Just like the team itself, the Jets offense has been up and down throughout the 2011 season. They remain No. 1 in red zone efficiency (66.7 percent TD rate) and rank ninth overall in scoring at 24 points per game. But they place 27th overall (307.7 yards/game) in yardage and are coming off two disappointing efforts against the Eagles and Giants.
“We have all the talent in the world,” said TE Dustin Keller. “At every single position we feel confident in any guy we put out there with a 1-on-1 matchup that they’re going to win. Just to not come out and perform to the expectations that we set for ourselves is very disappointing. But hopefully it’s something we can get corrected as soon as possible, some things go our way, and we get into the playoffs.”
Keller was one of the few offensive bright spots against the Giants, hauling in eight passes for 77 yards. But the offense averaged just 3.7 yards a play, committed three turnovers and converted just four of 21 third downs. The Jets didn’t have a pass play longer than 15 yards and they have struggled to get explosion plays when they’ve turned to the air.
“We have a lot of calls of plays to be thrown down the field, but for some reason or another we’re not hitting those or we’re not really attempting those shots that we’ve had in the past,” DK said. “It’s something we have to get corrected and get better at. Hopefully it’s something that we correct immediately.”
After Mark Sanchez had 67 dropbacks (59 pass attempts, five sacks, three scrambles) last weekend, the Jets plan to establish more balance against the Dolphins. In the clubs’ first meeting at MetLife Stadium back on Oct. 17, Sanchez attempted 25 passes while Shonn Greene (21 carries, 74 yards) and LaDainian Tomlinson (7-25) combined for 28 carries.
The Jets ended up winning that contest, 24-6, but the offense got off to a very slow start. Darrelle Revis’ 100-yard interception return gave the Green & White an early lead and the offense didn’t get a first down until there was 5:33 left in the second stanza.
“I think in October the Dolphins were still playing pretty good defense. Now they’ve picked it up a notch in all phases,” Keller said. “Their D-Line gets to the quarterback really well and they’re good against the run. I think they’re third-best in the league against the run. They definitely do a lot of things really well. It’s going to be a really good challenge for us.”
Slow starts haven’t been a problem of late as the Jets have opened with a touchdown drive in three of their past four games. However, against the Giants they marched down with a 53-yard scoring drive that culminated on Sanchez’s 5-yard toss to Josh Baker and then things got ugly for most of the afternoon.
“Scoring on the first drive is something we’ve always strived for and we’ve always been known for starting slow and coming back, having these fourth-quarter comebacks,” DK said. “But you can’t be satisfied with the early start and then drop off the rest of the game. You have to maintain that.”
Execution comes down to being precise with the details. This is the same offense that was rolling just a couple of weeks ago, having converted 12 straight inside the red zone from late in Week 11 until the first drive of Week 15.
“It’s a lot of small things, whether it is the depth of your routes or us not being in sync with each other as far as what the hot route is off of,” Keller said. “Things like that can destroy your plays and we have to get those things fixed.”
If the offense gets going against the Dolphins and the Jets get some help, things can get fixed in a hurry.
“That’s the ultimate task, to just get it done — win our game,” Keller said. “That’s the one thing we can control, so we’re going to be focused on that.”
Tags: Dustin Keller, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, Shonn Greene
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