Simplified offense works better

The true sign of a good football team is when your opposition knows exactly what you are going to do, and they simply cannot stop it. <p>

Throughout the Jets first four games, all losses, their opponents were never quite sure what Gang Green had up their sleeves. Their playbook on offense was complex, especially pertaining to the running attack.

Having a complicated offensive strategy does not always ensure success, as Gang Green found out. The team stumbled out of the gate, to a 0-4 start.

Then came the bye-week. Herman Edwards and his staff were determined to simplify the offense, in an attempt to save a season that was only one loss away from sinking into a sea of utter helplessness.

No team has ever started 0-5, and gone on to make the playoffs.

The unit of offense that was really in need of repair was the Jets running game, it ranked dead last in the NFL entering the contest against Buffalo.

So what did the coaching staff do to fix their problems running the ball?

They simplified the playbook, reducing the total number of runs in their arsenal to only four.

This move had a positive effect, as starting tailback Curtis Martin, saw his average per carry increase over the last two contests by more than one yard each attempt. The Jets have won both these games.

Before the bye-week, Martin averaged 3.2 yards per carry (61 – 197). In the last two games, he is averaging 4.4 yards per carry (37-165). This was highlighted last week against Houston, when Martin averaged 5.1 yards per carry (17 rushes for 88 yards).

"I give a lot of credit to the offensive line," said Martin. "Those guys did good and it shows up especially when you look at the film. They made some key blocks. Houston was one of the toughest defenses we have played all year, they are aggressive big guys, and our line did a great job.

"I am comfortable with the line. We are jelling and coming together. Things are looking a lot better."

The offensive line is definitely in favor of a more simplistic running game. Now, with fewer runs, there are fewer blocking assignments. This enables them to do their job, rather than thinking too much.

"Without a doubt it [having fewer running plays] makes running the ball easier," said All-Pro center Kevin Mawae. "It takes away all the mental aspect of the game, if you just go out and do your thing. We have four different runs, and we just go out and play ball. As an offensive lineman, it makes it a lot easier."

Mawae feels that simplifying the number of runs is not going to make the Jets more predictable. Rather it plays into their favor, even if the other teams know exactly what is coming at them.

"Who cares if the other team knows what you are doing," said Mawae. "Because then it comes down to can I beat the guy across from me, and that is what the goal is."

Edwards feels confident enough in his front five, and running backs. To him the issue was never can they get it done, rather how could he help them do it.

"When you simplify things, there is not a lot of thinking involved," said Edwards. "It's just like okay, let's do this. We really don't care; we are going to out execute them {other teams}. And that's what you do when you simplify things.

"Last year it was the same thing, we had to get back to basics. I think it's a mark of, that is your strengths, and you are playing to your strengths, and that's what you do when you are struggling.

"You always want to find out the good things that your team is doing. That is your job as a coach, to put players in a position to be successful. And then they have to execute things. And when you limit a lot of things, that is when you can be successful."


LB Mo Lewis, and WR Wayne Chrebet were both upgraded Friday to probable. Lewis is attempting to get over a Hip/Hamstring problem, and Chrebet is trying to play despite a sore back.

Edwards is going to make the decision on Chrebet, Sunday before the game. Edwards did hint that Chrebet would probably have more of a role as a third down receiver more than anything else. WR Curtis Conway as of now is the team's starting X receiver.

… CB Jamie Henderson, knee did not practice on Friday, it looks like he will miss his second straight contest. LaMont Jordan did practice Friday, and should go this Sunday.

CB Donnie Abraham, and FS Jon McGraw remain out.

… You can reach Dan Feit at

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