We’re two weeks into the NFL regular season and every team in the AFC East has one win, and one loss. The New York Jets have only scored three more points than they’ve given up this season, and the offense is still a question mark. With teams like San Francisco and Houston looming on the upcoming schedule, a win in Miami seems like a must for Gang Green.
Darrelle Revis being cleared for full-contact practice increases the team’s chances of a victory, but you can’t win if you can’t move the ball.
QBs: Though I’ve been critical of Mark Sánchez and his ability to put the football where receivers can catch and run, it hasn’t all been his fault. Drops from Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley stalled the last meaningful drive the Jets had against the Steelers. Having a player like Dustin Keller working the middle of the field should make it easier for Sánchez to convert third and short. Keller’s currently listed as questionable, but he should make the trip to Miami with the team. I’m still surprised we haven’t seen as much Tim Tebow as I would like. I envisioned a true blend of run and pass with Tebow being more than a decoy. I’m unimpressed with the imagination of the coaching staff, and Rex Ryan’s explanations as to why he hasn’t been used are falling on death ears when it comes to me. Three and out is three and out, but at least the ball moves forward with a QB that can run rather than three incompletions with a couple drops sprinkled in. Ryan Tannehill picked up his first NFL win on an incredible day by Reggie Bush. He’s the first QB picked in round one by the Dolphins since Dan Marino, so the fan base is expecting many, many more!
RBs: A QB’s best friend is his running game, and the New York Jets need to establish the run to have success with Sanchez’s play-action passing prowess. Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and the ‘ground and pound’ haven’t been tearing it up as I hoped they would. Greene and Powell are averaging under four yards a carry with fifty carries between them. I am a big believer in running the football to win, which is why I was in favor of bringing an athlete like Tebow onboard. I don’t know if I am as confident in Shonn Greene as a number one running back as the Jets are. Reggie Bush is playing like a bell-cow back and less like a skat back this year for the Dolphins, and he looks like the player everyone thought we’d see out of USC. Bush already has a 65 yarder and two touchdowns to his credit two games in. If the Jets are tackling sloppily, as they did against CJ Spiller in week one, Bush may break a few more long ones.
WRs/TEs: After two touchdowns in week one, Stephen Hill was shut out in his second professional game and needs to make a return in week three. Santonio Holmes scored the only touchdown for Gang Green in week two with a beautiful catch in the first quarter. Nice for him to get in the end zone at his old home field, but now he returns to the scene of his career lowlight. I’ve been hearing a lot about Holmes being a leader to the younger receivers on the team, which I admire if true. I want him to WANT to have a big game against the Dolphins. I want him to put last season in the rear view, and reinstill my confidence in him. Tannehill has made Brian Hartline his top target with a team-leading twelve catches. It won’t be hard to figure out who will have the honor of covering him on Sunday.
DEFENSE: Darrelle Revis. Darrelle Revis. Darrelle Revis. It’s good to hear he’s been cleared to play by the team’s medical staff. It’s apparent he passed all tests needed and will be in the lineup on Sunday. The team’s best player and quite leader will play opposite Antonio Cromartie, who held his own in Revis’s absence… one touchdown catch by Wallace aside. LaRon Landry will bring his hard-hitting style to the safety position, where all eyes will be focused on his every move. He should know by now he is being watched by the guys in stripes for any late hits or rough stuff, after picking up two personal foul penalties last week. I want him to continue to bring the pain with every vicious hit, but keeping them clean and within the white lines is a must as well. I’m not seeing as much upfront pressure as I would like. Let’s see if the Jets can rattle the rookie QB into a few mistakes. This will only be Tannehill’s third game, so he’s still adjusting to the speed of the game. Maybe a little more Aaron Maybin bringing pressure from the linebacker position on definite passing downs can assist the line in getting to the rookie QB. David Harris leads the team with 17 tackles, followed by Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry with 14. Bart Scott and Calvin Pace should be higher up on that list in my opinion. When your safeties are making all the tackles, it means plays are getting deep into the second level.
The Dolphins don’t have the most explosive pass rush, with only two sacks total after two games, both by DT Randy Starks. Rashed Jones has the only interception for the Dolphins defense, and he’s a safety. Everything I see says the Jets will have a strong showing against the Dolphins, but I can’t help but be skeptical of the Jets ability to score the ball. With an average effort by the offense, and the defense’s usual stinginess, a victory shouldn’t be that hard to come by. A loss in Miami, with that challenging upcoming schedule, will be more than disappointing… it will be a crushing blow to the team’s playoff chances.
Tune into the N.Y. Jets in 30, with your hosts the Amazing Jinx Grand (@JGSportsTalk) and myself every Saturday at 4pm for game analysis and a breakdown of the next week’s opponent. Join the huddle!
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