TOJ Roundtable – New York Jets Upset Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses the formula for the New York Jets upsetting the Carolina Panthers

The Turn On The Jets Roundtable is back to debate issues surrounding the New York Jets. Make sure to give all of the writers a follow on Twitter and if there is a question you want to see us debate, leave it in the comment section!

What is the formula for the New York Jets upsetting the Carolina Panthers?

Joe Caporoso Normally, a key component for any large upset in the NFL is a point producing play on special teams or defense. I don’t think this week will be any different. Considering how talented Carolina’s defense is and the struggles of the Jets offense, they are going to need a boost from one of the other units.

Offensively, it will be tough sledding running the football against the Panthers front seven. Regardless, the Jets need to establish a balanced attack, led by Chris Ivory. They also shouldn’t be shy about using Geno Smith in the read option or getting him outside the pocket when throwing the football. Smith will have to take his shots down the field and having Kellen Winslow Jr, Jermey Kerley and Santonio Holmes out there will certainly help. A spread look featuring the three of them and David Nelson wouldn’t be a bad way to limit the effectiveness of the Panthers front seven if Geno can get rid of the ball quick. The Jets had some success with the no huddle last week and there is no reason not to mix in again if possible.

Defensively, the Jets need to attack Cam Newton. This is the type of game where Antonio Allen could be a big factor in slowing down Greg Olsen and helping contain Newton’s scrambling. Could we see more three safety looks overall? At corner, the Jets would benefit from Antonio Cromartie sitting this one out as Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, or Ted Ginn Jr could all hurt him in one on one coverage. The Jets are going to need another solid outing from Dee Milliner and for Darrin Walls or Ellis Lankster to play well with extended reps. They simply cannot afford to allow big plays in this game or to be playing come from behind.

Dalbin Osorio – Wouldn’t it be the “Jets” thing to do to beat Carolina on the road while Baltimore and Miami lose to set up the matchup at MetLife Stadium against the Cleveland Browns as a marquee matchup with playoff positioning at stake? The Jets get up for “big games” against teams they have no reason beating (New England, New Orleans, Atlanta), and the Panthers qualify as such. Cam Newton struggled with a Ryan defense last week, so I don’t think this game is as unwinnable as others might.

For starters, the Jets are going to need the defense to bounce back from a subpar second half against the Raiders. They’re going to need to play four quarters of Jets football. Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Damon Harrison, and Quinton Coples (who has really picked it up these last 4 games) are going to have to dominate their battles up front and put Cam Newton under duress. No QB likes to get hit; Cam Newton is no different. Taking a cue from my man Con Air, here’s three things I think the Jets need to do to pull off the upset on the road:

1. Get Geno moving: The Panthers are very talented up front and the Jets offensive line has struggled in pass protection. Getting Geno on the move with rollouts is a way to neutralize that, and allow Geno to go through his progressions without defensive linemen in his face.
2. Win the turnover battle: The Panthers are 4-3 when they have multiple turnovers, 5-1 when they have one or fewer. Winning the turnover battle will allow the Jets to control the clock and give Geno more opportunities to wear down the Panthers front seven. I believe it’s rowdier in Atlanta (where Geno played mistake free football) than it is in Carolina, and getting early turnovers is a way to quiet the hostile crowd.
3. Use Chris Ivory: Who averages 5.5 yards per carry in his career against the Panthers, to wear down the front seven. This will force the Panthers to play 8 men in the box, and make Kerley, Holmes, Nelson, and Winslow easier targets because they will have to be covered one on one. The Panthers DBs can be beat, and this is a way to do that.

Mike O’Connor – The Jets are something like a 12 point underdog heading into Sunday’s match-up with the Panthers, and rightfully so. Personally, I think the Panthers are one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL. As teams like the Dolphins have proven, however, they’re not unbeatable.

As contradicting as this might sound, the key to the game might be pressuring Cam Newton.  es, even with his ability to take off and run outside of the pocket, the Jets must blitz effectively to pull off this upset. The gameplan should be similar to how they played EJ Manuel, specifically in the first match-up versus Buffalo. Extra blitzers instead of generating pressure with simply the front four will be essential. Even though the Panthers lack ideal weapons on the outside, they still open up the offense for Newton and let him throw mainly on intermediate-deep routes downfield, therefore, having extra men to play zone underneath won’t be necessary. Instead, these players can cover up for the Jets’ likely blitz-happy defense by playing Demario Davis or Antonio Allen underneath in spy on Newton. While we may not see significantly diverse personnel on defense, they’ll likely have different roles, especially the safeties and outside linebackers.

On offense, I’d like the Jets to keep it simple and run a similar offense that they did last Sunday versus Oakland. Let Geno get a feel for the Carolina defense, get a sense for how their zone coverages are settling, and most importantly: let him use his mobility that was very effective last week. It’s funny because the Panthers’ defense is arguably the best in the league, but their speed on defense is similar to the Raiders’, especially at the linebacker position. If Chris Ivory can keep their defense honest and Geno can use his legs to surprise the rushers, things could open up in the intermediate passing game with Luke Kuechly and company cheating a bit on the pass coverage assignments. Against such an effective defense, obviously big plays are going to be the key to keeping the Jets in this game, not long, unrealistic drives.

Connor Rogers The Jets will need to get creative on offense to pull off the upset on the road against the Panthers. Cam Newton is a true duel threat quarterback with an above average NFL arm. Asking the defense to shut him and the entire Panthers offense out is unrealistic. The offense will need to pull out all tricks to put points on the board against a stingy Carolina defense. Lets take a look at a few creative ways to put points on the board:

1) When the Jets get in the redzone, they love to run the read option with Geno Smith often keeping the ball to run outside. Smith has found his way in the end zone on this play multiple times this year. The Panthers have an extremely tough front seven who play sideline to sideline against the run. How about having Geno run the read option to the outside, but toss the ball up to Kellen Winslow in the corner of the endzone?

2) Creating points off of turnovers is often the key to an upset. How about a pick six for Gang Green on Sunday? Antonio Allen’s pick six was easily the biggest play in the upset over the Patriots at Metlife this season. The Jets could use one on Sunday and Cam Newton may be prone to throwing one if the Jets front puts the pressure on him.

3) Trick plays are few and far between in the NFL, but the Jets offense does not have the firepower to traditionally score over 30 points every week. If your going to run the wildcat (awfully frustrating to watch week after week), throw out of the formation. We’ve seen Jeremy Kerley have success throwing out of the formation and Kellen Winslow is a perfect down field tight end. Break it out, Marty.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • KAsh

    I am surprised no one drew comparisons to an earlier opponent that is so like the Panthers: Tennessee. Both teams have an assortment of receivers and tight ends with everyone playing at about an equal level and no true #1 threat. Both rushing attacks feature big power backs behind solid o-lines with the addition of a scrambling QB. Both defenses have a solid front seven, with the Titans superior secondary being the only schematic difference.

    Let’s start with that: Geno must pass the ball effectively and attack the weakest part of this defense. This is not something that has come naturally, but Geno will need to make quick, accurate reads and release the ball quickly. Whether he does that with rollouts or standing in the pocket does not matter. (I would bet the Panthers have a plan in place for the rollouts, which also limit the QB to half the field.)

    Geno will have to set up the run. Ivory averaged 5.5 yards against the Panthers back before they were the #1 run defense and back when he was on the most high-octane, aerial offense in the league. Ivory is good at getting yards after contact, so he should harass the defense in short-yardage situations, where a two or three yard gain is not a drive killer. But he is not going to ram it down the throat of this d-line that is amazing against the run by itself.

    On defense, the Jets will have to find the solution for a dual-threat QB that can also stand in the pocket and pass. They might want to study what the Saints did against Cam. Newton is still more of a scrambler at heart, so having the OLBs contain him in the pocket as the interior pass rush crushes it may be the best strategy (more opportunity sacks for Pace!).

    To work, the secondary will have to keep up with all the receivers. If Newton is able to throw short passes all day, we will lose, but we will also lose if Newton keeps connecting on deep throws. The corners will need safety help all day. Milliner plays better with help over the top and the other side will need it anyway. Someone will have to shut down their man one-on-one.