Among the many problems for the Jets’ offense last season was that quarterback Mark Sanchez completed just 54.3 percent of his passes, ranking 30th of 32 qualifying quarterbacks. But new Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg says that’s not necessarily that big a problem.
Asked in an interview on the Jets’ website if there’s a certain completion percentage benchmark that he’ll need his quarterback to reach, Mornhinweg answered, “No, absolutely not.”
Mornhinweg went on to say that he has seen quarterbacks have great seasons without great completion percentages.
“Some of the great ones have really not thrown for such great accuracy,” Mornhinweg said. “Steve Young was astronomical accuracy-wise. Brett Favre wasn’t. Brett Favre, I believe won an MVP two different times out of the three times that he won it, throwing 58, 59, 60 percent, somewhere in there. So they all come in different shapes and sizes.”
For the record, in the three seasons that Favre was MVP he completed 63.0, 59.9 and 59.3 percent of his passes. In four NFL seasons Sanchez has never completed more than 56.7 percent of his passes. So even if Favre wasn’t known for great accuracy, Sanchez still has work to do to get to Favre’s level. It’s also important to note that NFL passing offenses have changed significantly in the years since Favre was winning MVPs. Favre’s 59.3 percent completion rate in 1997 was tied for sixth in the NFL. In 2012 there were 20 NFL quarterbacks with a better completion percentage than that.
And, of course, if your completion percentage is going to be low, you’d better be making big plays downfield. Sanchez wasn’t: He averaged just 6.4 yards a pass and threw just 13 touchdown passes last season. Mornhinweg acknowledged that a less accurate passer needs to make up for it by making more big plays.
“Those guys that throw for a little bit less accuracy typically are generating a little bit bigger plays on occasion. There’s a little bit of a tradeoff there,” Mornhinweg said.
Overall, Mornhinweg said the Jets are going to have an agressive, physical offense this year.
“We’re gonna go after people,” Mornhinweg said. “There are different ways to go after people, but we’re going to go after ’em and we’re going to play to our players’ strengths rather than concerning ourselves too much about their weaknesses.”
It will be easier to do that if the Jets are completing more than 55 percent of their passes.