There has been no game since Rex Ryan has taken over the New York Jets where the team has been a larger underdog and rightfully so. The Houston Texans are loaded and are likely the league’s best team, the Jets will be running out their weakest overall roster since the 2007 season. Here are some early thoughts on Jets/Texans –
1. Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill’s status remains up in the air for this game. If they do not play, you are looking at a top three wide receivers of Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Clyde Gates with Jeff Cumberland at tight end. Wow. Needless to say, Tony Sparano is a complete moron if he thinks he can run a traditional offense with that collection of skill players (never-mind Shonn “2.8 YPC” Greene at halfback) and move the ball against Houston’s defense. It is time for a gadget play heavy, Wildcat infused, empty the kitchen sink approach.
I am talking about lining Joe McKnight at wide receiver since he is better at the position than Gates, along with throwing him screen passes and using him in the Wildcat. I am talking about having Tim Tebow running option to either side of the formation with McKnight, Bilal Powell or Jeremy Kerley. I am talking about making sure Kerley, the unit’s most proven playmaker, gets 8-12 touches between receptions and rushes. I am talking about halfback passes, jump passes, reverses and anything else that might catch Houston off guard. Drop in a full series of Tebow here and there. Do something. Just for the love of god, don’t come out and give Shonn Greene 14 carries for 27 yards and hope you can drop Sanchez back while relying on people like Clyde Gates to beat coverage.
2. The Jets 31st ranked rushing defense has to find a way to deal with Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Justin Forsett…three backs that are better than any back on their roster. Memo to Mike Tannenbaum – You need good running backs to Ground and Pound. There is no easy answer here. Try more 4-3 and 46 looks, get Kenrick Ellis in the starting line-up for an injured Sione Pouha and try to force Houston to throw the ball. When they do that, you have to hope Antonio Cromartie is up to the challenge of covering Andre Johnson and that Matt Schaub ignores throwing at Kyle Wilson for sympathy out of how awful he is.
3. The Jets special teams, which has been solid so far this year needs to come up with a few big plays. The only way this game is competitive is if they find ways to manufacture points through the return and kicking game.
4. Monday is really a matter of pride. The Jets have to know the whole country will be watching with glee hoping they get curb-stomped 47-0. Are they going to lay down and let that happen on national television in their own building or are they going to have some respect for themselves as professional athletes? We shall see.