Remember the New York Jets’ old offensive philosophy: the ground and pound? That philosophy helped the New York Jets and head coach Rex Ryan succeed early, going to back-to-back AFC championship games in the 2009 and 2010 season. Well, that philosophy is ancient history.
Things have changed this season with new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
Marty Mornhinweg was the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator for the past seven seasons; out of those seven seasons, the Eagles offense ranked in the top 10 five times. He’s known to be a quarterback guru that will install a West Coast offense; meaning it will be a pass-heavy offense filled with short, quick throws designed to attack the defense’s soft spots.
So far the new coordinator has been true to his tendencies. The New York Jets have been calling more passing plays than they ever have in the Jets’ Rex Ryan era—and this is with a rookie quarterback behind center. In Mark Sanchez’s rookie year, the Jets limited the quarterback, calling passing plays only 41 percent of the time. This season, the Jets’ play calling has been very pass-heavy with 83 pass plays called compared to 61 run plays, meaning the Jets have called pass plays 57 percent of the time in two games.
We knew what Mornhinweg would bring to the table, but does this pass-heavy offense put too much pressure on rookie quarterback Geno Smith?
In two games, Geno Smith hasn’t shown anything spectacular, looking below average, if anything; Smith has thrown four picks, and has been sacked nine times, while only throwing one touchdown. His QB rating is 55.2, good for 30th best in the league.
Maybe all the pass plays is due to the lack of a running attack (the running game has averaged a paltry 3.1 yards per carry in two games), or maybe the Jets really do want to move away from the past, and go into the future by testing Geno Smith out, but so far, the future doesn’t look too promising. Not with all that pressure being put on Smith this soon.
These turnovers aren’t completely the rookie’s fault. The Jets need to ease Smith into the offense and let the running game provide some help—the receivers also need to provide the young quarterback with some help by getting open and actually catching the ball. Without that, Mornhinweg can call all the pass plays he wants, there just won’t be much success.