Growing Pains Are a Guarantee for the New York Jets in Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast Offense

By Jesse Schwartz


Jets Offense
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

In hopes of reviving one of the worst offenses in the NFL, the New York Jets brought in a seasoned play-caller to make some big changes this year.

It will be no piece of cake, though, for Marty Mornhinweg, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles‘ offense for the last seven seasons. Mornhinweg will introduce the Jets to his version of the West Coast offense, but he won’t have the luxury of using playmakers like LeSean Mccoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

Instead, he inherits a situation in which the starting quarterback is yet to be decided and only one receiver has more than 90 career receptions. Mornhinweg is a skillful and creative playcaller who has the ability to pull the Jets out of their offensive funk, but he is bound to hit some road bumps along the way. Most importantly, he’ll need to adapt his play-calling style to suit the Jets’ strengths.

Mornhinweg’s West Coast system favors a passing style that includes quick, horizontal timing routes. He likes to neutralize the defense with short drop-backs and easy throws. This style can be beneficial to Mark Sanchez, who struggles with accuracy on intermediate and deep routes.

Sanchez might gain confidence through Mornhinweg’s passing game. Yet, it’s not all positive. The system will come with a downside as well. First off, these quick passing plays are often used as substitutes for running plays. As of right now, the Jets have a far better chance of establishing a rhythm with the running game than they do with the passing game.

Sanchez and his receivers might have much more difficulty with so-called “easy” completions than Mornhinweg is expecting. If he’s too quick to call pass plays early in a series, the Jets could put themselves in third-and-long situations that they rarely convert.

Mornhinweg must stay flexible and stick with what works for the Jets offense. When the running game stalls, his creativity will be incredibly useful to gain first downs. Yet when his creative passing game sputters, he’ll need to adapt and let ground-and-pound take over. All in all, his system can be both a huge savior or a huge detriment for the Jets offense depending on the situation.

The difficulty lays in finding the necessary balance. New York fans are always quick to question play-calling above all else, so Mornhinweg must hope to find this balance sooner rather than later.

Because of the lack of talent and experience, it would be difficult for any offensive coordinator to figure out how to make the Jets offense successful. Yet, if there’s one guy who is creative enough to do it, it’s Marty Mornhinweg. 2013 might be somewhat of a test run, though, so the Jets and their fans might want to buckle up for the bumpy ride.

Jesse Schwartz is an NFL Writer at Follow him on Twitter.

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