Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan say no TDs, no problem for Jets

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Among Rex Ryan's first words at a recent press conference were these: "I want to congratulate Nick Folk."

Folk is the New York Jets kicker. Ryan singled him out for winning a closely contested competition with Josh Brown, a battle between two players who provided every Jets point through three preseason games. Though not one extra point.

The Jets' offense has been that bad.

In the first three preseason games, the Jets had 36 possessions and ran 173 plays without reaching the end zone. Twenty-eight NFL teams totaled at least 50 points through three games. The Jets scored 21 while averaging 3.5 yards per play; both are last-in-the-league numbers.

Are you concerned, Darrelle Revis?

"I don't really know the stats," the Jets cornerback said.

No touchdowns.

"I know that stat," Revis said with a laugh.

"To answer the question, they do what they have to do in practice. They execute, it's very up-tempo," he said. "They make plays at practice."

So, there's that.

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But under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, with new backup quarterback Tim Tebow, amid a renewed commitment to team harmony, and in an all-important fourth season for starter Mark Sanchez, there is little doubt the Jets' offense has generated more questions than answers while bumbling and stumbling through losses to the Bengals, Giants and Panthers.

"Have we had our entire offensive package out there in the preseason? No," Ryan said. "Do we feel comfortable with our offense? I would say yes."

They have unveiled only the vanilla. The anticipated Wildcat plays remain tucked away, visible only during practices so as to not tip off opponents.

Sparano was determined to avoid giving opponents scouting material. "I'd rather just go out there and deal with Bart Scott every day," he said.

The running game, expected to return to ground and pound, has shown flashes -- Sparano delighted in recounting back-to-back-to-back carries on the exact same play generated 7, 7, and 8 yards -- but has hardly been dominant.

"I think this team knows what we're capable of," running back Shonn Greene said. "There's a lot we've been keeping in-house."

Sanchez has been accurate, completing 24 of 35 passes, but the vertical game continues to escape the Jets. Sparano said Sanchez's release, footwork and decision-making have been particularly good.

For his part, Sanchez said he's encouraged by what he's seen lately on film if not on the scoreboard. Sanchez also appears to have taken ownership of the offense -- he's said as much about the huddle -- and isn't afraid to flex some of his leadership muscle. After receiver Stephen Hill dropped a couple passes Sunday, Sanchez told the rookie "to get on the JUGS machine."

Last season, under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Sanchez attempted anywhere from 21 to 59 passes in a game. This year, the goal is a less schizophrenic attack, but there's little doubt that success largely will continue to correlate to the quarterback.

"I'm confident in my ability. My confidence never waivers," Sanchez said. "I've said it before, when I get out on the field I'm the best there's going to be. That's just the way you've got to play. No matter what."

Jets fans, who booed Sunday night's product and have continued to voice their displeasure on sports talk radio in New York, already might be skeptical.

"It's a tough sell on fans, not scoring a touchdown," Sanchez said. "We're in this thing to win football games."

For his part, Tebow alternately has given and taken away -- a whirling, instinctive scramble was followed shortly by a poorly thrown interception. Sparano said Tebow has played better than statistics would indicate.

With Tebow, the intangibles are impossible to measure in preseason, though Carolina coach Ron Rivera said watching him drive the Jets downfield in those final minutes was "a nightmare." And added: "That's vintage Tebow. He's the guy, that if you keep the game close, he gives you a chance to win it."

Sanchez and Tebow are among the players who will not play against the Eagles in Thursday's preseason finale, Ryan said. That means Sanchez and his best receiver, Santonio Holmes, will enter the regular season having connected for exactly one pass (for eight yards) since ending last season on a divisive note. Said Holmes: "The things that we're going to do this season, why give everyone a clue right now?"

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It's one thing not to give away the game plan, especially with Buffalo, whose quarterbacks coach is Wildcat guru David Lee, lurking for the Sept. 9 regular season opener. But, curiously, the Jets did not even run a two-minute drill Sunday at the end of the first half. What would have been the harm there?

And an earlier possession that began on the Carolina 12-yard-line, courtesy of a Cam Newton fumble, similarly went nowhere. The Jets managed eight yards, including five via a Panthers penalty.

Folk came to the rescue. His 22-yard field goal was true.

"The way I see it," Sanchez said, "we're saving all of our good stuff for the regular season."

The biggest question of all lingers: For the Jets and their offense, what exactly will be different then?

"Hopefully," Sanchez said, "some more touchdowns."

Follow Kim Jones on Twitter @KimJonesSports

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