While the Jets have a below average offense, which can be attributed to their inconsistent quarterback play, they do one thing at an elite level which is running the ball.
The Jets are second in the NFL, led primarily by the tandem of Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson average the second most yards per game, running for over 148 yards per game. Jets running backs are also averaging a smidge under five yards per carry (4.8 to be exact.)
While fans may be upset with last week’s game plan, when the Jets ran the ball 49 times and only threw 13 passes, five of which came on the Jets final drive. In reality for three quarters the Jets game plan was the most innovative and successful of the season.
Against a potential playoff opponent, the Jets completely controlled the game offensively. They ran the ball down the Dolphins throat, got creative with their play calling running end-arounds with wide receivers and were able to come away with points.
But if the usually sure-footed Nick Folk, who is battling a hip flexor injury, makes two field goals we’re probably not talking about how the Jets ran the ball too much but instead how they came up with a innovative and creative game plan that was used to beat a potential playoff team.
“Everybody would have been happy as heck had we won.” Said Rex Ryan of the game plan on Wednesday.
Ryan shouldn’t have to apologize for running as well as the Jets did, and he won’t.
“I don’t feel like apologizing for running for 300 yards,” said Ryan. “I don’t understand…for us to be effective in the ground game and to that extent I don’t necessarily understand that (the criticism).”
With that said the problem with relying solely on the run is that the offense becomes one-dimensional, which is what happened to the Jets in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins stacked the box and were able to contain the outside preventing the Jets from doing what they did so well in the first three quarters.
While the game plan should be tinkered to include more pass plays, it shouldn’t be completely overhauled. Running the ball has been proven to be the most effective offensive strategy for the Jets.
As for this week’s opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, don’t expect a similar game plan than the one we saw against Miami.
The reason Ryan said the Jets were so run heavy on Monday was first, they were effective and second Miami has a great pass defense and is in the upper echelon of the NFL when it comes to sacking the quarterback.
The Vikings are the same way. While their 5-7 record may not scream good defense, Minnesota is fourth in the league in sacks with 35 and is the sixth best pass defense in the NFL only allowing 219 yards a game.
Where the Vikings are the most vulnerable is against the run. They allow almost 124 yards per game on the ground. So expect the Jets to try to establish the run early, which should open up the passing game.
“Well I hope so (that we’ll run the ball) but I don’t really anticipate us averaging eight yards a carry,” said Ryan of Sunday’s potential game plan. “But again you want to go in with that in mind 100 percent…when you’re able to run the ball that effectively it does open up the passing game.”
No matter what, Ryan does offensively there will be critics if the Jets keep losing games.
“What is it? Should we throw it every snap? Should we run it every snap? I can’t win,” said Ryan.
At 2-10, Ryan shouldn’t shy away from his philosophy; the bottom line is the Jets need to run the ball to win.