Unfortunately, the “Road to MetLife Stadium” is over for our New York Jets. It’s long over for the Cleveland Browns as well, as they enter tomorrow’s game with a 4-10 record. So, we have two teams that are playing for pride, the future, draft position….etc. The show must go on, so the goes on from MetLife Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Geno Smith, Chris Ivory and company come in with a 6-8 record, looking to win one and give themselves a chance at an 8-8 record when they head to Miami next week. The Browns and their 4-10 record are trying to end the season with some positive momentum to take with them into 2014.
Just because the playoffs are out of the picture, doesn’t mean the game won’t be interesting to watch, and be one that the Jets can win. Here are some keys:
STOP JOSH GORDON: We talked about it this week, this is by far the most important key to winning this football game. Josh Gordon averages over 122 yards receiving per game. He has caught touchdowns of 95 yards, 80 yards, and 74 yards. Add that to the Jets’ ability to give up the big play, and this could be a very bad combination.
The key is no free releases. If you look at the film from all of his successful games, nobody is laying a hand on him coming off the line. It’s either set up by a crossing pattern where Josh crosses in front of the defender, or by him running off his defender because they respect the deep ball. Whatever it takes, Josh Gordon has gotten freedom to do as he pleases off the line.
Any successful coverage has been when the defender has a hand on Gordon in the five yard area. Even when you have to release the guy after five yards, the physical contact in the legal zone makes it easier to stay with him. If you get your hands on Gordon, you make it that much harder for him to get separation. This is exactly what the Jets must do on Sunday.
FEED THE HOT RUNNING BACK: We all got upset with Marty Mornhinweg last week. Why? Because he wouldn’t continue to give Chris Ivory the football as he was running well. That must change this week.
A very effective way to stop Josh Gordon is to keep him with his helmet off on the sideline. You do that with a good running attack. Whomever is running well, be it Ivory or Powell, keep giving them the ball. Let them get in that rhythm that is essential for a running back to perform well. It will pay dividends.
Finally, although it goes without saying, I am going to say it. We need AN EFFICIENT GENO SMITH. That is the other way to keep Josh Gordon off of the field.