- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said it starts with him, that he hasn’t done enough to get the 2-2 Jets to a better place offensively.
“I’m not satisfied with my play,” Sparano said.
That was part of the reason Sparano defended starting quarterback Mark Sanchez on Friday when he addressed reporters in his weekly press conference. He admitted that the struggling quarterback has made errors, especially in the 34-0 loss to the 49ers last weekend.
“There’s no do overs,” Sparano said. “You’re out there and the game's happening fast, but when the ball is in his hands every single play, he’s made very good decisions with the football right now.”
With WR Santonio Holmes out for the season with a foot injury, and WR Stephen Hill and TE Dustin Keller missing games with hamstring injuries, Sanchez has limited options. And Sparano said it shouldn’t be on the shoulders of the quarterback to compensate for the offense.
“He doesn’t necessarily have to do that,” Sparano said. “Mark is a piece to the puzzle here. Some of the other guys around him have been here for a while and half to step up.”
Sparano said that Sanchez has worked with players after practice this week, and stayed late in meetings to work with players who will see increased responsibility.
“And I think that’s the way he can do it right now,” Sparano said. “But when the ball drops you gotta go out there and you’ve got to play.”
As for those receivers, Sparano said he expects they can deliver.
“I expect that they play at a high level,” Sparano said. “With that being said, watching them over the last several weeks, (Jeremy) Kerley’s been here and Chaz (Schilens) has been here, now there’s been periods where they’ve been out and we’ve gotten them back, but Kerley is getting better and better. He’s getting stronger and stronger right now. Chaz is getting better and better out there every day. I think those players with more reps, they’re darn good football players.”
As for Keller, it is still unclear whether or not he will play this week. On Friday, a visibly frustrated Keller walked quickly in and out of the locker room, declining interview requests.
“I know the work that Dustin Keller put in through OTAs and through the offseason program so my frustration is more for Dustin,” Sparano said. “I know how important the games are for him and how important it is for him to be with his teammates out there. That part of it makes you feel for the guys and I do, I can see his face as the week goes on. He wants to be out there and he wants to be part of it. And it’s just an unfortunate situation right now but when Dustin comes back that’ll be a real positive thing.”
There haven’t been enough positive things lately, and Sparano has his work cut out for him trying to prove this offense isn’t as stale as the one that got him hired after last season.
“There are some things I really feel like we’re doing well,” Sparano said. “I’m not going to tell you what those are, but that’s what we need to do. I’ve been through those stretches.”