- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets' quarterback drama has overshadowed the overall performance of the offense, which ranks 29th in total yards and 26th in scoring. The man in charge of the offense, Tony Sparano, was asked Thursday to assess his unit.
"Inconsistent," he said. "That's how we've played. I think we've played pretty well in stretches, and we've played not-so-well in stretches. I think there are a lot of things we're doing very well that people don't see."
He's probably right. That's because people usually focus on the scoreboard, and the scoreboard hasn't been a pretty sight. The Jets have been held under 10 points in a league-high four games, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Sparano declined to evaluate his performance.
"It's not for me to assess," he said. "It's for other people to assess. I just come in here, do my job, get here early and stay here late."
A year ago, the Jets were 25th in total offense and 13th in scoring under Brian Schottenheimer. One area where they've improved is rushing offense. Rex Ryan wanted to get back to his Ground & Pound roots, and the Jets actually rank 12th in yards per game. They were 22nd under Schottenheimer.
From the day he arrived, Sparano has preached protecting the football, but the message hasn't gotten through to QB Mark Sanchez, who has 18 turnovers.
"We haven't done a good job of it," Sparano said. "I'm assuming that's the answer you're looking for. I'm giving it to you so you can write your article. I just gave it to you."
SAVE THE KICKOFF: Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly has discussed the possibility of eliminating kickoffs. Special teams coach Mike Westhoff is all for player safety, but he doesn't want to lose kickoffs.
"Can you imagine the Super Bowl?" he asked. "You've seen the pictures with all the bulbs flashing" -- a reference to the opening kickoff.
"I love the play," he said. "I would hope that before you would (eliminate it), they would explore alternative methods."
KICKING THEMSELVES: The Jets have made a lot of mistakes in recent weeks on special teams, and it's driving Westhoff nuts. Asked to describe his frustration level, Westhoff said, "Close the door on your head and tell me how bad it hurts."
DEFENSE SHOULD SUE FOR MILD SUPPORT: The Jets played a fantastic defensive game last Sunday against the Cardinals, yet they were trailing at halftime, 3-0. That can be demoralizing for the defense. Coordinator Mike Pettine said it was discussed at halftime.
"We said, 'Whichever defense plays better in the second half will win this game,'" he said. "That came true. Our guys have a running joke with it: 'When the offense struggles, hey, more TV time for us.'"