We are back with this week’s Pick Six; seeing as how Ryan Fitzpatrick continued his tradition of attempting to throw one of these a game despite being in another uniform, it seemed apropos to bring this one back as we preview the New York Jets versus the Detroit Lions. Let’s go passengers!
1 – More push from the offensive line: the offensive line, in my opinion, got bullied by a very talented Titans defensive line last week and got zero push in the running game. This week, they take on an equally formidable front led by a contract year Ziggy Ansah so it will be imperative that the offensive line open holes for the running backs so the Jets QBs can take some shots down the field. Otherwise, like I mentioned in this week’s round table, secondaries will just play up on the wide receivers so they can both tackle them on quicker routes and so they can provide run support.
2 – Big play from Darron Lee: the former first round pick is noticeably bigger, but it has not robbed him of his athleticism if last week is any indication. A lot of Jets fans likened this Lorenzo Mauldin’s weight gain last year, but what that weight gain did for Mauldin was seemingly rob him of his bend. With Lee, the weight gain allows him to withstand hits now because he’s so big but since you’re not counting on him to do the same things as Mauldin it is not that a big deal. Last week, he looked more confident in his movements and this could be a big year for Lee if the defensive line holds up their end of the bargain. Aside from no missed tackles, an interception or a forced fumble is really what Lee was drafted for. I’d like to see him deliver one of those today.
3 – More targets for Ardarius Stewart: the Axe Man had a big boy stiff arm last week on a short route that he got about 7 yards on, and I want to see more of that. With the Jets losing Quincy Enunwa for the year, Ardarius Stewart becomes their most dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands on the receiving corps. Robby Anderson represents the Jets’s vertical game (at least until Chad Hansen joins him), but Stewart is their most explosive underneath option. John Morton needs to find him 7-8 touches a game, similar to how the Patriots use Julian Edelman.
4 – Dexter McDougle’s ascension: the last man standing from the Idzik 12 (since Enunwa is injured), Dexter McDougle has always been an interesting prospect because his talent was evident despite him never really playing much. He appears to be healthy now, and has flashed all offseason playing primarily in the slot. Kudos to Coach Bowles and his staff for recognizing that McDougle might be better suited as a slot corner than as an outside corner. This game could go a long way toward ushering out Buster Skrine, the last man standing from the Mike Maccagnan Free Agency Splurge, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the Jets have to make roster cuts.
5 – Christian Hackenberg down the field: by design, the Jets kept everything short with the exception of three shots down the field (Hackenberg’s mechanics in regards to deep passes has not improved, but his offensive line did not do the best job as mentioned above). I’d like to see him take the same shots that Josh McCown got to take (the one deep ball to Anderson) and actually convert them. Some semblance of a run game will help him tremendously, but you also want to convert the shots you do get.
6 – Force some turnovers: this tied into number two, but it bears repeating because this Jets defense is going to have to give this offense multiple chances to score since they are devoid of playmakers. In 2015, the defense was excellent at forcing turnovers and they did not do enough of that in 2016. With better play on the back end and a motivated defensive line, they should be back to 2015 levels. That should begin today.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com