I've never written a Fanpost before, and this probably isn't a significant enough topic to warrant one, but there wasn't a great place in a comment section for it. I'd like to talk about the prevailing passing game philosophy this franchise has utilized since the end of the Eric Mangini years.
Essentially, an abnormally high percentage of passing plays is thrown to motionless receivers who are standing around waiting for the ball. Before anyone skips to the comments to say it's because the team's quarterbacks have been lousy, you're right. Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, who have taken the lion's share of snaps since Brett Favre's single year mercenary season in NY, have been below average. But this time period covers 4 different offensive coordinators, including Chan Gailey, from whom we've only witnessed a small sample size of plays, and a handful of different quarterbacks with different styles. As an example, look at last night's preseason game.
This would probably be more coherent if I had images and tape to show, but perhaps each of your memories can suffice. The play that stuck out most was Brandon Marshall's nice first half catch and run from Ryan Fitzpatrick. He ran a curl route to the left, made the catch, then spun quickly enough to outrun his defender and gain several more yards up the sideline. Marshall has perhaps the best hands this team has possessed in more than a decade. Why is he being wasted catching passes motionlessly in the flat when his skills are in snagging balls out of the air over the middle? Even Quincy Enunwa can do that. This is just one play. I am writing this without looking at any advanced stats, or even any regular stats, frankly. It's more about anecdotal observations than about quantitative data. And my observations are that every Jets passer since 2009 has favored receivers who are not in motion.
Why are these route trees in use? Why have Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards and all the rest spent so much time standing around waiting for passes to arrive? I don't think it's simply bad quarterbacking. When Santonio Holmes arrived, the passing offense ran through his quickness off the line to turn slant patterns into successful plays. When I watch other team's offenses I see verticals. I see post patterns. I see deep crosses. I see passes to running backs while they are still running out of the backfield. I see players catching the ball while running, using their momentum to gain more yards. When I watch the Jets, I see running backs standing around when the ball reaches them, tight ends running to the first down marker and waiting. I see wide receiver after receiver running comeback routes. Truly, when was the last time you saw a post pattern run by the Jets?
You hear a lot that coaches don't want to lose preseason games because they don't want their team to have ever have the attitude that it's ok to lose a game. That there are no meaningless games. But that's just what they outwardly project. Inside, they know the results of these games mean nothing. They know that they can take chances. As long as the players are trying to win, then they can be a little creative from the sidelines. So why do the same stale techniques appear even in these games, games where experimentation and creativity can never be punished?
Bryce Petty threw two poor passes into the end zone to a moving receiver. It was the 4th quarter before another ball came off his hand bound for somebody who was running. I don't know what the issue is, but I don't think there's any excuse not to spread the field and attempt a professional offensive passing game. Petty is often described as a quick, short pass artist at Baylor, but that's from those who didn't watch Baylor. Every game he was tossing bombs to Tevin Reese, KD Cannon, and the rest of his receivers, often to devastating effect.
Maybe many of you have noticed this trend and have been complaining, I haven't noticed though. When NFLN reruns the game, or if any of you recorded it and will be rewatching, let me know if I'm crazy or not. Obviously a preseason game with Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Bryce Petty throwing all the balls is probably not going to be indicative of the greater issues, but maybe it will highlight or remind you of the sort of plays the team has run in the regular season for the last half decade.