Saturday, January 19, 2013
Analysis: Jets sign up for Marty Ball
By Rich Cimini
Quick thoughts on the Jets' decision to hire Marty Mornhinweg as their new offensive coordinator:
Marty Mornhinweg was the Eagles' offensive coordinator the past seven seasons.
1. Thumb's up: I like this move. Mornhinweg is an upgrade over Tony Sparano and he was the best option out of the five candidates interviewed by Rex Ryan. Unlike Sparano, he has considerable experience as a play-caller and he sees the offense through the eyes of the quarterback. In Sparano's scheme, the quarterback was just one of the 11.
2. West meets East: Ground & Pound is dead. Ryan talked about it at the end of the season, shifting the approach on offense, and he followed through. Mornhinweg will run a West Coast offense, a la the Eagles. He will use the pass to set up the run, a dramatic departure in these parts. He's not afraid to fill the air with footballs. Nick Foles, a rookie, averaged 39 pass attempts over the Eagles' final six games.
3. The Sanchez Factor: Can Mornhinweg fix Mark Sanchez? He has worked with a number of top quarterbacks -- Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre and Steve Young. This doesn't mean he can turn Sanchez into an elite passer. He's not an ideal fit in a West Coast system, a rhythm-and-timing passing scheme that requires accuracy. Many coaches demand a 65 percent completion rate in the West Coast system; Sanchez is a 55 percent career passer.
4. Just say no: Unless new GM John Idzik slams the door shut on Vick, as Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell did last week with Tim Tebow, the speculation will run rampant. Mornhinweg helped re-start Vick's career in Philadelphia, but this is one reunion that shouldn't happen. Vick, 32, is an aging turnover machine with durability issues; his best football is behind him. He'd attract a Tebow-like circus, and that's something the Jets don't need.
5. Another QB option: A better option than Vick would be Seahawks backup Matt Flynn. Obviously, Idzik is familiar with Flynn; he negotiated the free-agent contract for Seattle. Flynn also is comfortable in the West Coast offense; it's the only NFL system he's known. The Seahawks are open to trading Flynn; the Jets would be a logical landing spot.
6. Receivers needed: The West Coast offense is better with big wide receivers because it's predicated on crossing routes. The receivers have to break tackles and make yards after the catch. The Jets have only one big receiver under contract -- Stephen Hill, who has to refine his route running to succeed in Mornhinweg's system. The scheme also requires a pass-catching tight end. This increases Dustin Keller's value to the team; he's a free agent. The Jets also need running backs that can catch, another important element in the West Coast offense.
7. Not for Tim: Not that we needed to mention this, but ... Tebow is the last quarterback you'd want in a West Coast offense. Like we said, it's based on accuracy and timing, along with precise footwork. Adios, Tim.