Do Rex Ryan’s Jets Have Too Many Weapons?
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Brian Schottenheimer heard it from his wife. He also got an earful from his father.
Not to mention the fans and the media.
Everyone, it seems, wanted to know how the New York Jets could possibly get shut out with all of the talent they have on offense.
“Hey, we didn’t play very well,” New York’s offensive coordinator said Thursday. “It’s just unfortunate. We feel like offensively, we lost the game for us. We own that. It’s inexcusable. We need to play better.”
The Jets’ 9-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday was certainly a head-scratcher, particularly when you consider the plethora of playmakers they have.
Or, perhaps, in some strange way, is that the root of the problem? Too much talent creates too many gameplanning complications to try to get everyone involved.
“No, it really doesn’t,” Schottenheimer said. “I can see where you think it would. What it does is it makes it to where you really have to package your personnel groupings. That’s the hardest part about it.”
The Jets (5-2) would love to have Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Dustin Keller, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene all out on the field at the same time, but have to constantly rotate them.
“We have so many moving parts going in and out,” Schottenheimer said. “That’s the hardest part about it.”
But, it’s certainly not something Schottenheimer is complaining about.
“It’s a luxury that most teams don’t have, so I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s not a problem.”
How about the issue of keeping everyone happy, or at least satisfied? Edwards, Holmes and Cotchery have all had seasons of 1,000 yards receiving during their careers.
“Really, it doesn’t even matter who the guys are,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said. “They shouldn’t even wear numbers, and wear a dark visor like L.T. so that I can’t even see them. It wouldn’t matter because I’m not looking for a specific guy: ‘OK, this guy needs three catches; this guys needs …’ It’s about getting as many assists as possible.”
To their credit, the receivers haven’t complained about not getting enough passes their way — although Edwards implied he wasn’t happy earlier this week when he was told he was targeted four times against Green Bay.
“Was it that many?” Edwards asked.
Just looking at the numbers, it appears Sanchez has done a pretty good job of evenly distributing the ball despite the fact the passing offense ranking 27th in the league. Keller leads the team with 26 catches, two more than both Cotchery and Tomlinson, followed by Edwards with 22. Holmes, who has played three games since returning from a suspension, has 10 catches.
Interestingly, though, is that Keller — Sanchez’s favorite target early in the season — has just seven catches since Holmes’ return.
“That could be something that could be, not a problem, but a somewhat challenging thing to do, is to find a way to get all of these playmakers the ball,” Tomlinson said. “For us, I think we have a group of unselfish guys, so whoever’s getting the ball, our job is to block for the other guy and make that play work.”
But, if you throw so many passes, you’re abandoning the run when coach Rex Ryan insists this is a run-first offense.
Sanchez threw 38 passes against the Packers, his third straight game of 30 or more throws. He has four of those games already this season, one less than he had all last regular season.
“I’m the first to say when you look and there’s 38 attempts or whatever it was, ‘Wow, that’s more than usual,'” Schottenheimer said. “I don’t go into a game saying I have to run this many times. A lot of it is feel. I think a lot of it comes with winning and losing. I’m conservative against Baltimore, we lose. You lose against the Packers and you’re overaggressive, so I don’t care about that stuff.”
Schottenheimer acknowledges that the offense was “embarrassed” by being shut out for the first time in nearly four years. He’s hoping for a big bounce-back game against the Lions (2-5) in Detroit on Sunday.
“The focus this week needs to be on the Jets’ offense,” he said. “That’s our biggest opponent. Last week, we truly beat ourselves. Not to take anything away from the Packers, but we hurt ourselves. We talked about how our opponent this week is really the Jets.”
Notes: Schottenheimer said the team has started a fine system for Sanchez to crack down on bad body language in practice. “It’s just fun stuff, where if we see his body language getting the best of him,” he said, adding that the usually animated Sanchez got two “fines” Thursday. … LB David Harris returned to practice after missing a day with a lower-back issue, but S Brodney Pool left early after colliding with CB Darrelle Revis and injuring his head. “More precautionary than anything else,” Ryan said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.