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Greg Salas and Play Design

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

I am a bit taken aback by the pointed criticism many are making of Marty Mornhinweg. The Jets have been able to move the ball pretty well this year even though he doesn't have much to work with. Just think about the passing game. We won't even touch on the limits Geno Smith places on the offense. Right now Greg Salas is third on this team in receiving yards. Anybody out there think Greg Salas is some great weapon to work with? I doubt many are raising their hands right now.

Salas is a limted player. There does seem to be one thing he does well, though, run after the catch. The bulk of his yardage has come on three catches. Salas is not a guy who has shown much aptitude to beat one on one coverage, and sure enough all three of these receptions owe at least some credit to play design.


The big 51 yarder on fourth down against the Bears kept the Jets alive. The Bears seem to be in a Tampa 2 type look where they rush four, four guys play zone underneath, and the middle linebacker joins the two safeties in a deep zone.

On this play the Jets try to simplify Geno Smith's read. They have Jeremy Kerley running deep, Jeff Cumberland short, and Salas on an intermediate route.


As Salas breaks inside, Kyle Fuller thinks he'll have help in a zone. He doesn't, though, because Kerley has taken the deep defender, and Cumberland has caught the attention of the defender in the short zone. The Jets have created a three on two here, and Salas is open. Salas adjusts to the pass, and has room to rumble up the field for a big gain because of the space the play design created.

Against Detroit Salas added two more big catches, and something similar happened on both.


You can see in the circle Salas' defender is giving him a cushion. Salas is going to run a simple route across the field in front of the cushion. Jace Amaro is also running across the field from the other side. As Salas's defender tries to catch him, he also has to get around Amaro, who is coming in his direction. Amaro doesn't do a ton here, but does take Salas' man off stride, which is enough to set up Salas to run for a 32 yard gain.


Similar things happen later. Again Salas is given cushion and is sent across the field on a pattern in front of it. Again a tight end, Jeff Cumberland, is crossing from the other side. This time he completely obstructs the defender, and Salas is sent free for another 28 yards.



It isn't that Marty should be totally immune from criticism. There certainly are areas where it is fair to question him. I do think we have to consider what he is working with, though.

Earlier this week I talked about how nothing comes easy for this offense. This would be an example. Life is a lot easier when an offense has playmakers and can just say, "Hey, go beat your guy."  It's a lot tougher when you can't do that. Instead you have to depend on a bunch of moving parts all working well at once to set guys free.The Jets have a dearth of playmakers so they are disproportionally dependent on play design.

Relying on talent is a lot easier than relying on and figuring out how to utilize the limited skillsets of the Greg Salas types of the world.