Dustin Keller isn't on board with the growing backlash of criticism flowing at Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer.
With the offense turning in yet another stinker of a performance in Saturday's 29-14 loss to the Giants, speculation is beginning to build about the long-term future of the Jets quarterback and their offensive coordinator. Keller thinks it's unfair.
"I don’t agree with those things," the tight end said this afternoon on a conference call. "I’ve always been very happy with both of them. I think Schotty has done a great job. Obviously, when you have had things go wrong, it’s going to fall on the shoulders of the quarterback and the offensive coordinator. I’ve always been happy with his playcalling and I just think he’s a great coordinator."
"Mark, he’s getting better and better and it’s really tough to put all of this on him," Keller added. "So I know what he‘s capable of. The rest of the team does. So we need to lean on him."
He doesn't often feel the need, but whenever the situation arises, Keller goes to the third-year signal caller and offers him some encouragement.
"He always has our support," Keller said. "I think everybody individually, they go to him and talk to him and let him know that we have his back 100 percent. Everybody on the outside looking in wants to put the blame on him or the playcallers or whatever, but as a team we know that is not the case. We know as receivers, we can do a much better job running routes, O-linemen and our running backs in protection or whatever.
"We just let him know that we have his back no matter what and he’s our quarterback, and we are going to lean on him."
The Jets have to find something to lean on with an offense that's ranked 27th and averaging merely 307.7 yards per game. They came into the season with high expectations, thinking they could easily be among the league leaders in many of the key statistical categories.
Keller was at a loss for why the offense hasn't been as good as it should.
"It’s hard to say," he said. "I don’t have an answer for that. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs and really never at any point have we been consistent. So I don’t know. It’s just something that we have to do more in practice, because more times than not, it is a direct reflection of how we’ve been performing in practice. But I don’t know what causes that."
Does the constant inconsistencies surprise him?
"Yeah, I’m very surprised," Keller said. "I would've thought that with this team, because we have the veterans, that have been around, that we’d be one of the teams that would start out a little bit faster because of the 'Jets West' camps and stuff like that. Obviously, some guys weren’t on the team at that time, but we did a lot to be a team that starts fast, and that hasn’t been case at all.
"It’s very surprising."
Keller said the Jets have to quickly forget about Saturday's game and move on to thinking about taking on the Dolphins in Miami in six days.
"Obviously, it's tough and it's not a game that we want to dwell on," Keller said. "A lot of things have to happen, but it's definitely still possible for us to get into the playoffs. So we have to gout and handle our business on Sunday and just see what happens with the rest of the league."