FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New offensive coordinator Tony Sparano hopes to bring a vertical element to the Jets' passing game, but that hasn't materialized yet. In two games, they haven't completed a pass longer than 21 yards -- and that was a swing pass to RB Joe McKnight.
Sparano said there were "three or four real glaring opportunities" to throw downfield in Saturday night's 26-3 loss to the Giants. So what happened? He said it was a combination of the quarterback not seeing the open receiver and the offensive line not providing enough time. He said the Giants played a lot of two-safety looks, forcing them to throw underneath.
"We had some shots at some ball down the field, and we just didn't see them," Sparano said. "I call them 'green-lighters,' and when we see those green-lighters come up, we have to be able to execute them."
Sparano met the media Monday. Some takeaways from his Q & A session:
• He was encouraged, not disappointed, by the offense, which has yet to score a touchdown. He said there were "some really good things coming out of the film," including three quarters of a solid running game. He said they had more "efficient" plays than they did in the first game.
• He was kind to RT Wayne Hunter, who allowed 2.5 sacks. On the first sack, Sparano pointed out a fundamental flaw, saying, "Wayne had a lot of weight on his outside foot. That's not going to make a lot of sense to a lot of people, but when you put 330 pounds on your right foot and somebody pushes you, let me know how that feels."
• Sparano agreed with Rex Ryan, saying backup RT Austin Howard could see time with the starters Sunday night against the Panthers.
• Sparano tried to spin Santonio Holmes' absence into a positive, saying it has afforded him the opportunity to evaluate younger receivers such as Stephen Hill, Patrick Turner, Jordan White and Royce Pollard. Said Sparano: "For the most part, these kids have done a really good job. I think they're rising to the occasion that way."
• The Jets' OC laughed when asked if he's trying to build the unit's confidence in light of the early struggles. "No, I mean this group isn't really short on confidence," he said. "They're a pretty confident bunch of guys. Obviously, you want to see touchdowns because you want to see the kids smile. You want to see some validation on what it is we've been doing and how hard they've been working."