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  1. #1
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    The Marty Mornhinweg system: How the new Jets coordinator runs his offense

    On his first day as Marty Mornhinweg’s quarterbacks coach, Kevin Higgins learned that some of his most rooted beliefs about the game would no longer apply.

    For example, the path a receiver takes during a passing play is not, and should never be called, a pattern. In the NFL, you call it a route.

    And that drill nearly every quarterback in football does to warm up before practice — the one where he’s holding the ball and opening his hips to the left and right? That’s completely useless.

    The QB doesn’t move like that during a game, does he?

    "He said, ‘What the heck are you doing?’ " Higgins said. "Everything you did had to carry over to the game."

    Higgins, the current head coach at The Citadel who worked under Mornhinweg during his two years as a head coach for the Detroit Lions, has as good an understanding of Mornhinweg’s offense as anyone.

    He helped Mornhinweg sculpt game plans, made adjustments and, after being removed for more than a decade, has the perspective to compare it against other West Coast-style schemes.

    As the Jets prepare for their first season with Mornhinweg as the new offensive coordinator, Higgins gave The Star-Ledger a look at some of the main principles in the coordinator’s system.

    Like Mornhinweg himself, the offense is meticulous and dependent on precise details. Quarterbacks alone have a menu of 30 different drills to chose from during the week, consistent with the Bill Walsh coaching philosophy Mornhinweg learned from, Higgins said.

    Like Mornhinweg’s numbers show — eight top-10 scoring offenses as a head coach or coordinator, as well as nine top-10 passing offenses, and six top-10 rushing offenses — it can pay off.

    "It’s versatile, there’s a lot of things you can do," Higgins said. "Typically you’re playing with two backs in the backfield, so you’re going to have the opportunity to run power, run gap schemes and run inside and outside zones.

    "From a pass game standpoint, it’s all about timing and it’s all about rhythm."

    IT'S ABOUT TIMING


    "It was never on a clock. It’s all about the quarterback’s footwork."

    From slants to skinny posts, every route in Mornhinweg’s playbook is based on a timing system with a direct correlation to the type of drop-back a quarterback takes. The drops include:

    Three step, plant and throw.

    Three step, hesitate and throw.

    Five step, plant and throw.

    Five step, hitch and throw.

    Seven step, hitch and throw.

    The goal is to create a quarterback-receiver relationship based more on feel and rhythm. In the past, for example, Mark Sanchez was put on a countdown clock and buzzer in order to get plays off in a certain time. This system would ensure the wideout is working off of a different, more natural indicator to run the route.

    "The series of quarterback-related drills (he does with footwork), I think, are outstanding," Higgins said. "That’s the first thing I did when I arrived in Detroit. Marty pulled me in a room and we went through them all meticulously. Every drill had a name and a goal."

    COMPLETION PERCENTAGE


    "There’s going to be a lot of slants, a lot of out routes and a lot of skinny posts."

    Because of the timed routes, Higgins said the offense thrives on completion percentage, despite Mornhinweg working with quarterbacks not known for hitting on a high percentage of their passes. From 2010-2012, under Mornhinweg, Eagles QB Michael Vick had a completion rate of 60.2 percent after having a career 53.8 percentage in Atlanta.

    Sanchez has a 55.1 rate for his career.

    Higgins said the quarterbacks they worked with in Detroit loved the system, not only because of the simplicity and high success rate of the routes, but because of the security blanket installed with each play. No matter what, every play has a designed check-down option.

    "On every route that’s devised, there’s always going to be a check-down," Higgins said. "We used to say, ‘as long as you can count to three you can be successful.’ If one isn’t there, look to two. If two isn’t there, reset your feet and make sure you find No. 3. There’s always going to be a nice check-down for you."

    CREATING MISMATCHES


    "We didn’t have a lot of talent, that was before some of the high draft choices like Roy Williams and guys like Az-Zahir Hakim came. … But just the various ways he could get the backs the football, I thought, was very, very good."

    During Mornhinweg’s first season as Lions head coach in 2001, the team was first in the league in passing attempts and sixth in yards, despite a slew of injuries and a roster depleted of top-level talent.

    One of his top weapons ended up being 6-foot, 247-pound fullback Cory Schlesinger, who understood leverage and could mismatch himself on linebackers. Schlesinger had 60 receptions for 466 yards, the second-most receptions on the team next to wideout Johnnie Morton.

    During the Jets’ 2012 season, the fullbacks and running backs combined had just 42 catches — a correlation that’s easy to make with a rapid regression in Sanchez’s game, including the second-worst completion percentage of his career.

    GOING DEEP


    "What made Marty different from all the other West Coast guys was he took a lot of shots downfield."

    Between 2010 and 2011, Mornhinweg’s Eagles were in the top 10 in passing plays of 20 yards or more. On passing plays of 40 yards or more they were No. 1 in 2010 and No. 12 in 2011.

    Higgins remembers this philosophy going back to offensive meetings where Mornhinweg would look at the game plan and jokingly scold his coaches in Detroit for being too reliant on the safe dinks and dunks that define his system.

    "We’ve only got three or four shots downfield," Higgins remembered Mornhinweg saying. "I want to see six or seven that can give us an honest chance at a home run that are realistic plays, like deep crossing routes with seven or eight man protection."

    He wanted detail and regiment, but he also wanted the chance to surprise on any given play. In essence, what Rex Ryan has said he now wants in an offense.

    "The Jets are going to enjoy playing for him," Higgins said.
    http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/201...system_ho.html

    Follow me on Twitter @TheGaudAlmighty

  2. #2
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    This is awesome. I always appreciate a true FOOTBALL post, one that goes into the X's and O's a bit.

    I am truly excited about this upcoming season (Just like every other one). It will be interested to see if Mark can succeed...

    Way back in the stands, you can see my Wife holding my son on the ledge at his first Green and White scrimmage...circa 2013...aka "The Transformation" year into greatness! That's right Emryk...you saw the beginning stages of JETS Greatness first hand!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Realistik84 View Post
    This is awesome. I always appreciate a true FOOTBALL post, one that goes into the X's and O's a bit.

    I am truly excited about this upcoming season (Just like every other one). It will be interested to see if Mark can succeed...
    This does beg the question of whether or not the Jets will retain Mark and give him another shot. I do think our WR corps is just fine and will have success under Marty's system. I think Greene is gone and Powell and McKnight will have big roles. How much he utilizes the TE is still a question - Celek became a major focal point. Would he like to keep Keller? Josh Baker could move to FB and thrive with his receiving skills. Cumberland could be retained. Lots of moves will be made as this offense is being completely transformed. Very exciting.
    Last edited by John X Doe; 01-23-2013 at 09:58 AM.

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    I dont think Sanchez can handle this offense. It requires way to much accuracy and BRAINS which this kid doesnt seem to have. All I can picture is Pick-6's every time he drops back. With all the short routes he needs to be a good decision maker.. Sanchez is not.

    But i am unbelieveably excited to see this new offense. I agree I think the WR's are good enough. Need to find a RB but i really want to see them trade for Matt Flynn now. He knows the system unlike all 3 QB's we have on the roster. Thats a problem. But no matter who it is, im so happy to see us get aggresive. Morningwhig loves throwing deep! Something i love and something the Jets have lacked. Per the article, he likes to try to throw downfield at least 7-8 times a game. Which just puts a big smile on my face.

    On Santonio Holmes... Am i the only one to thinks he could have a great year in this system? Especially if we got Flynn who can actually throw in the WCO! Santonio could explode and really earn his contract and the fans hearts. He wont get doubled with 5 wide (too much if at all)... he could have a HUGE year.. with a QB who can throw it to him. I hear everyone wanting to get rid of him... THE GUY DOESNT HAVE A QB. He was used to Rapelessburger! Get him FLynn and this west coast system? I think he explodes for a big year. Im sorry im all over the Flynn bandwagon even though he has barely played... but **** it.. we need a QB who knows the system.. morningwhig will blow his brains out if he has to try to teach Sanchez, McElroy, and tebow how to throw... agian

  5. #5
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    As I am on record saying I think this is a great hire at OC, just what we need. However, please do not let this trick you into believing that what we have seen consistantly out of Mark for the past 4 seasons can be changed because of the system. I dont care who the coach is Mark can not and will not be successful as a member of this team. It is not about mechanics, not about footwork, hell I will even give him a pass on his league worst accuracy. He is a headcase, somthing a good QB cant be. Mark was embraced his first 2 years despite his piss poor QB play, he still did not improve. Once you have lost your mental edge, especially as a QB, you dont just get it back. 1 pick opening week next year is all it takes for the fans to pounce, and they will. Change of scenery is his only chance at becoming an ok backup in the NFL, and becasue of his salary he wont get that this year.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John X Doe View Post
    This does beg the question of whether or not the Jets will retain Mark and give him another shot. I do think our WR corps is just fine and will have success under Marty's system. I think Greene is gone and Powell and McKnight will have big roles. How much he utilizes the TE is still a question - Celek became a major focal point. Would he like to keep Keller? Josh Baker could move to FB and thrive with his receiving skills. Cumberland could be retained. Lots of moves will be made as this offense is being completely transformed. Very exciting.
    As of right now Sanchez is under contract, and until that changes he will be here next season...otherwise we could speculate about all 53.

    Way back in the stands, you can see my Wife holding my son on the ledge at his first Green and White scrimmage...circa 2013...aka "The Transformation" year into greatness! That's right Emryk...you saw the beginning stages of JETS Greatness first hand!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JETty12213 View Post
    I dont think Sanchez can handle this offense. It requires way to much accuracy and BRAINS which this kid doesnt seem to have. All I can picture is Pick-6's every time he drops back. With all the short routes he needs to be a good decision maker.. Sanchez is not.

    But i am unbelieveably excited to see this new offense. I agree I think the WR's are good enough. Need to find a RB but i really want to see them trade for Matt Flynn now. He knows the system unlike all 3 QB's we have on the roster. Thats a problem. But no matter who it is, im so happy to see us get aggresive. Morningwhig loves throwing deep! Something i love and something the Jets have lacked. Per the article, he likes to try to throw downfield at least 7-8 times a game. Which just puts a big smile on my face.

    On Santonio Holmes... Am i the only one to thinks he could have a great year in this system? Especially if we got Flynn who can actually throw in the WCO! Santonio could explode and really earn his contract and the fans hearts. He wont get doubled with 5 wide (too much if at all)... he could have a HUGE year.. with a QB who can throw it to him. I hear everyone wanting to get rid of him... THE GUY DOESNT HAVE A QB. He was used to Rapelessburger! Get him FLynn and this west coast system? I think he explodes for a big year. Im sorry im all over the Flynn bandwagon even though he has barely played... but **** it.. we need a QB who knows the system.. morningwhig will blow his brains out if he has to try to teach Sanchez, McElroy, and tebow how to throw... agian
    You obviously did not pay attention to detail - Vick, considered one of the least accurate QB's had a 53% Completion rating PRIOR to this offense, and since has put up 60%+.

    I am not saying that is a guarantee Sanchez can succeed...but the article goes into detail as to how some of the fundamentals change in his style of Offense that MAY lend themselves nicely to enabling Sanchez to succeed.

    I too would love to trade for Flynn - or make a move for Geno.
    Holmes and Kerley may dominate in this system, and hopefully Hill will step up.
    Last edited by Realistik84; 01-23-2013 at 11:01 AM.

    Way back in the stands, you can see my Wife holding my son on the ledge at his first Green and White scrimmage...circa 2013...aka "The Transformation" year into greatness! That's right Emryk...you saw the beginning stages of JETS Greatness first hand!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JETty12213 View Post

    On Santonio Holmes... Am i the only one to thinks he could have a great year in this system? Especially if we got Flynn who can actually throw in the WCO! Santonio could explode and really earn his contract and the fans hearts. He wont get doubled with 5 wide (too much if at all)... he could have a HUGE year.. with a QB who can throw it to him. I hear everyone wanting to get rid of him... THE GUY DOESNT HAVE A QB. He was used to Rapelessburger! Get him FLynn and this west coast system? I think he explodes for a big year. Im sorry im all over the Flynn bandwagon even though he has barely played... but **** it.. we need a QB who knows the system.. morningwhig will blow his brains out if he has to try to teach Sanchez, McElroy, and tebow how to throw... agian
    Ya the only reason us jet fans do not like holmes is cuz Sanchez. Holmes is a guy whose gonna be an ******* if he's not getting the ball. Im not saying thats the right thing to do, but do you blame the guy, the guy is talented as hell has great hands and playmaker speed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmvQVz1-bOU
    watch the whole drive not just the end this is what the guys capable of with a good qb who can just make balls catchable in his direction

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Realistik84 View Post
    As of right now Sanchez is under contract, and until that changes he will be here next season...otherwise we could speculate about all 53.
    Not all 53 were benched. Yes, it is all speculation - even Sanchez staying. We shall see.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetsguy View Post
    As I am on record saying I think this is a great hire at OC, just what we need. However, please do not let this trick you into believing that what we have seen consistantly out of Mark for the past 4 seasons can be changed because of the system. I dont care who the coach is Mark can not and will not be successful as a member of this team. It is not about mechanics, not about footwork, hell I will even give him a pass on his league worst accuracy. He is a headcase, somthing a good QB cant be. Mark was embraced his first 2 years despite his piss poor QB play, he still did not improve. Once you have lost your mental edge, especially as a QB, you dont just get it back. 1 pick opening week next year is all it takes for the fans to pounce, and they will. Change of scenery is his only chance at becoming an ok backup in the NFL, and becasue of his salary he wont get that this year.
    Morningwood will probably meet with Sanchez at some point in the near future, and may even work him out.

    Because of Sanchez's contract situation, he isn't going anywyere, so I'd bet that no decisions will be made until Sanchez has worked out at the OTA's.


    Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
    -Sun Tzu

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    Are there any other viable candidates out there such as a Jason Campbell that would make sensible competition?

    Who has WCO experience?

    Way back in the stands, you can see my Wife holding my son on the ledge at his first Green and White scrimmage...circa 2013...aka "The Transformation" year into greatness! That's right Emryk...you saw the beginning stages of JETS Greatness first hand!

  12. #12
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    Flynn and Kolb off the top of my head.


    “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.”
    - Tug McGraw, on his plans for his $75,000 salary

  13. #13
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    A. Smith too, but he costs too much.

    This system is what I was hoping Sporano's would be, except short passes instead of runs. Which is a big difference, but if we get a line that can block it up I feel like we should be able to run when we need to. A real deep threat constantly looking to attack would compliment that well, and vice verse.

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    I think we are best of having Izdik and Mornhinweg work together to draft peices to fit this offensive scheme rather than pay big bucks for free agents. I believe we should draft WR, QB and TE that are all capable of running this type of fast paced, throw happy offense.

    Smith isnt anything more then a game manager and Flynn/Kolb all are too much to pay for while still having Sanchez's salary against us.


    FROM COUNTRY ROADS TO THE BIG APPLE .. FLIGHT GENO , READY FOR DEPARTURE

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    The positive about the west coast system is that it relies on timing and fundamentals. Hopefully what we see with the installation of this system is that it forces Sanchez to go back to basics and rep the hell out of his drops, footwork, delivery, and progression. He is broken. Hoepfully, this will force him to go back to basics and rebuild. The same can be said for the receivers. They need to go back to basics as well, run precise routes, and get yards after catch. The perfect west coast QB/WR were Montana/Rice. What did they both have in common? They were perfectionists and did not get bored running the same route/drills over and over again. I don't think there will be as many option routes either. Those option routes frustrated everyone last year when Sanchez and the receiver would not be on the same page. There are no excuses in this offense. The QB should know where his receiver is going to be. Either he is open and gets the ball or it goes to the next guy. The only thing fans have to live with is throwing to a fullback for a 4 yard game on 3rd and 12. That is the price of a high completion percentage and a staple of the west coast offense, just think back to when Pennington was playing under paul hackett

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