FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Marty Mornhinweg has quite a task on his hands.
As the New York Jets' new offensive coordinator, he has to work his West Coast-style system around a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith and a group that's hardly made up of flashy playmakers. How Mornhinweg gets the offense to mesh will likely go a long way in determining the Jets' success — or failure — this season.
It all starts Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in the regular-season opener.
"We've got a great opportunity and we're excited about this opportunity," Mornhinweg said Thursday. "It's going to be a heck of a challenge as well."
Tampa Bay knows it is facing an inexperienced rookie Sunday, a guy who took all of 69 snaps in preseason games. It won't be a big surprise to anyone in the stadium if the Buccaneers do all they can to try to rattle Smith.
"Well, really with a rookie quarterback, I've seen in my experience two different philosophies," Mornhinweg said. "One is, 'Let's go blitz him,' and these types of things. I would expect that. The other philosophy is, 'A rookie quarterback, he can't beat us, so we're going to play it soft and he's not going to be able to move it down the field as consistently as a man with experience.'
"Two different philosophies, and I would expect a little bit from each of those philosophies, but certainly it's in their system to blitz."
Smith insisted Wednesday that he won't be rattled, already oozing the confidence of a season veteran. But, the real games haven't started and Mornhinweg knows what he must do to manage Smith's emotions.
"Well, the other 10 players, as well as the special teams and defense, (need to) kick it up a notch," he said. "Really, that's important part of the thing for a young quarterback that's inexperienced. It's just that simple."
Smith, a first-round talent who fell into the second round because of questions about his commitment and abilities, has impressed the Jets coaches. During training camp, Smith was off to a terrific start in the quarterback competition with Mark Sanchez before a sprained ankle derailed things a bit. But just when it appeared Sanchez had the job wrapped up, he suffered a shoulder injury that could sideline him for a few weeks.
So, now, it's Smith's job.
"This is his offense now," coach Rex Ryan said.
And, Mornhinweg thinks he's ready.
"Geno has done a heck of a job up to date with his preparation," Mornhinweg said. "All of the quarterbacks have. Outstanding."
Mornhinweg acknowledged that about two-thirds of the game plan was set by Thursday afternoon, but added that he might "cross out a whole host of things" as the Jets move closer to game day, depending on how the offense looks on film.
One thing that won't be in the playbook will be testing Darrelle Revis, despite the former Jets cornerback coming off a serious knee injury.
"No," Ryan said, shaking his head. "We know him well. That might be some team's (philosophy). I don't think that's going to be our philosophy. I can't even lie and say, 'Oh yeah, no, absolutely, we're attacking him, yeah.' I don't see that happening, but again, we'll see.