The New York Jets have embraced the “Super Bowl or Bust” mentality and have not been scared to tell the world about it. This confident approach has rubbed many the wrong way and has the Jets quickly becoming one of the most hated teams in the National Football League. On Thursday, Ravens All-World linebacker Ray Lewis shared his thoughts on the Jets and he could not be any more dead-on with his assessment.
On how he views the Jets as an offensive team..
“The bottom line is they stick to their identity. Their identity is that they like to run the football. Shonn Greene is a north and south runner. He likes getting downhill-running through the A gaps and B gaps. Anytime that you have that type of combination over there with that defense that they have, then they’re going to stick to their philosophy. If you watch Rex, that’s one thing that he’s done very well over there. They led the NFL in rushing last year. Mark Sanchez didn’t throw that many passes here or there. The bottom line is they actually stick to their identity. The bottom line is we don’t like people to run (and) they like to run, so it should be a good battle in that category.”
On how successful the Ravens will be if they stop the run and force Mark Sanchez to throw the ball…
“We don’t even have to guess. All we have to do is look at the film. He struggles a lot when he has to throw the ball a lot. That’s just not his forte. It’s not their team’s thing. You have to grasp the team concept. If you don’t grasp their team concept (and) worry about Sanchez trying to grow, then they beat you by simply running the ball. You look at both championship games last year, third-down and eight, third-down and nine, they’re running the ball (and) picking up first downs. Everybody (was) putting their sub packages in and all these fast people to try to cover these wide receivers, but all of that was just a cover up. It comes down to bottom line buckling up your chin straps and realize how they’re going to play for 60 minutes.”
On what he sees in the Jets offense…
“If you watch them, they dictate. They try to dictate, and that’s the mentality of Rex’s team. He wants to dictate. He wants to say, “We’re going to run the ball.” That’s what they did very well. Like I said, even watching film, you go back to the last three playoffs games, they made Cincinnati and San Diego’s defenses as if they didn’t want to play football, anymore. People weren’t taking on blocks. Whether that’s on their part, or the teams they played, the bottom line is they ran the ball effectively (and) the way they wanted. Then, if you watch their formula this year, they’re kind of doing the same thing.”
On if there is a danger to Ryan’s confidence…
“The only danger it can be is writing the check that you can’t cash. Rex can talk all he wants to. Rex isn’t putting on pads, so that’s pressure on his players. If it’s pressure and his players respond to that then let them respond. At the same time, you put that bulls-eye on your team’s head. They’re doing all this talking. They’re in the Super Bowl. Ok. Do what you do. Come Monday night no matter what you do, the whistle has got to blow and somebody has to get hit.”
On if the Jets can live up to their talk…
“I don’t’ know. That’s for the Jets to deal with that pressure for the rest of the year. I don’t have to do anything, but deal with my team, which is the Ravens, and get us ready to play Monday night. Whatever checks they wrote, saying that they made this or made that, we’ll see Monday night.”
Tyson’s take: I could not agree more with Ray Lewis on several fronts. Every team the Jets face this year is going to sell out to stop the run and put pressure on Mark Sanchez. As of now Sanchez has yet to prove he can take over a game and win it with his arm. Once Sanchez begins to struggle there is a trickle down effect throughout the entire team.
As for the Jets and their confident ways, Lewis is spot on once again. Gang Green has put a huge bulls-eye on their back that will put a tremendous amount of pressure on the team to play well. This team cannot afford to start out slow (say lose the first 2 games) as the media firestorm in New York will swell to all-time levels. The Jets have done their talking, now it is time to show what they have on the field.
One Jets note: Safety Brodney Pool is slated to return to practice on Friday, which is good news for the Jets. If Pool is unable to go on Monday, Eric Smith is slated to take his spot.