NEW YORK JETS: It's Time To Pay "The BILL".
Bill Belichick is a Football Marxist in a hoodie. He controls the means of Patriots' production and play distribution like a Pigskin Socialist. Players who's contract situations or attitudes that become hindrances, disappear. There is one master plan and you are free to follow it and contribute towards the benefit of the whole. Play to your capabilities, and reap what you need. The second you stray from the plan and rebel against uniformity will be the next time you wake up without having to put on a Patriots' Jersey for a living.
It will be Coach Belichick who will be the first one to recognize if the Jets came to play. He'll know right away whether or not Rex brought enough cash to stack chips high enough to last the night, or if he spent all his money during the week like a drunken sailor on shore leave.
But, Bill Belichick also knows teams that refuse to stay down and continue to linger around are a problem. He knows when teams have had everything thrown at them, to include the kitchen sink, and remain resilient and unfazed by adversity, those teams are hell to face. Even after beating the Jets 45-3 the last time these two teams met in Foxborough, Bill Belichick knows, someone who repeatedly gets up after being knocked down never ceases being formidable, and become an even more dangerous opponent because they are numb to the pain and spit in the face of conventional wisdom.
Bill Belichick knows more about Defying The Odds than just about anyone in Football today. So he knows exactly where Rex Ryan is coming from.
Obviously, Coach Rex disturbed the hornets nest with the continued jabs he chose to take at his opponents. Aside from knowing a thing or two about Defense, as the Jets' Head Coach, running his mouth is what he does best. I don't know why, but then again, he is Buddy Ryan's son. Buddy Ryan once punched his own team's Offensive Coordinator in the face while on the sidelines during a TENN Titans game on Monday Night Football. This apple didn't just fall and stay close to the tree. Rex fell out of the sky like a piano and cracked the sidewalk. Nothing about him is subtle and eveything that comes from Rex is big. While it's unlikely Rex will take a page from his Pop's playbook and punch Belichick in the face, Coach Rex is like Bill Belichick in this regard; they were both born to work in Football and they both know how to make their teams jump in front of buses for them. Rex, like Belichick, as an infant, pooped Football shaped pellets, but just in a much bigger diaper. They are both Defensive minded coaches. That's their background and forte'. They may both have had trouble in grade school grasping simple things like the alphabet, because all they know or care about are X's and O's.
Here's where the Coaches diverge. It's all about Supply and Demand. Coach Rex supplies his team with an environment he feels they can prosper in. Coach Belichick demands every player adhere to a prosperous formula.
OK...,So Rex wrote a bunch of checks he asked his team to back; Big deal. Players like to be put in that position by someone they like. But a problem arose when the players joined the frenzy and started writing their own checks. Who was backing them? Does that sound familiar America?
Bill the Socialist, meet Rex the Capitalist.
Some would argue, economically, uncovered debt and deficit spending is the stimulus that allowed this country to become a dominant economic power among other things. But there's another side of Capitalism; a darker more treacherous side. The Jets have everyone asking if they're writing checks their butts can't cash? Their leverage is all leveraged out. Now they are, what they refer to as being Naked on the Street. All kinds of uncovered and naked debt is what triggered the Great Financial Crash of '29 and the Depression that followed. If the Jets aren't very careful, that's just the way they may find themselves Sunday night; Naked in the Street.
By 8pm Sunday evening, there's going to be a margin call and the big question is who's getting stuck with THE BILL? Will Coach Rex's and his player's checks bounce and send JetsNation crashing into a state of Depression? Or will Coach Belichick have to eat this one and just get to write it off as a LOSS to the State?
NEW YORK JETS: The Time For Talking Has Ended;
LET'S GET IT ON!!!
While the other six teams participating in this weekend's playoff games spent their time practicing and preparing, the Jets and Patriots have been fighting it out all week, not bothering to wait for Sunday like two angry brothers at a Pub, who stopped in to tilt-back a few on their way to a fight. Sunday afternoon's game will merely be the TV portion of this on-going scrap.
It wasn't only Rex talking. Of course there was Antonio Cromartie's poetic words, but Wes Welker joined in. Coach Belichick even offered a joke or two on the home-town radio shows. Tom Brady had something to say as did Nick Mangold. They've all done it. If not this time, for sure during a time in the past someone from either side was always saying something (or pointing). The only good that can come out of this, with all the Hot-Air blowing around, is the chances of snow up in Foxborough will be low.
Hopefully, at some point during all the name-calling, bickering, cat-fighting, and trash talking, a Football Game will break out and all debts will be settled once and for all.
When The N.Y. JETS Are On Offense:
MARK SANCHEZ does not need to win this game for the Jets. But he has to help and he can't blow it. He WILL have to play Sunday like he has never played before in Foxborough however; and that would mean playing WELL. He's played there twice in his short career and has 1 touchdown and 7 interceptions worth of memories to show for it.
How is that shoulder? His passes have been off, wide, and high for a few weeks. Mark Sanchez could always throw the long pass well. With short throws, he's OK too. His middle range pass has always been suspect. The aching shoulder may be exasperating that fact. But he was already predisposed to the problem. That's Coach Schotty's problem to contend with, and for him to game-plan around.
Ideally, if the Jets play this right, Sanchez won't have to throw too often. But it's crucial he be accurate with his passes none-the-less. Completions, to the correct jerseys, are paramount. Accuracy and completions are task number one for Mark this Sunday. He doesn't need to be concerned with the big play. What's needed from him is accuracy and completions for 1st downs! The Jets' ability to gain 1st downs against the Patriots Defense will help keep the Jets offense on the field; the Jets defense off the field; and the ball out of Tom Brady's hands. The Jets ability to gain 1st downs, especially late in the game, will go a long way towards determining if the Jets win or not. The Jets failed to gain a 1st down late against the Colts with two consecutive three-and-outs, that almost cost them their season.
If the Big Play presents itself, then fine; you take your chances. In the NFL.., Nothing Ventured; Nothing Gained. But 1st downs will be the name of the game, and that means Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene must be targets off the line in Keller's case, and out of the backfield in Shonn's. Those two will open up opportunities for Holmes and Edwards to make a big play. But the Jets must be patient with their possessions and concentrate on 1st downs.
But what Mark Sanchez really needs to be, is complimentary to the Run Game.
Peyton Manning had two chances with the ball in the second half; TWO. The Jets had three substantial drives versus INDY. Their quality first-half first drive was short circuited by an interception. But two more time consuming, Ground and Pound drives in the 2nd half were directly responsible for limiting Peyton's playing time. One drive in particular lasted 17 plays and took 9:54 off the clock. LaDainian Tomlinson scored two touchdowns to cap off those drives against the Colts.
The Jets must do this again. They must commit to the running game and be patient with it. Shonn Greene should be leading the rush. Shonn Greene left; Shonn Greene right; Shonn; Shonn; Shonn; all night long.
Let LT give Greene a break from time to time. But Shonn Greene must be the man rushing the ball and he must be utilized out of the backfield considerably if the Jets are to hold on to the ball. They can do it behind a fine Offensive Line who really should be able to push a smaller Patriots' Front, backwards.
The Tight-End and the Running Game can make sweet music together if you know how to play 'em. During half-time of the INDY game, I think Coach REX finally took a firm grip around Coach Schotty's "game-plan" and forced him to sell out with the Run. Coach Rex is an Old Hand, and he knows the tune well. Coach Rex wants to DJ this Boston Rave using the Run Game, but even he knows, Mark Sanchez still has to help out with the Mix.
If Sanchez stays patient, and sticks with the dump-offs to Greene and finding Dustin Keller, the Big Play will come screaming his name. Then, it will be up to Sanchez to capitalize. The opportunity will present itself where Braylon Edwards or Santonio Homes can come up big for the Jets; but they need to do it exercising patience.
Don't forget and more importantly, don't repeat the futility with how the Jets started the game against the Pats last time; by trying to open with a No-Huddle scheme. Coach Rex recognizes the mistakes he made going into and during their last encounter. He said himself, he's through trying to fool people after the Colts game. From now on he's just going to line up his guys and try to be stronger than the other team. That's something that maybe even Bill Belichick can't over-come or out-coach. Getting man-handled is a state-of-mind. And Coach Rex has his guys in a lather. If the Jets can prevent themselves from getting out-technique'd and out-thunk...., if they get primitive, so to say, I think they have a chance to actually smack them around a little bit, behind their Offensive Line (even with the loss of Woody).
Of course, no turnovers, no penalties...Blah, Blah. Sell-out with the Run; hit your Tight End and let the big play come to you. It's up to Coach Schottenheimer to set up Mark Sanchez correctly. But it's up to the Offensive Line and Shonn Greene to control the clock. Run to Daylight! For this game, the Jets best defense against Tom Brady is their Offense and it's ability to stay on the field.
When The N.Y. JETS Are On Defense:
With no Jenkins and no Leonard, the Jets' interior is akin to a shark's Soft White Under-Belly. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady avoided the tooth of the shark (Darelle Revis) and attacked their soft belly the last time they met at Foxborough. Rex's team was gutted and filleted 45-3. The Patriots attacked the Jets, and in particular their Safety's with Tight-Ends, Slot-Receivers and a running game that kept them off balance all night long. There is absolutely no reason for the Patriots to stop picking on the Safety's now. That means Brodney Poole's name will be mentioned a lot Sunday.
But what was most damaging to the Jets in that 45-3 drubbing was falling behind too early and by too many points. If the Jets fall behind early again and have to play from behind over the last three quarters, then all the best laid plans will go to waste. I think they can still afford to be patient with the running game while managing a 7 point deficit. Anything more, and they will be in big trouble.
The Patriots haven't lost at home since...the Bush Administration? In order to change that, the Offense will have to stay on the field, but on Defense, the Jets will have to make stops. Tom Brady and the Patriots will score at some point. The Jets just need to make him a little less successful that normal. If the Offense can keep the ball out of Brady's hands and the Defense can make some critical stops, the fourth quarter might present the Jets with a chance for victory.
The Pass Rush the Jets lack? Well, they're not going to find one now. With Brady's three-step drops, you really have to be clever if you blitz him. So, To Blitz or Not Top Blitz? That is the question.
If you blitz him from the outside, it just takes too long to get there with three-step drops. And quite honestly, I don't think they should commit anyone from the Secondary to the Blitz. The Blitz will have to come from the Linebackers, and it needs to come up the middle where the rush gets to him quickest. I think the Jets should disguise, but then rush only two and three after Brady. Let 8 defenders cover and punish receivers. It's a ploy right out of Belichick's play-book. Every Patriot receiver (Welker) must be punished for going across the middle. Period. Getting your hands on Brady is a tough task, so Plan-B should be to pound the receivers instead. The Jets need to trust the one-on-one coverage and protect the middle of the field. They can do it with less pass-rush.
This is another area where Coach Rex's team can really exert some brutish physicality upon the Patriots Offense. Disrupting the passing game and being mindful of the run, just might clear a path to Tom Brady himself. If the Jets can plant a seed into New England Receivers crossing over the middle, how does Bill Belichick out-coach that?
Tom Brady hasn't thrown an interception since....Prohibition? He's thrown four interceptions all season and two of them came against the Jets in Week 2. That's something to believe in I guess. But don't count on it. Instead, if he notices there's no pass rush, he may do something foolish, like run, and present the Jets Defense an opportunity to pound him in the open field (I'm trying here...OK?).
Maybe not. But like I said, protect the middle of the field and MAKE TACKLES. They will make catches. Just limit their yards-after-catch with good tackles. If Revis and Cromartie are great tomorrow, maybe the guys in the middle can keep that soft white under belly protected.
Don't count on turnovers. Just make stops..
If the Jets' Special Teams can keep giving them the effort and results they've been supplying, it would be a huge bonus. They will need it! They will need excellent punting. You just can't give the Patriots good field position. If they can manage to score points on Defense, even better. Use your Challenges wisely and don't trip anybody on the sidelines.
Mike Tannenbaum built this team to win now. Their ultimate moment will be upon them Sunday afternoon. The Coach he hired isn't afraid to fail. That's a trait of great coaches and great players. I'm not calling anybody great. But I know Rex isn't afraid to fail. Coach Rex has generated a lot of heat since he took over as Head Coach, and maybe just enough to burn the Patriots for a day. That's all Coach Rex said he's looking for; A Day. He wants to be better than Belichick for one day. It's not far fetched. The guy knows Football.
The REX DAY is the same as Tannenbaum's NOW. With a Jets loss, there will be that problem of some bounced checks and a lot of explaining to do by both the GM and Head Coach. The Media might be just a tad bit more forgiving because they weren't an in-and-done team. It still will be rough going though. And if the Jets lose miserably, well, then...., there's going to be Hell to Pay as Rex will be viewed as having stepped in his own mess.
For the Jets, there's an awful lot riding on this game. The aftermath of a Jet loss can be brutal for them and especially Coach Rex. However, on the other side of Doom, a Jets' win can be glorious and Green.
P.S. - I'm still witholding my pick till tomorrow because I just don't know yet.
Saturday's Line Is:
PATRIOTS -8 1/2 Jets