Brian Schottenheimer discussed with reporters this afternoon what he characterized as a disappointing performance by the Jets offense in Monday night's 10-9 loss to the Ravens.
"There were a lot of things, just a lot of costly mistakes," the offensive coordinator said. "I'd like to have a couple plays back as a playcaller. Really, the thing I think it came down to is that there were a lot of guys doing the right thing and every couple of plays that broke down, there was a guy or two making a mistake and I'll take some blame for that as well. I had a hard time getting into a rhythm, I really did. You have to convert on third down to sustain drives."
The most frustrating aspect of the Jets' output, Schottenheimer said, was the inability to convert on third downs, where they were 1-of-11, with the team needing 6 yards or less on eight of those conversion attempts. The offense only gained 176 total yards, a statistic that Schottenheimer doesn't see as indicative of the offense's true ability.
"I went back to the thought, last year against Houston we put up 470 in the first game," Schottenheimer said. "Well, we weren't that good, we just put up 470 yards. Things happened, we hit some big runs. We're not a 176-yards-a-game offense. Somewhere in between there, there are answers and it comes down to execution, details, discipline, performance of the playcaller, getting Mark into a rhythm and getting him off to a good start."
Schottenheimer addressed a few problem spots for the offense that fans and commentators have been discussing. Aside from allowing the sack by Ravens NT Haloti Ngata, guard Matt Slauson graded out well said "Coach Schotty." And despite a number of checkdown passes and only a few attempts to throw the ball deep, the Jets still have plenty of confidence in Mark Sanchez. In fact, Schottenheimer wants his quarterback and wide receiver Braylon Edwards to connect in a big way Sunday against New England.
"Braylon is an emotional guy like Mark," Schottenheimer said. "So the more we get him involved, the more touches we can get him, he feeds off that. He's been great. He wants to help us win."
The return of WR David Clowney could also help the passing game. A deep threat with great speed, Clowney is familiar with the offense and has made plays for the Jets in the past. The focus will clearly be on Sanchez, however, to guide the offense into more production than the 10-for-21, 74-yard passing performance he submitted Monday.
"I think Mark has matured enough to where he knows when a guy is open now and when he isn't," Schottenheimer said. "There were times last year — and Rex and I laughed about it— when I was concerned to call 'shots' with Mark because I had no idea where the ball was going to go. A shot called was a shot that was going to get taken. He was going to throw it."
While there is confidence now, there's also a recognition of things that must be tweaked. Three times the Jets came up 1 yard short of a third-down conversion, and Schottenheimer wished he'd made a different call on a long third-and-2.
In addition, it will be imperative against the Patriots for the offense to get both of its running backs going and have more than the 21 carries they got against the Ravens.
"What we need to do is continue to tie up our protections," Schottenheimer said. "Tie up some of the play-action and run-action things we're going to do. In order to get into a rhythm you have to sustain the ball. You can't have the ball for 22 minutes, and a big part of that was us not converting third downs."
It's a short week for the Jets, and with the Pats coming up there's no rest for the weary. Despite any lingering effects from the Ravens game, the offense is ready to prove that last week's performance was an anomaly against their division rivals.
"I think we're looking forward to getting back on the field this week," Schottenheimer said. "We know that's not our best performance, we expect much higher from ourselves, and we think we'll do that this weekend."