COMMENTARY | Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions in a less-than-perfect practice at OTAs. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith had his own struggles as well.
Head coach Rex Ryan sees what is going on and understands that improvement needs to happen. Ryan commented (via Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger ), "I was not happy about how many times we turned the ball over... Those are the things we have to get better at, protecting the football over anything else. Today was a disappointment as far as that's concerned."
Can Rex Ryan get his offense on the right track?Keep It Hands On
If Ryan believes that a hands-off approach is the way to go, then I believe this season he is mistaken. As we saw across his first four years with the team, when he decreased his role with the defense and gave more responsibility to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, the defense became less dominant and less effective.
The same problem can happen with the offense.
Obviously, the Jets will be implementing a system designed by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in a West Coast flavor. Giving the offensive coordinator leeway and letting him implement a system is fine. Nonetheless, Ryan needs to be on top of what is going on and needs to understand the progress and the issues at each step of the way.
Everyone already knows that Ryan can create a great defense. Without a doubt, he is one of the best defensive minds in the game today. Yet he has not proven beyond doubt that he is or can be a great head coach. It is common for a head coach to allow one side of the ball to be heavily controlled by a coordinator, but a strong coach still needs to be aware of what is going on with the other side and to take accountability for ensuring success.
This is what Ryan has to do this year, because the Jets cannot afford another season where their offense looks like it did in 2012.
Good Defense Or Bad Offense?
Throughout the past four years, it has always been a challenge to evaluate the Jets on the practice field. With the defense always being so good, and with the offense being mediocre at best, it has always been lopsided.
This same dilemma is cropping up now and will continue to crop up all summer. Clearly the defense has outperformed the offense so far, based on the most recent reports. Do we give credit to the defense? Or is it all blame for the offense?
There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the recently revamped defense and to expect great things from them. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that this offense is going to need a lot of work. They are adopting a new and very different system, they have new players, and there are competitions going on all over the place.
Even if the competition at quarterback gets worked out quickly, as Mornhinweg has suggested it might, it seems likely that it will take a long time to get this offense firing and communicating well.
Sorting out the offense will be Ryan's biggest challenge this summer. No matter how much responsibility he gives to Mornhinweg, a major share of the blame is bound to fall on his shoulders if things do not go well. He needs to be involved, and he needs to make sure the offense is heading in the right direction and making progress.
In the modern NFL, becoming a playoff team requires adequate play on both sides of the ball. Ryan surely knows that. Let us see what he can do.
Adam Waksman is a Yahoo! contributor in sports. He also covers the New York Jets for Bleacher Report, where he is a Featured Columnist and award-winning blogger.
You can follow Adam on Twitter.
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