On Monday night the New York Jets take on the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium (8:30EST). The Jets enter the game a team in turmoil with a 3-game losing streak, while the winless Dolphins (0-4) are coming off of a bye week.
Before we go into the keys to the game from the Jets perspective, I just wanted to address the media circus that has surrounded Gang Green. Over the past couple of weeks wide receiver Santonio Holmes, a player appointed captain by Rex Ryan, has been throwing everyone under the bus in an effort to explain the reason why the offense is struggling. Of course these comments have not gone over well with Holmes’ teammates as several members of the Jets have now fired back at the feisty playmaker. To call this situation a mess is an understatement as Rex Ryan’s open media policy for his players is now to starting to cause waves in the locker room. I think it is time for Rex to grab control of his team and put their focus back on winning games and not on grabbing headlines. It is one thing to have swagger when you are a playing at a very high level. It is another to spew hot air when you are underachieving on the field. Actions speak louder than words fellas.
Dominate the line of scrimmage- It is time for the Jets offensive line to eliminate their mistakes and to play as a cohesive, powerful unit. The line must win the battles in trenches and not allow Cameron Wake to disrupt the passing game. In addition the linemen must follow through on their blocks and open up holes for the running game. It is truly about getting back to basics for the offensive line.
Get Sanchez going early- It is no secret that the Jets offense has repeatedly started out slow and a lot of that has to do with the playcalling. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer must find ways to get quarterback Mark Sanchez in rhythm early on. Whether that means the “2 minute offense”, passing on first down, or whatever else, it has to be done to get the offense rolling early in the game. Note: The Dolphins pass defense is ranked #31 in the NFL.
Spread the field- For whatever reason the Jets offense has been unable to spread the field which has allowed opposing defenses to get more aggressive at the line of scrimmage. The Jets must start taking shots down the field in order to keep the defense honest. This can be done through play action pass, or even through 3 or 4 receiver sets. Once the defense is off balance you can then establish the power running game.
Mobile Moore- Matt Moore will be replacing the injured Chad Henne at quarterback and he poses a threat with his legs. The Jets must account for Moore as the Dolphins may move him around the pocket giving him the chance to make some plays with his legs.
Play physical and aggressive- This is the type of game where the Jets defense should flex their muscles and attack the line of scrimmage. Gang Green’s defense must shut down the running game and force Matt Moore to try and beat them. The Dolphins have two good backs in Daniel Thomas (questionable) and Reggie Bush, and the Jets cannot allow them to repeatedly move the chains and open up the passing lanes. Note: DE Ropati Pitoitua has been ruled out for this game and will be replaced by rookie Kenrick Ellis.
Keep an eye on Fasano- Wide receiver Brandon Marshall made headlines this week with his comments about playing like a monster against the Jets. I expect Darrelle Revis to quiet down Marshall which will force Moore to look elsewhere in the passing game. The Jets must keep an eye on tight end Anthony Fasano who has the ability to make some big plays in the passing game. It is no secret that the Jets defense has struggled covered tight ends so this is a match-up to keep an eye on. Note: CB Donald Strickland has been ruled out for this game and will more than likely be replaced by Marquice Cole.
This game will not be easy for the Jets as Miami is a fierce division rival that is coming off of a bye week and would like nothing more than to put another hole in Gang Green’s sinking ship. The Jets must come out physical and aggressive and inspire a stadium that could be half full of skeptics that are sitting on their hands.
I expect quarterback Mark Sanchez to have a big game on offense with linebackers Calvin Pace, Aaron Maybin, and Bart Scott lighting things up on defense. Jets 24-14