- Associated Press - Thursday, July 31, 2014

CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) - Marty Mornhinweg might be the not-so-secret key to the New York Jets’ success this season.

Yep, even more than Geno Smith. Or, Michael Vick.

Even Eric Decker, Chris Johnson and the offensive line.

Mornhinweg is the man pulling all of the strings for an offense that expects to be better.

Not only that, it desperately needs to be better. Especially if Rex Ryan and the Jets want to get back to the postseason after three straight years spent at home during the playoffs.

“We just have to start from ground zero,” Mornhinweg said. “This will be a different team. It will be a different makeup. So, we are excited about that.”

The offensive coordinator, in his second season with the Jets, is trying to get a group that appears much-improved through some early growing pains in training camp in which it has been often outplayed by the defense.

He’s also trying to balance a quarterback situation in which Smith is looking to retain his starting job in his second season, while Vick understands he’ll likely be the backup despite believing he can still play at a high level.

And, it’s on Mornhinweg to make it all work.

“Well, we’ll see,” the coach said when asked if the offense will be improved. “My feeling is, we’re much further along, but let’s not let that trick us. That doesn’t mean that we’re any better at all, so we’re going to see.”

Ryan’s first love is his defense, which he expects to be one of the league’s best, as usual.

But because he’s so heavily involved with the defensive playcalling, he needs someone he can trust to get things right.

After having Brian Schottenheimer as his offensive coordinator, and then Tony Sparano, Ryan thinks he and Mornhinweg could be the perfect pairing after a full season together.

“We look at each other and nod, ‘All right, I’ve got you, babe,’” Ryan said with a smile. “When you’ve got that trust factor, it’s huge, but you’ve got to have the right guy in that spot and when you have that, there’s no need to get in the middle of it. You’ve got a trusted hand there. … So, you have to have the right guy.

“And I believe we do with Marty Mornhinweg.”

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