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Schott to Sh*t: Schottenheimer Jet-issoned


The day has come. I awoke at 4 a.m. for an early morning business trip, and it’s as if I could hear the cheers of jubilation echoing from various corners of the Interwebs. Sayonora Schotty, they exclaimed! Happy trails, they joked. Good riddance, they collectively chimed. Yes, the moment has arrived. Brian Schottenheimer is no longer the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets.

Because of my travels, I’ve yet to read a word of news and commentary around the move (Schotty talk isn’t taking hold quite yet in Minnesota, as far as I can tell). Mr. Schottenheimer’s  departure is not that surprising if you’ve read between any of the the lines uttered by Rex and Tanny over the past few weeks, but it’s still a bit jarring when conjecture becomes reality. So, without the influence of outside sources, here’s where I land on it.

Need for a Fall Guy

Let’s start with one thing, so no punches are pulled. I was not a fan of Schotty these past two seasons. I wasn’t standing atop a soapbox or pelting forums and comments sections with corresponding “Fire Schotty” rhetoric, but, make no mistake, I was in favor of a change. Still, those who attribute every failed move and result to Brian Schottenheimer this season are clearly deranged.

Someone clearly needed to take the fall. Blame is not singular, of course. Chemistry was an issue. The defense was not as good. Players failed to perform. But, in the end, we all knew the easiest place to heap blame. And it was at least partially warranted. Rex is here to stay — for now — although he too must make changes. Schotty had to be the fall guy. In fact, there could be no better candidate.

Offensive Regression

Beyond all the locker room issues. Regardless of the players who’d come and gone. One thing is indisputable. The Jets offense regressed this season. From a statistical standpoint, the team dropped from 11th overall in 2010-11 to 25th in total offense at the end of this regular season. Aside from the 49ers (who managed to win with defense and managing the game for their previously-beleaguered signal caller, Alex Smith), only the Chiefs, Seahawks, Browns, Colts, Rams and Jags were worse. Not good company. Schotty is the first place to point a finger.

In my view, an effective offensive coordinator doesn’t need to guide his team to gaudy stats. He needs to put them in a position to succeed, improve and win. He should also exhibit an identifiable philosophy and approach that is consistent and clearly articulated to his unit and the broader coaching staff. From the outside looking in, he appeared to fail on all fronts. Mark Sanchez, regardless of how you spin the numbers, took a step back. It was impossible to decipher how the Jets approached their offensive gameplan from week to week and “what they wanted to be.” Players were not utilized in the right way. And, perhaps most tellingly (and, in part because of this), the offense lacked any rhythm whatsoever for the overwhelming majority of the season.

What’s perhaps most frustrating is that there were periods when Schottenheimer did seem to have it all together. I firmly recall the first half of the Jets game against Oakland back in week three (and even the opening drives of the Philly game) where I was impressed with the play calling. Inexplicably though those moments were fleeting. The Jets looked schizophrenic far too many times, and the results spoke for themselves. Schotty’s failure to play a positive role in facilitating the “leap” for Mark Sanchez was what probably garnered the most blame.

Sparano the Answer?

So, what does that mean for the future? Callahan is gone. For whatever it’s worth, there was a ton of hype around him as both an offensive line coach and the heir apparent to the OC job. Instead, he appears destined for Dallas. Henry Ellard is out as receivers coach. Who’s in? Tony Sparano. So, what does that mean? I have no idea. Here’s what I had to say a few months ago having no idea Sparano would be roaming the Jets sideline with a headset in 2012.  I was impressed with the job he did in Miami with the personnel at his disposal. I think Sanchez needs to stop being babied and Tony seems like the kind of coach who could toughen him up…or sit him down until he does.

In the end, none of us citizen journalists knows nothing. But that doesn’t stop me from having any opinion. After six years, Brian Schottenheimer’s Jets tenure had run its course. This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and his resume of late does not include much doing. So, the Jets move on. Ultimately, there’s one person who really can bring clarity to this whole mess. We’ll see what he has to say about it in 2012. In the meantime, getting rid of Schotty is almost a necessary step to see what the future may hold.

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