I hope that the Jets organization understands the process of building a championship team for the long haul and not just for short-term success.

When you look back at the whole body of work the last two years, if you’re asking for change I don’t see how that makes any sense. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.

We’re not playing a Madden video game where you can just change computer images. Stability is important when developing a young quarterback.

—  Former New York Jets QB Chad Pennington on OC Brian Schottenheimer, Current QB Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets future.

There’s been a lot of scrutiny on New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez and some of it has been warranted as he’s struggled the past two weeks but remember that his statistics are better than they’ve ever been with 31 total touchdowns this year and 15 interceptions. In my opinion, the person most at fault is the man calling the plays: Brian Schottenheimer. Few quarterbacks could (and should) throw 59 times in a single game and Sanchez clearly is not one of them. You can see that when Shonn Greene and LT are running the ball effectively, Sanchez can utilize the play action and becomes an effective quarterback.

Schotty gave up on the running game unbelievably quick in Sunday’s all-but-season-killing loss to the Giants. Even down by 6 points with over 5 minutes remaining and the drive starting at the 50 yard line, Schottenheimer called 3 passes which led to these results: Incomplete, batted away and a sack. Blame Sanchez to an extent for not executing but it’s hard to perform with this kind of play calling.

Everyone sees what can happen when you get the right coaches involved, look in San Francisco with Alex Smith who is much older and seems to have lesser talent than Sanchez. For the New York fans and media clamoring for change, don’t worry, it’s coming, just not from the guy taking the snaps…

Brian Schottenheimer hired as Offensive Coordinator with the St Louis Rams, springing New York Comparisons.  

After announcing he would not return to the Jets after last season (and who could blame him), Brian Schottenheimer was one of the most sought after offensive coaches on the market this offseason.

After interviewing with the Jacksonville Jaguars for a possible head coaching position, and possibly joining a man who beat him out for an NFL head coaching job, Nick Saban, as offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama, Brian Schottenheimer has accepted the Offensive Coordinator spot with the St. Louis Rams. 

Schottenheimer’s success truly lies in the hands of franchise quarterback and former Number One overall pick Sam Bradford, and his success or failure in developing him. Otherwise, the Rams have a similar offense to the ones that Schottenheimer coached in New York. He has one of the best backs in the league in Steven Jackson, who’s averaged over 1,000 yards every year but his rookie year, when Marshall Faulk was still with the team. The most success Schottenheimer’s offenses had were through the ground game, whether with Shonn Green, Thomas Jones, or Ladanian Tomlinson.

Following the (and pardon my cliche) “ground and pound” method took Schottenheimer to three playoff appearances and two AFC Championship games, but this past year with the Jets, Brian took his father’s approach and went all Marty-Ball on us, and put the offense in the hands of third year quarterback Mark Sanchez. The results were worse record-wise, as the Jets failed to make the playoffs and the locker room is till continuing to crumble. Sanchez’s numbers, however, remained relatively similar to his prior two years, if not better. He threw for 26 touchdowns, nine more than his previous high. His average yards per throw remained a steady 6.4, and his quarterback rating was a 78.2, a career high.

His attempts were a career high as well, with 543, and with more drop backs and a lack of development, mistakes in the form of turnovers ensued. His inability to read defenses and make the proper throws to a talented arsenal of weapons resulted in 22 turnovers (18 Interceptions, four fumbles). 

Sanchez was coached under Schottenheimer for the entirety of his three year NFL Career, and at the end of the Sanchez-Schotty era, what have we found out? Schottenheimer never developed Sanchez into anything past a game-managing quarterback, yet put the offense in his hands. Increased repetitions do not translate into development, nessecarily. That’s the coaching aspect, the film room, and the understanding of the specific offense which falls on the coach to make sure his players do and understand all of these specific things. The results on the field show that the two never connected.

In comments this week, even Rex Ryan, the man who defends and sticks up for his team despite all the hot air that floats out of East Rutherford said: 

 “The verbiage (of Schottenheimer’s offense) that we had last season was probably a little much… I really am excited about having Tony Sparano here to be our offensive coordinator. When we were in the interview process, he showed me the verbiage… all this type of stuff… I’m like, “Wow.” I can visualize our football team in this type of system. I can see Mark being extremely effective playing the quarterback position.”

In other words: Tony Sporano will be more effective at developing a quarterback than Schottenheimer was. We saw how potential league fallout Matt Moore did in Sporano’s system this year (2,500 yards, 19 touchdowns, 9 Interceptions, 87.1 QB rating). A career was revitalized via the coaching of Soprano, and a career has stutter started via the coaching of Schottenheimer.

The good news for the Rams is that Sam Bradford has a much bigger skill set than Mark Sanchez. Though he was injured throughout the 2011 season, his rookie season Bradford threw for 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions (a high interception rate is expected for rookie quarterbacks thrust into the game from Week One). His yards per game in both seasons were been around the same (219 in 2010, 216 in 2011). Bradford has showed his efficiency despite two different offensive coordinators and very different schemes in his first two years (Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense in 2010, and Josh McDaniels’ Spread Offense in 2011). 

The tools are there for Schottenheimer to succeed but if, and only if, he can coach this young quarterback differently than the one he coached in New York. He must remain balanced and committed to the running game, and pass efficiently as needed while continuing to increase Bradford’s role as he develops and gets healthy again.

Look for the Rams to play a lot like the Jets have for the past few years. Jeff Fisher’s Titans teams were always a physical bunch that established the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense. Fisher ran the ball effectively with Eddie George and Chris Johnson, and passed the ball efficiently with Steve McNair and Vince Young. His defenses were always nasty (see Haynesworth, Albert) with a use of every defensive lineman on his roster on a rotation. Sound familiar? Well, kind of. Except for the quarterback thing.

New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams coaches a lot of the same schemes as Rex Ryan did/does on defense. They call him Dr. Heat, and he applies pressure often and from all angles. With talent in the front seven, where Fisher and Williams like to focus their defenses with DE Chris Long and LB James Lauranitis, this young aggressive defense will be a force to be reckoned with.

Much like Gang Green’s.



The Jets have scored 71 points over the past two games. Sunday in their 37-10 win over the Chiefs, they spread the ball out, used the TE over the middle often, went deep down both sidelines, and looked crisp in the screen game. Mark Sanchez even looked off receivers. Credit must be awarded to OC Brian Schottenheimer for the rise in production, but one has to wonder how much influence Tom Moore has had lately on the operation.

Since deciding to live on the East coast for the rest of the season, leaving his “consultant” post from his home out West, the Jets have gotten into an offensive groove. Moore may not be calling plays, but could be lending his expert eyes to the club’s play selection and overall rythym. Might even be cleaning up technique issues as far as the timing precision of a passing attack goes. 

Either way the growth couldn’t come at a better time. The 8-5 Jets control their own playoff destiny. With their “guru” now present for the duration, and their playoff fate in their own hands again, things seem to be coming together at the right time for the Jets offense.

Jets Offseason Objectives

The Jets had a wildly disappointing finish to the 2011 NFL season, losing their last 3 games, finishing 8-8 and missing the postseason for the first time under head coach Rex Ryan. While many fans were disappointed in the Jets lose to the Dolphins that eliminated them from playoff contention, I believe the loss was a blessing in disguise in that now it’ll allow the Jets to seriously evaluate their team and objectively make personnel decisions without the backdrop of “we went to the AFC Championship game.” Despite those recent trips to the AFC Title game, I believe this team has been flawed for years now at multiple positions. Here are 5 things the Jets need to do this offseason to get back into contention for a Super Bowl.


1) Find a New Offensive Coordinator

-I’ve defended Brian Schottenheimer on numerous occasions throughout his tenure as Jets OC, but this season has been indefensible. His play-calling has been atrocious all year and the lack of progression we’ve seen from Mark Sanchez in year 3 is a clear indictment on the Offensive Coordinator. Schotty’s belief in Sanchez (or disbelief in the running game) put Sanchez in games in which he threw 40 and on one occasion 50 times in games this season. Putting Sanchez in that many dropback situations is a recipe for disaster and Jets fans learned the hard way. The offense lacked cohesion and explosive plays all season and for those reasons, Schotty has to go.


2) Find a Legit Pass Rusher(s)

-The Jets have built their defense backwards from the way Rex Ryan built his defenses in Baltimore. Those teams had top notch players in the front four and fearless pass rushers (Terell Suggs, Adalius Thomas, Trevor Pryce, Haloti Ngata) that gave opposing QBs and Offensive Lines nightmares. Since Rex has been in New York, the Jets have relied more on elite players in coverage (Darelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie) with very little pass rush coming from the front 7 without the help of blitzes of Corners and Safeties. The Jets have neglected this problem of not being able to generate pressure with four rushers, and it’s time they address it. Calvin Pace has underachieved, Aaron Maybin is only a situational pass rusher, while Jamal Westerman and Bryan Thomas are average players at best. The Jets need to find someone through the draft (Brandon Jenkins, Melvin Ingram) or through trade/free agency.


3) Bring in a Speed Demon to stretch the field

-I thought this was one of the biggest missteps the Jets made this offseason. It’s easy to put all the blame on Schotty and Sanchez, but I believe Mike Tannenbaum deserves some blam for how this offense was put together. When the Jets lost Braylon Edwards, they never brought in a replacement who had the ability to blow a top off the defense and open things up underneath for Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller. This allowed teams to creep up on the short passes and make those throwing windows tighter for Mark Sanchez to throw the ball through. The Jets lacked any kind of vertical passing attack this season and I think the lack of a big-time deep threat was a big reason for Mark Sanchez’s decline this season. In a perfect world, a deep-threat like DeSean Jackson would be exactly what this offense needs.


4) Improve the Offensive Line

-The Jets have had arguably the best offensive line in the AFC the past 2 seasons, but this season we’ve seen this unit fall to being perhaps one of the worst. Sanchez took a lot of sacks this year (39, 5th most in the league) and I blame the losses of Damien Woody and Alan Faneca the last two seasons along with the shortened training camp due to the lockout for the O-Line struggles. Wayne Hunter is perhaps the worst starting right tackle in the NFL and needs to be replaced, I also think Matt Slauson is mediocre player that could be replaced for an upgrade.


5) Bring in some real veteran leadership

-The lack of veteran leadership on this team bothered me heading into the season and my worst nightmares manifested itself with plenty of in-house fighting, mutinies against the offensive coordinator, and lack of discipline on the football field. The Jets have lost a lot of great locker room leaders over the past few seasons (Woody, Faneca, Jason Taylor, Tony Richardson, Kris Jenkins, Jericho Cotchery) and didn’t replace them with anyone worth following. We saw “Captain” Santonio Holmes fracture the locker room all season and quit on his team, while Sanchez never seemed to take a stronghold of the team over the course of the season.


6) Infuse some youth and speed on the defense

-This to me was a team that had a lot of “fat cats” that were content with the success the Jets have had over the past two seasons and as veteran players, were lacking the hunger and freshness this team needed this season (Calvin Pace and Bart Scott come to mind). The Jets on defense looked old and slow at almost every position outside of cornerback and I think it would help them to bring in some young guys that can play and hopefully push some of these veterans or better yet push them right out the door. I look at linebacker and safety as positions that could really use a complete overhaul heading into next season.