FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mike LaFleur is pointing at himself for the Jets’ failure to score a point last week.
LaFleur, a first-time offensive coordinator, blamed poor execution for the Jets being shut out in Denver. But he didn’t say it was the players’ fault. LaFleur put it on his shoulders, and then challenged himself and his coaches to do a better job of putting his players in position to be successful.
"We didn’t execute very well, which is disappointing because I look at that as coaching," LaFleur said. "When guys aren’t executing you have to figure out what is going wrong; what are the players not hearing that is not allowing the execution?
"I challenged the coaches. I challenge myself. How can we make it easier? How can you say it in a way that these guys can understand it better? You can’t win in this league until you execute. It is such a precision league. We’re not doing that right now, so we got to get that fixed."
No one expected the Jets to be an offensive juggernaut to start the season. Not with a rookie quarterback, first-time coordinator and playing in a new system. But it was hard to predict that things would be this bad.
The Jets (0-3) have the NFL’s worst scoring offense. They’ve totaled 20 points in three games. They have zero touchdowns in the last two games. The Jets have scored three first-half points all season. Zach Wilson has been sacked a league-high 15 times and his seven interceptions are tied for the most.
These are nasty stats that LaFleur and Wilson carry into Sunday’s game against the Titans. LaFleur, 34, is receiving more criticism because he’s the play caller, and he hasn’t distinguished himself in his first three games.
LaFleur’s belief in himself and the system he adopted from 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan haven’t wavered, though.
"I don’t lose confidence. I don’t panic or anything like that," LaFleur said. "I’m always looking at it: how can I be better? That won’t stop, even when there’s results."
LaFleur, the brother of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, said multiple times that he doesn’t panic. When he met with the players on Monday, LaFleur told them, "As long as I’m here, there’s going to be zero panic."
Zero panic is better than zero points. But it’s important that LaFleur shows his players that type of confidence and conviction during this difficult time.
"You got to go about your process," LaFleur said. "I come into work every Monday and I’m going to work my butt off for these guys and for this organization. You just try to put these guys in the best situation to be successful. Right now, we’re not getting it done.
"I’m going to be harder on myself than anybody. There’s nothing anybody, my mom, dad, my wife, anyone can tell me that’s going to make it any better or worse. I’m going to come in solely focused on those guys and the organization."
LaFleur also challenged the players to be "one play better, two plays better." He said they’re not in sync all the time and that it’s leading to breakdowns.
The West Coast system with the outside zone blocking scheme, when run properly, produces big plays both in the run and pass game. The Jets aren’t running it properly, and they’re not running that much at all.
After all the talk about the system being run-heavy to open the play-action passing game and take some pressure off Wilson, the Jets have had 58 designed runs and 105 pass attempts. Some of it is because they’ve been trailing so much, like last week when they ran it just 13 times in Denver. But LaFleur said that shouldn’t happen.
"We got away from the run too early," he said. "That’s on me."
LaFleur has seen some improvements in Wilson and the offensive line, but overall there are many areas that need addressing.
"We need to get better at a lot of things right now and we need to do it now," LaFleur said. "That’s what I challenged the coaches and the players to get done. So far I like what the results have been the last few days."