Rex Ryan: Jets need changes to offense

Updated: September 15, 2010, 5:55 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- That didn't take long.

After one horrendous performance by his offense, Rex Ryan said Tuesday the New York Jets need to tweak their approach. He wants to throw downfield more often, also hinting that he may want coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to simplify his game plans.

"We need to get better," Ryan said a day after the Jets' 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. "If that's dialing things back or whatever, we'll search for the right answer."

The staples of Schottenheimer's offense are the pre-snap shifts and motions he uses to create favorable matchups and confuse the defense. If Ryan asks him to scale back, it could be perceived as a slight toward Schottenheimer. There's a feeling around the team that Ryan isn't a fan of the bells and whistles on offense, especially when his young quarterback is struggling to run it.

Ryan didn't sugar-coat his feelings when asked if he's concerned about the offense.

"Yes, absolutely," he said. "I think we have the ability, I don't think there's any doubt."

Ryan expressed confidence in his players and coaching staff, but it was clear he was deeply disappointed by the opening-night showing. The Jets produced only 176 total yards and six first downs, converting only one of 11 on third down.

In a word, they look dysfunctional. As Ryan said, "There was nothing. There was no rhythm."

Mark Sanchez, who came into the season with high expectations after his impressive finish as a rookie, appeared tentative against the Ravens' ferocious pass rush. If Sanchez (10-for-21, 74 yards) was too cautious, it's because Ryan "drilled it into his head" to avoid turnovers against the opportunistic Ravens.

In fact, Sanchez threw only two deep balls, including a 33-yard completion to Dustin Keller that was nullified by a penalty. The other was an incompletion to Jerricho Cotchery.

Now, suddenly, Ryan wants Sanchez to take more shots downfield. But that sends a mixed message to Sanchez. Ryan wants him to be smart and avoid turnovers, yet he would like to see more long passes.

No wonder the second-year quarterback looked confused Monday night.

"We're going to have to throw downfield more," Ryan said. "We just need to take advantage of some of the things we have. Braylon [Edwards] is a great matchup for us against any corner in the league. He's got great size and speed. J-Co [Cotchery[ is the same way. Both of them are big guys that we have to use to loosen people up."

In practice last week, the coaches told the players they wanted to exploit the Ravens' lack of size at cornerback, according to one player. (Fabian Washington is 5-11, Chris Carr 5-10.) But that strategy never materialized. The 6-3 Edwards, the Jets' biggest target, was targeted only three times.

"We never really got anything going," Edwards said after the game.

Suffice it to say that Schottenheimer's play calling left some players shaking their heads.

Schottenheimer isn't a huge fan of the vertical passing game, but that could be because he wants to protect Sanchez. As a rookie, he threw a league-high 14 interceptions on pass attempts longer than 15 yards, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

This week, the Jets will have to get their offensive act in gear to keep up with the New England Patriots, who were clicking in a 38-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

"You can be more aggressive -- maybe that's the answer -- but as soon as he throws three interceptions, you'll be wondering what the heck is going on here," Ryan said.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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