NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – There’s an old joke that can be changed to fit any team that said, “What’s the best way to keep X team out of your yard? Put up goal posts.” That joke fits perfectly to the 2012 version of the New York Jets.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to Jets fans. First-year offensive coordinator Tony Sparano spent the last four years as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and one of the hallmarks of the Dolphins’ offense was the reliance on the field goal.
Sparano was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-2011. He tried to implement a ground-and-pound approach and his offense’s never ranked higher than 15th in the league in points scored and never ranked higher than 12th in yards gained in a season.
In fact, in each of his last two seasons, his offense’s never ranked higher than 20th in scoring and never ranked higher than 21st in yards gained.
It got so bad that in the last two years of his coaching career in Miami, fans openly joked about whether the Dolphins should change the name of the team’s mascot from ‘TD’ to ‘FG.’
After three preseason games with the New York Jets, the team has no consistency, no identity, and has scored as many touchdowns as you have in the preseason. The Jets offense bogs down when it gets to the 20-yard line and looks almost exactly like the Dolphins over the last three years.
In the Jets’ latest preseason debacle, the quarterbacks threw for a combined 15-32 for 178 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Jets also lost tight end Dustin Keller to an injury and presumed best receiver Santonio Holmes had one catch for eight yards.
Sparano’s specialty, the offensive line, has been abysmal in New York, just like it struggled for four years in Miami. In New York, the Jets have had to go to an undrafted free agent to start at right tackle after the presumed starter Wayne Hunter proved he was no match for any NFL pass rusher.
Then there’s the Tebow factor that both Sparano and Jets head coach Rex Ryan will have to deal with in the coming season. If the offense struggles, like it’s looking like it’s going to do under Sanchez, the call for Tebow to start will be deafening from New York crowds.
Tebow is an abysmal passer, but he has shown a knack for making big plays when they count in the National Football League, which is more than can be said for Sanchez. It’s almost the argument that was had when Chad Henne and Chad Pennington were on the roster in Miami.
The Jets aren’t done any favors by the scheduling gods either. The Jets open up against a vastly improved Buffalo Bills defense, before traveling to play an always stout Steelers team. The Jets get a reprieve in a trip to Miami and then play the 49ers and Texas in back-to-back weeks. Another reprieve follows the next week with the Colts and then the Jets tangle with the New England Patriots.
Based on their preseason performance, it’s entirely plausible the Jets could open up 2-5 through their first seven games, which could effectively put the playoffs at almost too much of a reach for another season in New York.
And if Sparano doesn’t have the Jets going in the right direction this season, he could be looking for work for a second-consecutive offseason.