but on top of that, the Gang Green is slated to win only 4 games this season” says line manager Dave Strauss.

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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 EVP of Content at Whistle Sports