FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Marty Mornhinweg would love to have his offense throw more -- except the Jets are built to run the football and quarterback Geno Smith turns it over quite a bit.
The offensive coordinator said Thursday that the Jets started off the 2013 and 2014 seasons with more of an attacking offense, but "then we chose to play a certain style from that point on.''
"Just the way we are built,'' Mornhinweg said. ". . . I thought we were doing both pretty well early. . . . Then, consciously, we morphed into quite a little bit more running.''
The Jets' run-pass ratio is 441-444, but it's misleading, given that they focus on the ground game early in games before switching to more of an air attack after they've fallen behind.
In their last three games -- all starts by Smith -- they've called 120 running plays compared with only 70 passes. Most notably, they rushed for 277 yards against the Dolphins on Monday Night Football Dec. 1 and Smith threw for only 49 yards on 13 attempts. It was the fewest passes in any NFL game since Tim Tebow threw eight times for the Broncos in 2011.
"In this league, you need to pass the ball very efficiently to score points, typically,'' Mornhinweg said. "Now, every game is just a little bit different. Certainly, the passing game, you have to get that going at some point to win on a consistent basis . . . Everybody would like to be more like that because you score more points. You know what I mean?''
Though Rex Ryan has tried to distance himself from his ground-and-pound persona, he insisted after the Jets' 38-3 Week 12 loss to the Bills that they needed to get back to feeding their running backs. "For our team to have success, we need to run the football,'' Ryan said on Nov. 27, when his team was 2-9. "Maybe other teams can throw it 50 times a game. That is not the blueprint for us.''
Eric Decker's lingering hamstring injury grounded their passing attack early in the season, but Smith's offensive struggles have greatly hindered that approach. While discussing Smith, Mornhinweg cautioned that "every quarterback develops at a little bit of a different rate.''
When asked if Smith's lack of progress has kept him from running the type of offense he had envisioned, Mornhinweg evaded the question.
"Geno certainly has played some fine games, including last week,'' he said. "His challenge is to play at a high level on a consistent basis.''