Gridiron Dave: Jets Offense “Kicking Butt” During OTAs

Jets fans worrying about the state of the offense may have been encouraged when wide receiver Brandon Marshall stated that the offense has been kicking the defense’s butts during OTAs.

“That’s a great Brandon Marshall answer,” said Jets head coach Todd Bowles. “But they have more chemistry and they’ve been together in the system a year, so they’re not starting out as slow as they were last year. So they’ve been in sync pretty good.”

Jets fans will be quick to point out that “they” does not include the still unsigned Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been seen as much as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster at Jets camp. Geno Smith has been taking reps with the first-team and Bowles doesn’t want him thinking about Fitzpatrick.

The coach feels that it’s not tough for Smith to show off some leadership skills even if his standing as number one isn’t permanent. “I don’t think it clips his wings or anybody else’s,” Bowles said. “You play football and you have the opportunity to play. You take advantage of opportunities whether you’re first team, second team or third team, you have to do your job and he’s been doing your job. He’s been great mentally and I’m happy with what he is doing.”

Bowles has made clear that his focus is on dealing with the Jets that he has as opposed to players that he doesn’t. That has him assessing Smith’s performance under center. “You evaluate him on his reads, you evaluate him on running the offense and controlling the offense, getting us in and out of the right plays, making the right throws and doing his job,” Bowles said. “That’s how we evaluate him, regardless of whether (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is here or not. We evaluate him the same.”

The results have pleased the coach. “Okay so far, he’s been doing good,” Bowles said. “Again, being in the system a year, all the guys on offense have a better grasp.”

Judging from the first six weeks of the schedule, someone with the Jets must have really upset one of the schedule makers. Five of the first six are against teams that made the playoffs in 2015, and in week 2 they play Buffalo, who defeated Gang Green twice, including in Week 17. The Jets do not get so see a Brady-less Patriots team. The final 10 games are easier on paper, save for a pair of games against New England.

Coaches will sometimes say that they don’t pay attention to the schedule and are only focused on week 1, and maybe only on the next day. Bowles had no problem telling the media that not only did he look, he looked at the late season games to see who they would play in the cold. “Well, we knew who were playing, we just didn’t know when we were playing certain teams, because the schedule was out, as far as I’m concerned, the year before,” Bowles said. “The first thing I look at when we get the schedule is who we are playing in the cold and December. The December games are pretty good, then you just go back to game one. You can only play them one at a time, so that all I really concentrate on.”

What remains to be seen is if it will Fitzpatrick or Smith as QB early in the season against the Cardinals, Seahawks, Chiefs, Bengals and Steelers.

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