NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Chan Gailey repeated a couple of buzz words that summed up what the New York Jets are searching for from their struggling offense.
Consistency is one.
Execution is the other.
A day after coach Todd Bowles talked about the Jets going back to basics — “algebra” instead of “trigonometry” — Gailey echoed his sentiments while breaking down the focus this week as New York prepares for Miami.
“I think we have to just try to execute our base stuff,” the offensive coordinator said during a conference call Thursday.
Sounds simple enough, right?
But both Gailey and Bowles acknowledged that the Jets have perhaps tried to get a little too creative with things as defenses have zeroed in on what they’re running. The end result has been a ton of slow starts, halftime deficits and trying to come from behind.
For the Jets, that’s added up to four losses in their last five games.
“Maybe if we get back to just our base offense and things we’ve been working on since training camp, hopefully our execution will be better and we can start faster,” Gailey said. “That’s the goal.”
When the Jets opened the season 4-1, the running game powered the offense. Chris Ivory got off to the best start of his career, rushing for 460 yards and four touchdowns in his first four games. He didn’t play in one game because of a quadriceps injury, but is healthy now — yet, he hasn’t topped 100 yards since last month and has only two touchdowns in that span.
Injuries on the line and inconsistency all around have contributed to the team’s struggles.
“We try to run it every week,” Gailey said. “If we can run it, we’re going to run it. That’s just what I believe in and what we want to do with our football team is run the football. But when you don’t have early success, the situation dictates that you can’t run it as much as you’d like, and it pushes you away from it a little bit.”
Sluggish starts have been a factor. The Jets have had to punt on each of their first two possessions in the last two games against Buffalo and Houston, and on each of their first drives in the last three games.
“The key has been consistent execution in all phases: running the ball, throwing the ball, pass protection — all of those things,” Gailey said.
Again, it all sounds very elementary. But Gailey doesn’t necessarily think the move away from the basics in offense is solely to blame. Rather, it’s simply more about not being able to execute.
New York has tried to switch some things up, as all teams do, to keep defenses off balance. Instead, the Jets have been the ones struggling for answers.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has shouldered a good chunk of the blame, saying he hasn’t been as sharp as he needs to be. His 11 interceptions rank him sixth in the NFL, and four have come in the last two games — two each in the losses to the Bills and Texans.
Fitzpatrick is also tied for 26th in completions of 40 or more yards, with just four all season. The Jets have tried to take shots downfield more often in recent games, but there have been few connections for significant plays. Rookie Devin Smith, the team’s second-round draft pick, has not yet been able to establish himself as a consistent vertical threat.
“Sometimes, earlier in the year, we were able to make some bigger plays earlier in ballgames and it got us off on the right foot,” Gailey said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to be bombs away and wait for a big play to jumpstart us. We’ve got to go jumpstart ourselves and not wait on a big play to jumpstart us.”
NOTES: CB Darrelle Revis remained sidelined as he recovers from a concussion that could cause him to miss Sunday’s game. Safety Dion Bailey (ankle) also sat out. … C Nick Mangold, who needed six or seven stitches to close a deep gash in his right hand Sunday, took a few snaps at practice. He was limited Thursday after not participating in team drills Wednesday. “He didn’t look any worse for the wear out there,” Gailey said. “I don’t know if that’s exactly the bandage or whatever you want to call it that he’ll use in the game, but what he had on today allowed him to go out there and be fairly effective.” … WR Brandon Marshall (toe) was a full participant after being limited Wednesday.
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