First a few updates:
1. The notoriously New England biased, Jets hating Pro Football Talk (unfortunately it is still a good site worth visiting for general NFL news) has published a couple of articles working to discredit the job Darrelle Revis did on Randy Moss in week two. Revis expressed frustration with the Boston media yesterday about Moss and Bill Belichick’s claim that he had safety help over the top and that is why Moss was held to 4 catches for 24 yards. As I pointed out yesterday, Revis has owned Moss over the Jets past four meetings and as you can see in this lovely picture to the left Revis jumped over Randy Moss and pulled an interception out of his hands in week two, by himself without the supposed safety help. Do the Jets have a safety over the top in most coverages? Yes, it is very rare to run Cover 0 in the NFL. It is a safety’s job in most coverage’s to play centerfield or be responsible for half of the field. It doesn’t mean that Moss was double teamed and Revis doesn’t deserve credit for shutting him down. How come Randy Moss can have 12 catches against the Bills or 175 yards receiving against the Colts with 2 touchdowns but against the Jets is never a factor? The same reason Andre Johnson is leading the league in receiving but might as well been inactive when he played the Jets, because Darrelle Revis has been the best cover corner in NFL this season. I look forward to another 35 yard receiving performance from Moss and another slew of excuses from him, the New England coaching staff, and Pro Football Talk.
By the way, I actually love watching Randy play most weeks despite hating New England and almost always side with receivers in these type of disputes but you have to give credit due when it’s due.
2. Mark Sanchez apologized for his scripted press conference and admitted he still has plenty to learn about being a NFL quarterback…well, obviously. The key for the man formerly known was Sanchize is to protect the football this week and make the Patriots pay for stacking the box, which they no doubt will.
3. Apparently Thomas Jones took the floor at a players only meeting and gave an impassioned speech about this week being the Jets last chance and that if they lose they need to face the reality that major changes could be coming this off-season. Jones is a respected guy in the locker room and one of the few players with Super Bowl experience, so hopefully he caught everybody’s attention. Most of us didn’t expect Jones to be back next year but with Leon Washington’s injury, and the type of season he is having. I would be surprised not to see him in a Jets jersey in 2010. Speaking of Leon, he has been back around the team facility and spoke a little bit to the media stating confidence about a healthy return in 2010.
4. A few highlights from Rex Ryan’s press conference today: He cited Danny Woodhead and Justin Miller as having exceptional practices, with Woodhead imitating Wes Welker and Miller making a bunch of plays on defense. Overall, he said the team had one of its better practices in weeks. Vernon Gholston and Jim Leonhard missed practice again today. Shaun Ellis and Brad Smith were limited but expected to play. Darrelle Revis, Brad Smith, and Jerricho Cotchery have all taken reps returning punts but it remains to be seen who will actually be back there. Ryan expressed some concerns about using Cotchery or Revis in anything more than a fair catch role.
5. Yes, new Turn On The Jets TV will be coming tomorrow but make sure you check out last week’s episode down at the bottom of this article.
Jets vs. Patriots Part II: Game Breakdown
Offensive Gameplan: The Jets started out slow in the first half against the Patriots in week two with a very conservative gameplan. Mark Sanchez was only 3/5 for 15 yards in the first half and the offense struggled on the whole by only producing 3 points. However, they came out on fire in the second half with Sanchez going 11/17 for 148 yards and a touchdown en route to a half where the Jets outscored the Pats 13-0. Jerricho Cotchery led the charge in the second half with 4 catches for 87 yards, without the support of Braylon Edwards on the other side of him. The Jets did a pretty good job of running the football in week two with Leon having 14 carries for 58 yards and Thomas Jones having 14 carries for 54 yards.
A key for the Jets this Sunday will be to score touchdowns and not kick field goals when they get in the red-zone. They settled three times against the Patriots in week 2 and with how much better the Pats offense is playing now and how much more inconsistent the Jets defense has been, that won’t be enough for a victory this time around. Braylon Edwards should offer some support as a red-zone target that the Patriots will have a tough time matching up against. Yet, overall I expect the Jets to rely heavily on Thomas Jones and their rushing attack. The problem is that Belichick is notorious for taking away what opposing offenses do best or their best weapon, in the Jets case Thomas Jones/their offensive line/running game is their best weapon. Belichick is going to say, “Mark Sanchez you find a way to beat me, I am going to stop the run and put the game on your shoulders.”
This game will be a hell of a test for Sanchez, facing a quality defense for the second time that has obviously broken down his tendencies from their first meeting. He must protect the football but it is going to take more than that for a victory. The Jets offense has to be able to make the Patriots pay for stacking up the box and taking away Thomas Jones. Jerricho Cotchery has been a Patriots killer and for the first time he has a big time receiver on the other side of him. The Jets have an advantage over the Pats seconday with Cotchery, Edwards, and Dustin Keller but it is on Sanchez to exploit that advantage.
Defensive Gameplan: The Jets put together one of their most impressive defensive performances of the season in week two when they held New England without a touchdown. Tom Brady was under 50 percent passing and threw an interception, while Randy Moss was invisible. However, the Pats did find some success running the football but for some reason turned away from it in the second half. It will be interesting to see if they focus on running the football with the inconsistent Laurence Maroney or if they decide to spread it out and go for the Jets throat with a downfield passing attack mixed in with their traditional quick screens.
I am never concerned about Moss when the Jets play the Pats but I am losing sleep over what Wes Welker could do this week. Lito Sheppard has been terrible this year, especially at tackling. Welker is a guy who is going to catch a screen behind the line and turn it into a 18 yard gain over and over again unless the Jets sniff it out and swarm to the ball. I would expect to see every Jets defensive back active this week and plenty of them being rotated through as blitzers and guys playing underneath coverage on Welker or Kevin Faulk.
The Jets success against New England was mainly based on getting pressure on Tom Brady. Obviously, they need to get after him because if he gets comfortable in the pocket the Jets are dead. Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas and the rest of Jets linebackers have to generate a pass rush and when corners like Donald Strickland or Drew Coleman are sent after Brady, they need to make plays.
Special Teams Breakdown: It will be interesting to see who the Jets have returning both kicks and punts. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Justin Miller get another chance deep on kick returns and a rotation of some sort at punt return. Jerricho Cotchery and Darrelle Revis can be used in situations where you are looking for a fair catch because of their good hands, also don’t be surprised to see Brad Smith or Dwight Lowery get a shot.
An Excerpt From The Speech Thomas Jones Gave, Except He Turned Old, Italian, and White
A Look At Darrelle Revis and His Punt Returning Days
Better Late Than Never: Turn On The Jets TV: Bye Week Trip to AC