Good morning Jets’ fans. It is Wednesday morning, and the eve of our quick turnaround for week number two. Tomorrow night, Geno Smith, Bilal Powell and the rest of our New York Jets move into Foxboro to take on Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and the rest of our hated rivals, the New England Patriots.
This will be the ultimate litmus test for Geno Smith tomorrow night. We all know that Belichick is the master at changing looks, especially to confuse a young quarterback. Will Geno be able to handle what he throws at him? This is one of several questions that will need to go the Jets’ way for them to have a chance to win. Here are some keys:
PRESSURE THAT QUARTERBACK
This is an annual discussion when we play this team, get pressure in Brady’s face. Brady can be rattled when guys are in his face, but I bring it up now as we look at the game last week. Buffalo nearly pulled the upset, how did they do it? They got pressure on Tom.
We are not talking about sacks necessarily, but hits and hurries are important as well. Last week against Buffalo, the Patriots offensive line allowed one sack, four hits, and eight quarterback hurries. The worst culprits? Nate Soldier, who allowed four hurries, Logan Mankins who allowed two hurries, and Ryan Wendell with two hits and one hurry.
That puts the onus on the Jets’ front seven, which for the first time in a while, may just be up to this challenge. They were able to come up with 10 hurries and four sacks last week. If the team can do anything like that on Sunday, the Jets have a real shot.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO LET GENO PLAY
Yes, this is only Geno Smith’s second regular season start. Yes, this is his first time going up against a Bill Belichick defense. Yes, they need to run plays to help him feel comfortable, and get his feet wet. But no, Marty should not allow Geno to play scared.
This secondary, as it has been for a long time, is very beatable. EJ Manuel did it, so can Geno Smith.
Aquib Talib, for example, had the passer rating against him at 158.3 last week. The one time he was targeted, he gave up an 18 yard TD pass. Brandon Spikes gave up a 95.8 passer rating. Strong safety Steve Gregory gave up a rating of 111.5. These guys are all beatable.
The key is confidence. Marty Mornhinweg needs to have confidence in Geno, and Geno needs to have the confidence in himself to push the ball down the field. If he can do that, the openings will be there for him. He certainly has the arm to do it.
GET THE GROUND GAME GOING
To me, these Patriots are vulnerable to the West Coast offense. Why? Because the system is based on using the pass to open up lanes for the running attack, rather than the other way around. This will be the way to attack the Patriots most effectively.
Last week against the Bills, the Patriots gave up over twice as many yards against the pass (273), as they did against the run (136). The Patriots have always been stout against the run, and suspect against the pass. For the last few years, we haven’t had the offense, or the coordinator that can exploit the pass defense. Marty Mornhinweg and Geno Smith are the guys to finally do it.
But, they must get those running lanes open. Geno Smith cannot be the ground game leader for the Jets on Thursday night. Bilal Powell must average more than two yards per carry. The line did a terrible job last week, and that cannot continue. This attack must get going if they are going to have any chance tomorrow night.
What do you think the keys to a win are?