New York Jets: Why is the Offense Struggling?

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

What happened to the high-flying offense that started the year off with a bang?

To start the season, the New York Jets were a high-flying offense that put up a lot of big plays. We consistently saw the offense under Marty Mornhinweg and Geno Smith stretch the defense and throw multiple 20+ yard pass plays per game, looking for those big chunks of yardage. Lately, the team has gone away from this approach. In the first five games, Smith averaged 8.54 yards/attempt. In the five since, Smith has averaged 5.78 yards/attempt. That's a stark difference in strategy and execution.

So what changed? To start the season, it was considered by most to be purely "developmental." The team wanted to see what Smith and the others had to offer so they could evaluate them for the future. As it's often called, it was a "rebuilding" year. However, once the wins started to pile up, it seems the team got caught up in the playoff potential. The offense, which was once fun and free-wheeling, appears to have tensed up and begun to play "not to lose." As often happens in the National Football League, teams that play not to lose often do end up losing.

There have been other struggles as well, including pass protection issues and wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs being injured. Smith has seen a regression in his fundamentals not too dissimilar to what happened to him in his senior year at West Virginia University. There, Smith tried to put the team on his back as his defense was giving up 49.6 yards per game, and his fundamentals fell apart as a result. His footwork and his reading of the defense became iffy as he was forced to make something big happen every play. Although the defense in New York isn't struggling, each possession, each pass attempt, has become more important for Smith to produce a play. He's struggled with this, and perhaps it's the fault of his weak supporting cast, perhaps it's his own fault, but nevertheless, it's worrisome.

What needs to happen now is the team needs to revert back to the developmental side we saw earlier in the season. Forget the playoffs. If they happen, they happen. If not, nobody expected it anyway. Mornhinweg, David Lee, and David Garrard need to get in Smith's ear and simplify things for him and help him return to basics. Enough playing not to lose. Let the boys be boys and let them just play ball.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Gang Green Nation

You must be a member of Gang Green Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Gang Green Nation. You should read them.

Join Gang Green Nation

You must be a member of Gang Green Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Gang Green Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker