By: Russ Goldman
Each week I am hoping to bring a view of the upcoming game from a writer who covers the Patriots opposition, and this week I think I have Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential. Dan can also be heard on “Press Coverage” Saturday Mornings from 11 AM – 2PM EST on Sirius NFL Radio.
Dan was nice enough to take some time to answer my questions, and it’s always interesting to get some insight from someone who covers the opposing team on a daily basis.
Here are my “Five Questions About The Upcoming Jets Game with Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential”.
1. You were the one who broke the original spygate story here in New England. Are you surprised with what’s happening with Josh McDaniels out in Denver?
I don’t think Josh McDaniels did anything wrong. Steve Scarnecchia made a big mistake. I feel bad for Dante and the family. It has to be very tough on them. Steve did something I’m sure he regrets in a major way.
I also think the orginal spygate was blown way out of proportion.
Head coach Rex Ryan has the Jets back to being an AFC contender, and has also renewed the rivalry between the Jets and Patriots. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
2. Coach Rex Ryan and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum have the Jets heading in the right direction. Do you think the Jets are built to only win now or are they equipped to win in the future?
The Jets are built to win now, but they do have a number of weaknesses.
Their pass rush is average, their nickel back play is substandard, and they don’t do a very good job covering tight ends. Also, their quarterback is very inconsistent. Mark Sanchez is completing 55 percent of his passes. That isn’t good enough in the NFL.
But, you know what, all teams have shortcomings in the era of the salary cap (even though there isn’t one this year). There are no perfect teams. So while they do have issues, they are a very good team, and I could still see them going to the Super Bowl.
3. The Jets defense is still one of the best in the league, yet one area they seem to be struggling with is the fact they have not been rushing the passer like they did last season. What has been different about them this year compared to last year?
They don’t have a pass rusher that scares opponents.
I think the pass rush was better last year because Rex Ryan did a great job scheming his players to the quarterback with creative blitzes. I think opposing offenses have a better feel for those schemes in Year Two of Rex’s tenure in New York. A lot of blitzes that were getting there last year, aren’t this season.
The fact that Vernon Gholston has not turned into the pass rusher they thought he would be, has hurt them.
4. I think the key to the Jets season comes down to the play of Mark Sanchez. Do you think he is now at the point to lead the Jets offense to a championship?
Sanchez has a lot of moxy, but he has a long way to go as a quarterback. As I mentioned before, his completion percentage needs to get much better. Also, he’s needs a lot of work on reading defenses.
He plays his best football in the two minute drill and when plays break down, and he has to improvise. He’s also very effective when it’s a one-read play (like the Edwards and Holmes catches at the end of the Houston game.
I’m not sure if he is ready to lead the Jets to a championship in Year Two, but like I mentioned before, in this league now, anything is possible.
5. What is your key match-up for the game?
The key to the matchup is the Jets generating a pass rush on Brady and covering the slot and tight ends better than they have in recent games. If this stuff goes well for them, I think they will win.
Even with Sanchez’s inconsistency, I think they will be able to score enough points to win against New England’s 31st rank secondary.
A special thanks to Dan for giving his time to give his thoughts on this weekend’s match-up. You can also follow him on twitter at jetswhispers.