Last season, the New York Jets had one of the most predictable and ineffective offenses in the NFL. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano agreed on a ground and pound style of offense, and it failed miserably. Sparano was fired after the season, and Marty Mornhinweg was brought in to replace him as offensive coordinator. Mornhinweg has been a pass first play caller his entire career, and the change he has brought has made a huge impact on the Jets.
This season, the Jets are averaging 40 yards a game more of total offense than they did last season, and they have also raised their scoring average, albeit marginally. Mornhinweg has done a very good job of getting rookie quarterback Geno Smith prepared to run an NFL offense, and although Smith still has a long way to go, it is easy to see his potential.
Mornhinweg has made the Jets a much more aggressive offense as well. Last season, the Jets ranked 30th in the NFL by averaging 6.4 yards per pass attempt. They have jumped all the way up to 16th this season with a 7.3 YPA average. Mornhinweg is not afraid to let Smith takes shots down the field, and the Jets have also had quite a bit of success with intermediate passes. This marks a huge change from the conservative (and often ineffective) short throws that were a staple of Sparano’s offense.
Perhaps the best part of Mornhinweg’s play calling, however, has been his willingness to change his own strategies. Mornhinweg loves to throw the ball, but on several occasions this season he has shown that he will stick with the run if that is the best way for the Jets to win. Against the New England Patriots in Week 7, the Jets gave Chris Ivory the ball 34 times, and they were able to control the clock and grind out a huge win.
Ivory and Bilal Powell have both gotten their fair share of carries this season, and the Jets rank 3rd in the league in rush attempts. Mornhinweg has mixed in some Wildcat and some read option to keep defenses guessing, and it has led to a very effective ground attack that is responsible for several of the Jets’ wins this season.
Mornhinweg would obviously love to open things up a little bit more, which he will do as Smith continues to develop. The return to health of the Jets’ receiving corps will make a difference as well, as it will give Mornhinweg a variety of personnel to work with. His ability to alter game plans on the fly and recognize the best path to victory for the Jets has been crucial, and he will have even more options in the second half of the season.
There were some who questioned whether or not Ryan and Mornhinweg could work together because they have such contrasting views on offense, but Mornhinweg has proved to be a vitally important addition for the Jets. He has revived their offense, and it should only continue to get better.