First a few updates:
1. David Clowney, Lito Sheppard, and Brandon Moore all returned to practice today. Clowney and Moore are expected to suit up this weekend, while Sheppard is considered a long shot. Speaking of Clowney check out www.davidclowney87.com to read about his reaction to his first touchdown. Judging from what Rex Ryan has said, I would expect everybody on the Jets to be suiting up this week except for Sheppard and maybe Brad Smith.
2. Justin Miller will be wearing #32 and be starting at kick returner this week and should also contribute on other special teams units.
3. A Bart Scott quote on Chad Henne, “”I want to hit him and get him out of there. That’s for anybody who touches the football, period. It’s that type of game. Write it down however you want to write it down. You don’t have to do something dirty to get somebody out of there.” Across the board, all the Jets…especially on defense sound particularly fired up about this week’s match-up, you can hear the hate for the Dolphins in their words. They seem to be chatting it up a little more than they did in the previous weeks, which you might roll your eyes at since they only beat the NFL’s high school team last week (Oakland). However, you have to be who are…and if the Jets are a team that talks, then talk but you better back your words up . I have to say I do like the mindset of the team heading into this game, it reminds me of how they were before the New England game in week 2 and we all remember how that turned out.
4. Rough night for the Yanks…Cliff Lee was straight nasty. I am still feeling good about a bounce back performance tonight against the ancient Pedro Martinez.
Jets vs. Dolphins: Game Breakdown
Offensive Game Plan: The Jets have the league’s #1 rushing offense and are coming off back to back 300 yard rushing games, which is a pretty ridiculous stat if you really think about it. So yes, the Jets need to stick their identity and rely heavily on their rushing attack led by Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene to protect their rookie quarterback. There is no reason that Jones shouldn’t get his 20 carries and Greene shouldn’t be in the 13-16 carry range. However, Miami has a weak secondary. They are starting two rookie corners and both of their safeties are highly suspect in coverage. Braylon Edwards and David Clowney ate them up in the Monday night game a few weeks ago and that was with Miami’s top corner Will Allen on the field. Allen is now out for the season. Jerricho Cotchery played at about 70 percent the last time these teams met and now after taking two weeks off, should be pretty close to his normal self which gives the Jets an even bigger advantage in this match-up.
This is going to be Mark Sanchez’s eighth career start. He has played great games (Houston, New England), good games (Tennessee, Miami, Oakland) and unspeakably awful games (New Orleans, Buffalo). It is time for him to settle down and consistently be the quarterback the Jets drafted him to be. There are going to be golden opportunities for big plays in the passing game this week and Sanchez needs to connect. After the Jets have ran the ball six straight plays, he is going to need to sell a play action fake and air the ball out to Edwards or Cotchery in single coverage. The Jets won’t be able to get by with the high school offensive game plan this week because they aren’t playing the Raiders. This week’s gameplan will be put more responsibility on Sanchez to make plays to his receivers down the field. Yes, he needs to protect the football and nobody is saying to bomb it up in double coverage. Sanchez can still check it down and avoid sacks but the handful of plays where the Jets can really gash Miami in the passing game, he needs to step up.
Defensive Game Plan: The Jets defense has played great/elite football in 4 of their 7 games this year (Houston, New England, New Orleans, Oakland) and more than good enough for the Jets to win in two other games (Tennessee, Buffalo). However, the one game this year they let the team down was against the Dolphins. They let them down in front of national television audience who was anxious to see this hyped up Jets imitation Baltimore defense and they fell flat on their face. I spent all week talking about how they were going to embarrass Chad Henne, Ted Ginn Jr and the Wildcat which was easily tamed by Rex Ryan twice last year and was of course made to look like an idiot when the Jets lost 31-27 on a game winning touchdown run by Ronnie Brown.
It still hurts to watch…I can’t lie. The Jets defense had admittedly had their pride hurt and their swagger taken away. We have seen signs of it coming back this week in the form of surprisingly confident trash talk coming out of the mouths of Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, Kerry Rhodes, and Shaun Ellis but the only way it is coming all the way back is with a dominant performance this weekend. Regardless of Henne’s prolific second half against the Jets…I’m not sold on him. He didn’t play well against San Diego, New Orleans, or in the first half of the Jets game. This is his first start on the road and the Jets need to force Miami into frequent third and longs because I don’t think Henne can convert them on the road, in the swirling winds of the Meadowlands. Despite inexplicably torching Darrelle Revis, Ted Ginn Jr still isn’t good…so much so that he will be sitting the bench behind superstars like Devone Bess (who nearly averages less yards per catch than Shonn Grenne does per run), Greg Camarillo, and Brian Hartline.
It comes down to stopping the Wildcat. New Orleans did it last week. Ronnie Brown didn’t even crack 50 yards. The Dolphins only gained 27 yards on 14 plays out of the formation. I think the Jets defensive personnel matches up pretty well with the Saints and you can bet Rex Ryan ordered in from KFC and spent countless hours watching that game tape. However, it is all about execution. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas need to get off blocks to set the edge. Bart Scott and David Harris need to shed blockers. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard need to be a force in the box. Darrelle Revis, Dwight Lowery, and Donald Strickland need to be trusted to handle single coverage. The Jets collection of defensive lineman need to hold the line of scrimmage and help keep blockers off their linebackers.
Special Teams: Jay Feely needs to get back on track. He has struggled since breaking Pat Leahy’s record for consecutive kicks made. I am excited to see J-Mill returning kicks again and interested to see if Steve Weatherford can rip off another 20 yard run. If he does, I will officially be taping “Weatherford” over “Caporoso” on the back of my #9 Jets Jersey (worst gift I ever received by the way…there is nothing more I hate than NFL jerseys without NFL names on the back).
Fast Forward to 1:30 to see back to back Justin Miller kick return touchdowns in 2006.