First a few updates:
1. David Clowney, Brandon Moore, and Lito Sheppard all missed practice today. Jerricho Cotchery was limited but told reporters he would be ready to go this Sunday and apparently he looked sharp in practice. Rex Ryan basically said Sheppard was out for this week. I am not sure how severe Clowney’s injury is but hopefully he won’t miss this week because Brad Smith might not be ready to come back yet either. Moore should be good to go against Miami.
2. There has already been plenty of trash talk going back and forth between the Jets and Miami. A few Jets like Kerry Rhodes and Shaun Ellis took exception to Miami reacting like they won the Super Bowl after beating the Jets a few weeks ago. Ronnie Brown basically said the Jets don’t have the playmakers on defense that Baltimore did last year in his conference call with the New York media. Rex Ryan is using a Brown quote from after Miami beat the Jets about how the Dolphins were the tougher team as a motivational tactic. Bart Scott said he will be looking to get back some unnamed Miami offensive lineman for “dirty” play in the Monday night game. At this point, we get it…these two teams hate each other. The Jets don’t respect Miami. Miami doesn’t respect the Jets. Go out and take care of business this Sunday.
3. Apparently, Ted Ginn Jr is on the outs in Miami and has been demoted to third string duty because of his inability to catch the football…an important skill for a wide receiver. Of course he remembered how to catch the football the last time the Jets played Miami…just our luck.
Jets Must Win Sunday
You hate to throw out the term “must win” for a week 8 game but let’s be real here if the Jets want to be serious playoff contenders they must beat the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. By all indications, the race for the AFC East title and the race for AFC Wild Card spots are going to be tight, so yes there is a huge difference between 5-3 and 4-4 for the Jets at the bye week.
The Jets have a golden opportunity to bury the Miami Dolphins for the 2009 season. It is going to take 10 wins and a few tie breakers to have a shot at a division title or a wild-card spot in the AFC. If Miami loses they will fall to 2-5 and need to go 8-1 over their last 9 games, with include two match-ups with New England and a game against Pittsburgh, to have a chance to be in the playoff mix. It is time to knock out Miami while you have the chance and turn the focus towards catching New England.
Speaking of the Patsies, the Jets can pull within a 1/2 game of our New England friends with a victory and be in control of their destiny since they have a game left in their season series. Even though New England has some tough match-ups left including games in Indy and New Orleans, a 1/2 is obviously easier to make up than a 1 and 1/2 games. Beyond that, divisional record could come in to play as a tie-breaker later in the season. The Jets would fall to 1-3 with a loss to Miami and need to pick up road victories against both the Patriots and Bills to salvage a .500 record.
Rex Ryan has talked about changing the culture around this organization. He has talked about making the Meadowlands a place where teams don’t want to play. The Jets have already lost a home divisional game this season and with another loss would bring them to a subpar 2-2 record in their building. You need to protect your house and rack up victories in your building if you fancy yourself a legitimate contender in the NFL.
Finally, Miami embarrassed the Jets on national television. The Jets ran their mouths before the game and somehow ran their mouths after the game, referring to the Wildcat as a gimmick. Everybody in the Jets organization talks about having an elite defense and yet they choked away a lead three times in the fourth quarter to their primary rival on Monday Night freakin football. The Dolphins converted two third downs on the final drive and ran the ball right down the Jets throat on the final play for the victory.
Bart Scott missed countless tackles, including one on the game winning run by Ronnie Brown. Darrelle Revis was toasted for a 50 yard touchdown by a practice squad receiver. Calvin Pace was pushed around and looked out of place all night. What am i saying is that the Jets should be watching film from this game a few weeks ago and be chomping at the bit to get on the field against the Dolphins. Rex Ryan sure made it sound like in his press conference today that both himself and his defense feel that way.
A contender would go out on their home field and prove the Monday game against Miami was a fluke. A pretender would get swept by a sub .500 divisional rival and lose consecutive home games to divisional teams who came in with a combined record of 3-8. Which one are the Jets going to be in 2009?