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 we have Jeff Capellini who covers the Jets for CBSNewYork.com with a Jets blog called the Green Lantern.
Jeff was generous enough to take some time to answer my questions about Sunday’s game, and it’s always interesting to get some insight from someone who writes about the opposing team.
Here are my “Five Questions About The Upcoming Jets Game with Jeff Capellini of CBSNewYork.com”
“The usual staples, Rex, Bart Scott, have been church mice compared to what we’re used to.” – Jeff Cappellini (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
1. It is Jets Week and for some reason their hasn’t been much trash talking coming from the Jets. Why do you feel Rex Ryan and his players are taking a different approach this week with the media?
Actually, Russ, they’ve been a more subdued bunch this season since training camp started. I have no idea why and I think it hurts them. The Jets are who they are. They feed off each other and the arrogance motivates them. But for whatever reason they have been quiet this season, even in victory. I mean, sure, you will always have Antonio Cromartie saying something ridiculous, but the usual staples, Rex, Bart Scott, have been church mice compared to what we’re used to.
All that said, I think if they right the ship here they’ll eventually go back to being the menaces to society they think of themselves as.
2. The offensive line has been a problem for the Jets. Even with Nick Mangold probably playing, do you still see this unit as a major concern for the Jets in this game?
It’s a monster concern this week and will remain one for the foreseeable future. A struggling offensive line is not something that can be remedied overnight. Building continuity takes quite some time. Compound that with injuries and inconsistency and the Jets have had a major problem. But, like I said, you just can’t throw someone new in there and assume all will be fine. Jets lack serious depth up front as we’ve seen over the previous two weeks. Even with the return of Mangold, the Jets will not be able to run the football unless the right side of the line — guard Brandon Moore and tackle Wayne Hunter — get with the program. These are guys who finished last season strong, but Moore has yet to round into form following offseason surgery and Hunter has just been abysmal.
If Jets have had as good a week of practice as Ryan claims, they should be able to move the ball and score some points against what is a good but hardly elite Patriots defense.
3. Do you think Dustin Keller will be the player on the Jets offense that will give the Patriots the most trouble?
Keller can give any team trouble, but the problem is the Jets tend to forget about him. One half he’s all over the place; the next his face is on the back of a milk carton. If I’m the Patriots I worry most about Santonio Holmes. He’s killed them in the past, and, following this week’s outbursts where he criticized nearly everyone associated with the franchise, opinions many Jets fans agree with I might add, I suspect Schottenheimer and Sanchez will be doing everything in their power to get the ball in his hands. Holmes is this team’s most dynamic player, but in the last two weeks he had 4 catches for 52 yards and did not even get close to the end zone.
It’s of paramount importance the Jets get him the ball. But then again, if the offensive line fails yet again there will be no running game and, hence, Holmes may not see the light of day down field.
4. On the other side of the ball, has the defensive line become a weakness of the Jets?
Know this about the Jets: on defense they are totally scheme-based. When they aren’t finding the lanes on the blitz they are completely ineffective. They do not have a do-it-all pass rushing defensive lineman. The last one they did have was Shaun Ellis, who the Patriots are just starting to get to know. That said, the Jets have athletic and quick guys on the line but guys who haven’t yet developed into pass rushers. So what you get are guys like Mike DeVito, who’s hardly the sack master, but is a very good run-stopper and has quietly become among their best linemen.
The Jets beat the Patriots last season in the playoffs for many reasons, not least of which was a defensive line that beat up Brady. We’ve yet to see similar execution and production this season and we may not, but this unit is not old and has potential, but it’s more down the road. In the interim, Rex will look to keep blitzing to free up space for his tackles and ends.
5. What is your key match-up for this game?
Revis-Welker, when it happens, is the main event, but Mangold-Wilfork should be something else, provided Mangold is 90-100 percent recovered from the high-ankle sprain. I’m also eager to see how Rex handles the Patriots’ two-headed tight end monster because I don’t think they have a linebacker that can cover either Gronkowski or Hernandez, and defensive back Kyle Wilson, who could very well draw one of them, has yet to have that breakout game this season.
Finally, give me a prediction for this game.
If you believe Rex is a master motivator, which I do, then you should expect a better effort from the Jets in all facets compared to the stinker they produced in Baltimore last Sunday. Rex dropped F-bomb after F-bomb on the offense starters in meetings to begin the week. The Jets have traditionally responded when ripped a new one by Ryan.
However, it’s all contingent on the offensive line doing a better job and this somewhat inconsistent defense shutting down a New England offense that is arguably the best in the entire league. I think considering where both of these teams are right now it would take a complete 180 for the Jets to win. They just have too many questions that need to be answered and Tom Brady is just not the guy you want to “work out the kinks” against.
Jets’ offense will come out of it a little but and score some points, but Patriots are by far the better all-around team right now. So, take the Pats 27-20.
A special thanks to Jeff for taking his time to give his thoughts on this weekend’s match-up. You can also follow him on twitter at GreenLanternJet.